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DUBAI: An Iranian pilot was killed defending Shia holy sites in neighbouring Iraq, Iran's state news agency said, in the first official report of an Iranian death related to an upsurge in violence there since June.

Shoja'at Alamdari Mourjani, who was buried in the Iranian city of Shiraz on Friday, was killed while fighting "terrorists" in Samarra, north of Baghdad, the news agency said.

Iraq's Shia-led government is fighting an insurgency by Sunni rebels led by an al Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State, who consider Shias heretics.

There was no information in the IRNA report to indicate whether Mourjani was flying aircraft in Samarra, and whether he went there on his own initiative or on behalf of the Iranian state.

Iran has said it will not hesitate to defend Shia holy sites in Iraq if necessary, but it has also said Iraq itself is capable of putting down the rebellion.

The Islamic State group has seized territory across the north and west of Iraq, as well as border posts, oilfields, and the north's largest city, Mosul, since June 10. Shia militias have also joined the fray on the Baghdad government's side against the militants.

In recent days there has been fighting in Samarra near an important Shia site, the Imam al-Askari shrine.

A 2006 bombing at the same site exacerbated already severe sectarian tensions between Sunnis and Shia, fuelling a war that killed tens of thousands of people over the next two years.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in violence across Iraq this year, as its sectarian balance comes under acute strain from the civil war in neighbouring Syria.

KABUL: Taliban suicide bombers struck Nato fuel trucks at a key border crossing in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday, setting off explosions that destroyed dozens of trucks and triggering a gunbattle with police guards that left all the attackers dead.

The attack in eastern Nangarhar province, on the border with Pakistan, began early in the morning, according to a spokesman for the border police in Nangarhar, Idris Momand.

Three Taliban bombers targeted a parking lot of the Nato outpost near the Torkham border crossing, a key supply route for the alliance.

Momand said 37 Nato trucks were destroyed in explosions set off by the gunbattle with the guards.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, the spokesman for the provincial governor, said two of the attackers were killed by police while one blew himself up.

Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said his group was behind the attack.

Moreover, Nato helicopters also arrived and were targeting the attackers in the surrounding hills.

Most Nato cargo shipments go through the Torkham crossing, toward Pakistan's port city of Karachi.

The Taliban have intensified their spring offensive in Afghanistan in a bid to undermine the Western-backed government as foreign combat troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of the year.

Pak-Afghan border closed

The Pak-Afghan Torkham border was closed after Afghan Taliban attacked a Nato terminal on Afghan side near Torkham.

The official sources say that scores of containers and oil tankers were burning after the attack but the casualties could not be confirmed right now.

The Afghan authorities have completely sealed the border and the clash is continuing

NEW DELHI: Unknown assailants have kidnapped 40 Indian construction workers from Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul, which fell to Sunni insurgents last week, India’s foreign ministry said yesterday. The identity of the kidnappers and the whereabouts of the workers is unknown, foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin told a news briefing. No ransom demand has been received. “The Red Crescent confirmed to us that as per their information, 40 Indian construction workers have been kidnapped,” Akbaruddin said. Islamist militants have long considered India a target. An al Qaeda video released last week called on Indian Muslims to follow the example of Syria and Iraq and launch a jihad, or holy war, against the government. Most of the hostages are from the north Indian state of Punjab and were working for a Baghdad-based company called Tariq Noor Al Huda, Akbaruddin said.

The sister of one of the men abducted said he had been out of contact since last Sunday. “His phone has been switched off. We are tense and are wondering what happened to him,” Gurpender Kaur told TV news channel CNN-IBN. “Until then, at least we were able to speak for a second or two, but now even that is not possible.” About 10,000 Indian nationals are working in Iraq, mostly in areas unaffected by the fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the national army. About 100 Indian workers are trapped in areas overrun by ISIL, Akbaruddin said.

The Indian government has contact with many of them, including 46 nurses. It has sent a senior envoy to Baghdad to support repatriation efforts. The nurses are stranded in Tikrit, which is under militant control, with many of them holed up in the hospital where they work. Nurses who spoke to the Indian media said they had been treating people wounded in fierce street fighting. The Red Crescent, a humanitarian group, has contacted the nurses and is providing assistance, Akbaruddin said. ISIL fighters, who aim to establish a Muslim caliphate across the Iraqi-Syrian frontier, launched their revolt by seizing Mosul, and have swept through the Tigris valley towards Baghdad. Scores were killed on Tuesday in a battle for a provincial capital close to Baghdad, and fighting shut Iraq’s biggest refinery at Baiji, hitting fuel and power supplies.—Reuters

PARIS: Kuwait ranked fourth most obese country on the planet according to a report published yesterday. More than 50 percent of women in Kuwait – along with Libya, Qatar and Samoa – are considered obese according to the Global Burden of Disease Study published in The Lancet medical journal. Globally, nearly a third of adults and a quarter of children today are overweight, according to the report that said no country has turned the tide of obesity since 1980.

Traditionally associated with an affluent lifestyle, the problem is expanding worldwide, with more than 62 percent of overweight people now in developing nations, said the report. There are some 2.1 billion overweight or obese people in the world today-up from 857 million 33 years earlier.

Among the most striking statistics: more than half the population of Tonga is now classified as obese-a dangerous level of overweight. “Obesity is an issue affecting people of all ages and incomes, everywhere,” said Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, who helped collate the data for the period 1980 to 2013. “In the last three decades, not one country has achieved success in reducing obesity rates, and we expect obesity to rise steadily as incomes rise in low- and middle-income countries in particular, unless urgent steps are taken to address this public health crisis.” One is considered overweight with a weight-to-height (BMI) ratio of 25 or over, and obese from 30 upward. Overweight people are more prone to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoarthritis and kidney disease, and the soaring numbers are placing a heavy burden on health care systems, said the study.

Excess body weight is estimated to have caused 3.4 million deaths in 2010, and previous research has warned that an unabated rise in obesity could start eating away at life expectancy. The study, based on data from 188 countries, said the prevalence of obese and overweight adults grew by 28 percent worldwide, and by nearly 50 percent for children. For men, the increase was from 29 to 37 percent, and for women from 30 to 38 percent of the population.

Fat child, fat adult?
The study authors expressed concern that nearly a quarter of kids in developed countries and 13 percent in developing ones were overweight or obese up from 16 percent and eight percent in 1980. “Particularly high rates of child and adolescent obesity were seen in Middle Eastern and North African countries, notably among girls,” the study authors noted. Other regional differences included a slower rate of increase in developed countries, but fast expanding waistlines in the Middle East, North Africa, Central America and Pacific and Caribbean Islands-regions where many countries’ overweight rates exceed 44 percent. Women are heavier in developing countries and men in developed ones, said the study.

The World Health Organization aims to halt the rise in obesity by 2025, a target the study authors said appeared “very ambitious and unlikely to be attained without concerted action and further research”. One solution, said Klim McPherson from Oxford University, was to return to the BMI levels of 1980 — which would mean an eight percent drop in consumption across the UK alone, at a cost to the food industry of some 8.7 billion pounds (11 billion euros) per year. “The solution has to be mainly political,” he wrote in a comment on the study. “Where is the international will to act decisively in a way that might restrict economic growth in a competitive world, for the public’s health? Nowhere yet.” — Agencies

List of unhealthy countries

LONDON: Tonga is the fattest country in the world, according to new global obesity survey published yesterday by the journal Lancet. Below are the top 10 countries with the highest rates of obesity and overweight in adults older than age 20. Scientists typically measure obesity based on body mass index, or BMI, a measure of body fat based on height and weight. A BMI from 19 to 25 is considered healthy, 25 to 30 is overweight, and over 30 is obese.

Countries with the highest rates of obesity and overweight in adults:






Marshall Islands





Indian police are interrogating students and security personnel in relation to a violent attack on Ali Hasan Raza — a Pakistani student at Pondicherry University, according to Indian media.

Cases have also been registered under various Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections including 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) and 448 (punishment for house trespass), according to police.

According to some reports, police believe the attack may have been the result of mistaken identity.

"We suspect that the attackers might have mistaken him for someone," investigating officer and sub-inspector V Sivakumar said.

The police said most students had vacated the hostel as their exams were over. They however added that the attack was likely carried out by those who stayed on in the hostel.

The attack

On Tuesday, Raza was assaulted by three unidentified men in his room at the Sir CV Raman Hostel.

The group of men reportedly crept up on him while he was sleeping and then beat him with iron rods and liquor bottles. Raza sustained injuries on his head, neck and back.

The 24-year-old was severely wounded and is being treated at the Puducherry Institute of Medical Science (PIMS) and Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer). During treatment, Raza said the attackers were his age and may be students of the university.

Raza was doing a post-graduate course in South Asian studies. He is the first and only Pakistani student in Pondicherry University.

In response to the attack, the Student Federation of India (SFI) secretary voiced concern over the incident and said the university must take all measures to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. The university also issued new restrictions on entries to the boys hostel.

ترکی کے مغربی علاقے سوما میں واقع کوئلے کی کان میں دھماکے اور آتشزدگی کے حادثے کے بعد مختلف شہروں میں حکومت مخالف مظاہرے شروع ہو گئے ہیں، جبکہ ملک کی مزدور یونینوں نے بھی ایک دن کی ہڑتال کا اعلان کر دیا ہے۔

منگل کو کان میں دھماکے کے نتیجے میں حکام کے مطابق 282 افراد ہلاک ہو گئے ہیں جب کہ تقریباً 100 افراد ابھی تک کان میں پھنسے ہوئے ہیں۔

امدادی کارکنوں نے 450 کے قریب کان کنوں کو باہر نکال لیا ہے جبکہ کان میں پھنسے درجنوں کان کنوں کی تلاشی کی کارروائیاں جاری ہیں۔

مزدور یونینوں کا کہنا ہے کہ حال ہی میں کان کنی کے شعبے کی نجکاری کی وجہ سے کانوں میں کام کرنا مزید مشکل ہو گیا ہے۔

ترکی کے وزیراعظم رجب طیب اردگان نے علاقے کا دورہ کیا اور لوگوں کے ساتھ اظہارِ تعزیت کیا۔ اس موقعے پر مشتعل افراد نے وزیراعظم کی گاڑی کو گھیر لیا اور ان کے خلاف نعرے لگائے۔

ترکی کے دارالحکومت انقرہ اور استنبول میں احتجاجی مظاہرین کی پولیس کے ساتھ جھڑپیں ہوئی ہیں۔

پولیس نے مظاہرین کو منتشر کرنے کے لیے اشک بار گولوں اور پانی کی توپوں یا پانی کی تیز بوچھاڑ کا استعمال کیا ہے۔

مظاہرین ملک میں کان کنی کے بدترین حادثے پر حکومت سے مستعفیٰ ہونے کا مطالبہ کر رہے ہیں۔

مقامی میڈیا کے مطابق سوما میں بھی مظاہرین کی پولیس کے ساتھ جھڑپ ہوئی ہے اور چند مظاہرین کو گرفتار بھی کیا گیا ہے۔

سماجی رابطوں کی ویب سائٹس پر بھی وزیراعظم کے اس بیان پر غم و غصے کا اظہار کیا جا رہا ہے جس میں انھوں نے سوما کے دورے کے موقعے پر ملک میں کان کنی کے حادثات کا دفاع کرتے ہوئے برطانیہ میں 19ویں صدی میں کان کے حادثے سمیت متعدد حادثات کا ذکر کیا۔

اس سے پہلے ترکی کے وزیراعظم رجب طیب اردگان نے سوما کے دورے کے موقعے پر لوگوں کے ساتھ اظہارِ تعزیت کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ امدادی کاموں کے لیے تمام دستیاب وسائل کا استعمال کیا جا رہا ہے۔ انھوں نے ملک میں تین روزہ سوگ کا اعلان کیا ہے۔

پاکستانی وزیر اعظم میاں محمد نواز شریف نے بھی اس حادثے پر شدید رنج و غم کا اظہار کیا ہے اور ترک عوام کے ساتھ اظہارِ یکجہتی کے لیے 15 مئی کو پاکستان میں یومِ سوگ کا اعلان کیا ہے۔

حادثے سے متاثرہ کان میں امدادی کارروائیاں جاری ہیں اور جس وقت ایمبیولینس ہلاک شدگان کی لاشیں لے جا رہی تھی تو ان کے رشتے دار آہ و زاری اور غم سے نڈھال نظر آئے۔

کان میں پھنسے لوگوں کے اہلِ خانہ موقعے پر جمع ہو گئے ہیں اور اس وقت کان اور مقامی ہسپتال کے باہر لوگوں کی ایک بڑی تعداد جمع ہے۔

ہسپتال کے باہر لوگوں کا کہنا ہے کہ جب تک وہ اپنے عزیزوں کے بارے میں کوئی خبر نہیں سن لیتے وہ وہاں سے نہیں جائیں گے۔

ترکی کے وزیرِ توانائی تانر یلدیز نے ٹیلی ویژن پر ہلاکتوں کی تصدیق کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ حادثے کے وقت کان میں 780 سے زیادہ کان کن موجود تھے۔

انھوں نے کہا کہ کان میں بجلی کی ترسیل کے نظام میں خرابی کی وجہ سے دھماکہ ہوا اور اس کے نتیجے میں کان میں نصب لفٹیں اور تازہ ہوا پہنچانے کا نظام بند ہو گیا۔

دھماکے کے بعد امدادی کارروائیاں شروع کر دی گئی تھیں تاہم جس جگہ یہ کان کن پھنسے ہوئے ہیں وہ زمین سے دو کلومیٹر نیچے اور کان کے منہ سے چار کلومیٹر دور ہے۔

مقامی اہلکار محمد بہتن آتچی نے بتایا کہ اس نجی ملکیتی کان میں دھواں بھر گیا ہے جس کی وجہ سے امدادی سرگرمیوں میں مشکلات پیش آ رہی ہیں۔

تجزیہ کاروں کا کہنا ہے کہ بیشتر صنعتی ممالک کے مقابلے میں ترکی میں کوئلے کی کانوں کا حفاظتی ریکارڈ زیادہ اچھا نہیں۔

ترکی میں کان کنی کا بدترین حادثہ 1992 میں پیش آیا تھا جب بحیرۂ اسود کے قریب واقع ایک کان میں حادثے سے 270 کان کن ہلاک ہوگئے تھے۔

DHAKA: A severe storm has killed 16 people and destroyed 1,000 homes in northern Bangladesh, police and government officials said Monday.

The storm tore through scores of villages overnight on Sunday, uprooting trees and electricity poles and derailing a train in an incident that injured dozens of passengers, they said.

Nine people were killed in the worst-hit district of Netrokona, six died in neighbouring Sunamganj, and one person died after being struck by lightning in nearby Naogaon, police in all three districts said.

Among the nine killed in Netrokona was a pregnant woman and her three children, district police official Rashel Miah said.

“They died after a side wall fell on them,” Miah told AFP, adding that up to 20 people were injured in the district.

About 1,000 homes mostly made of mud and tin were flattened, said government administrator Abul Kalam Azad.

The storm also derailed a train at Tangail district while it was travelling across a bridge over a river.

“The storm was so severe that it threw the train, carrying up to 500 passengers, off its tracks and against a wall,” said railway official Pankaj Kumar Shaha.

Storms known locally as Kalboishakhi often hit Bangladesh during the early summer months in the lead-up to the monsoon that generally begins in the first week of June.


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