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‘Devil’s Curve’ accident: 48 dead in Peru as bus tumbles down cliff

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Lima: At least 48 people died when a bus tumbled down a cliff onto a rocky beach along a narrow stretch of highway known as the “Devil’s Curve,” Peruvian police and fire officials said.

The bus carrying 57 people was headed to Peru’s capital when it was struck by a tractor trailer shortly before noon and plunged down the slope, said Claudia Espinoza with Peru’s voluntary firefighter brigade.

The blue bus came to rest upside down on a strip of shore next to the Pacific, the lifeless bodies of passengers strewn among the rocks.

 

“It’s very sad for us as a country to suffer an accident of this magnitude,” Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said in a statement.

Rescuers had to struggle to rescue survivors and recover the dead from the hard-to-reach area in Pasamayo, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Lima.

No road leads directly to the beach, complicating rescue efforts, Espinoza said. Police and firefighters used helicopters to transport six survivors with serious injuries to nearby hospitals. Col. Dino Escudero said 48 people were confirmed dead and at least three were missing.

Transportation Minister Bruno Giuffra said initial reports indicated both vehicles involved were traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the crash. Calls by the press to the company that owns the bus were not immediately returned.

As rescue operations continued late into the night, authorities announced a suspect had been detained for allegedly robbing belongings of victims.

Traffic accidents are common along Peru’s roadways, with more than 2,600 people killed in 2016.

More than three dozen died when three buses and a truck collided in 2015 on the main costal highway. Twenty people were killed in November when a bus plunged off a bridge into a river in the southern Andes.

The nation’s deadliest traffic crash on record happened in 2013 when a makeshift bus carrying 51 Quechua Indians back from a party in southeastern Peru fell off a cliff into a river, killing everyone on board.

Espinoza said the passengers in Tuesday’s crash included many returning to Lima after celebrating the New Year’s holiday with family outside the city.

The highway is known as the “Devil’s Curve” because it is narrow, frequently shrouded in mist and curves along a cliff that has seen numerous accidents. Police said the bus fell an estimated 80 meters (262 feet).

Miguel Sidia, a transportation expert in Peru, said that while road conditions in the Andean nation have improved in recent years, lack of driver education and little enforcement of road rules still lead to many fatalities each year.

He called on authorities to immediately conduct studies into building a new highway farther from the cliff where the accident occurred. “As a Peruvian, it’s shameful,” he said.


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CJI recuses from hearing petition challenging interim CBI chief appointment

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New Delhi: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recused himself from hearing a plea challenging M Nageswara Rao’s appointment as interim Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Gogoi has sought transparency in the process of short-listing, selection and appointment of the CBI Director.

CJI Gogoi said he cannot hear plea as he would be part of the committee meeting to select the next CBI director.

 

.The plea will now be heard on January 24 by another bench.

The high-powered selection committee comprises the prime minister, the leader of the largest opposition party and the CJI or his nominee judge of the apex court.

A bench comprising CJI and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause challenging the appointment of Rao as interim CBI director.

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‘Not safe’: Mamata refuses to allow Amit Shah’s chopper to land in Malda, BJP cries foul

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KOLKATA: In yet another attempt by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal to stop Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) President Amit Shah from addressing rally in the state, the state government has denied permission for landing of Shah’s helicopter in Malda district.

The BJP president, who was recently treated for swine flu at AIIMS in New Delhi, is scheduled to address a rally in Malda on January 22. As per BJP’s plan, Shah will reach Kolkata and then take a helicopter from there to reach Malda where he will participate in a public rally with BJP workers from North Bengal.

The Malda district administration has informed the BJP that it is not possible to grant permission to land helicopters at Malda airport this week.

 

“As per report of the executive engineer, PWD (civil), Malda Division, up-gradation of work at Malda Airport is going on in full swing. A large quantity of fine sand, dust and GSB materials is lying all along the runway and also stacked all around the site,” Additional District Magistrate of Malda said in a letter to BJP.

The letter added that the ongoing construction work has also affected the maintenance of temporary helipad at the airport and it is not possible to grant permission to Shah’s chopper to land at Malda Airport.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of BJP Malda unit had written to Malda DM saying that West Bengal government is using Malda Airport for landing their helicopter every Wednesday and they are refusing permission to Shah’s helicopter.

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Centre threatening to impose Prez’s rule in Andhra: Chandrababu

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Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday alleged that the Centre was threatening to impose President’s Rule in the state but, he said, nobody would be cowed down by such threats.

He claimed Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “negative leader” under whose leadership the country was regressing. Addressing a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders, he attacked the prime minister and the BJP, saying they did nothing special for Andhra.

“They say one Union minister will come to the state every week. What good have they done for the state? On top of it, they are issuing threats that President’s Rule will be imposed in Andhra Pradesh. There is nobody here to be cowed down by their threats,” Naidu said.

 

Referring to the opposition parties’ rally in Kolkata two days ago, the TDP chief said it marked the beginning of the end of dictatorial rule and gave confidence to the people of the country. “We will hold a similar rally in Amaravati in which leaders of 22 parties will take part,” Naidu added.

The TDP chief lashed out at his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, saying they were working under Modi’s direction.

The TRS and the YSRC were conspiring to create misgivings among the backward classes so that they are distanced from the TDP, he alleged. He said the backward communities should unitedly thwart such attempts.

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