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Six Indian family members in Canada among 157 dead in Ethiopian tragedy

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Ottawa: The “trip of a lifetime” to a safari park in Kenya turned into a nightmare for six members of a family from India in Canada who perished when the Nairobi-bound Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed minutes after take-off from Addis Ababa.

The Boeing 737 took-off from Bole International Airport on Sunday and lost contact six minutes later before coming down near Tulu Fara village outside the Ethiopian town of Bishoftu, killing all 149 passengers and eight crew on board, including tourists and business travellers. The victims included Pannagesh Vaidya, 73; his wife Hansini Vaidya, 67; their daughter Kosha Vaidya, 37; her husband Prerit Dixit, 45; and their two children — Anushka and Ashka — Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown was quoted as saying by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

While the Surat-based Vaidya couple were Indian nationals, their daughter, husband and two children were Canadians of Indian-origin. The family who were living in Canada, heading for a safari vacation, were about to experience “the trip of a lifetime” in Kenya when the tragic loss happened. “This is an unbelievably tragic situation for this family,” Brown said in a statement.

 

“As more details become known, I will provide a further update on how Brampton residents can assist this family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this time of sorrow and reflection.”

The flags at city hall will remain at half-mast until further notice in honour of the family, Brown said in a message on Twitter.

“It’s a huge tragedy,” Manant Vaidya, son of Pannagesh, said. “I lost my parents, I lost my sister. I don’t have anyone else now.”

Manant said his sister, who became a Canadian permanent resident in 2003, wanted to take her children to Kenya to visit her birthplace. “They thought March break was the perfect time for them to go over there, have fun,” he said. “It was going to be a really great trip for everybody.”

“I asked my dad why he wanted to go and he told me that in his life he wants to go one more time.” The Peel District School Board said Monday that two of our students Ashka and Anushka Dixit along with their parents and grandparents were passengers on the Ethiopian Airlines plane that was involved in a fatal crash over the weekend.

This tragedy has brought great sadness to the students and staff at Centennial Sr. Public School and Chinguacousy Secondary School, the school board said.

“Tomorrow, the flags at @ChinguacousySS & @CentennialSrPS will be lowered to half-mast to remember and honour Anushka Dixit, Ashka Dixit, their parents and grandparents who lost their lives over the weekend,” the school board tweeted.


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National

Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs

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Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.

“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.

This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.

 

According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.

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Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara

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Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.

The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.

“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.

 
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Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha

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New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.

With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.

Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.

 

Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.

However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.

The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.

The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.

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