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Many killed as plane with 72 passengers on board crashes in Nepal

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At least 40 people have been declared dead after a domestic flight crashed in Pokhara in Nepal on Sunday, January 15, 2023, an aviation authority official said.

Hundreds of rescue workers were scouring the hillside where the plane carrying 72 people from the capital Kathmandu, went down.

Yeti Airlines, which operated the flight, said there were 72 people onboard – 68 passengers and four crew.

According to an airport official, the foreign nationals on board included: one Australian, one French, one Argentinian, four Russians, five Indians, two South Koreans and one person from Ireland.

“We expect to recover more bodies,” said an army spokesperson, Krishna Bhandari, said. “The plane has broken into pieces.”

The plane crashed between the old and new Pokhara airports in central Nepal.

Footage shared on social media, which appeared to be shot just after the crash, showed raging flames on the ground and black smoke billowing into the sky from debris strewn across the crash site.

Another unverified clip shared online showed a plane flying at a low altitude over a residential area banking sharply to the left, followed by a loud explosion.

The wreckage was on fire and rescue workers were trying to put out the blaze, local official Gurudutta Dhakal said.

Responders have already reached there and trying to douse the fire,” Dhakal said. “All agencies are now focused on first dousing the fire and rescuing the passengers.”

The twin-engine ATR 72 aircraft was flying from Kathmandu, the Himalayan country’s capital, an airport official said. After news of the crash broke the country’s prime minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, called an emergency cabinet meeting.

The weather was clear, said Jagannath Niroula, spokesman for Nepal’s Civil Aviation Authority.

Local TV showed rescue workers scrambling around broken sections of the aircraft. Some of the ground near the crash site was scorched, with licks of flames visible.

“The plane is burning,” said police official Ajay K.C., adding that rescue workers were having difficulty reaching the site in a gorge between two hills near the tourist town’s airport.

The craft made contact with the airport from Seti Gorge at 10:50 a.m. (0505 GMT), the aviation authority said in a statement. “Then it crashed.”

“Half of the plane is on the hillside,” said Arun Tamu, a local resident, who told Reuters he reached the site minutes after the plane went down. “The other half has fallen into the gorge of the Seti river.”

Khum Bahadur Chhetri said he watched from the roof of his house as the flight approached.

“I saw the plane trembling, moving left and right, and then suddenly its nose dived and it went into the gorge,” Chhetri told Reuters, adding that local residents took two passengers to a hospital.

The crash is Nepal’s deadliest since March 2018, when a US-Bangla Dash 8 turboprop flight from Dhaka crashed on landing in Kathmandu, killing 51 of the 71 people on board, according to Aviation Safety Network.

At least 309 people have died since 2000 in plane or helicopter crashes in Nepal, – home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Everest – where the weather can change suddenly and make for hazardous conditions. The European Union has banned Nepali airlines from its airspace since 2013, citing safety concerns.

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State police non-negotiable — Jonathan

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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has described state police as a non-negotiable entity that Nigeria must establish.

Mr Jonathan, who was president from 2010-2015, said the conversation must shift to the prevention of abuse by governors.

He stated this on Monday at the ongoing dialogue on state police organized by the House of Representatives.

He said most times governors abuse institutions, however, the challenges are not sufficient to stop the creation of state police.

The former president said state police was wildly accepted by the delegates at the 2014 Confab.

“We can only end kidnapping and other forms of insecurity through the creation of state police,” Mr Jonathan said.

Mr Jonathan’s stance contradicts the position of the inspector general of police, Kayode Egbetokun, who opposed the establishment of state police.

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Deputy Speaker of the House, Ben Kalu argued that the current security situation in Nigeria requires a multilayer approach to insecurity.

He stated that over N5 billion has been paid in ransoms to kidnappers, a figure that starkly exposes the alarming growth of this criminal enterprise in the country.

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Edo Guber: INEC releases final list of candidates

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The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has announced the final list of candidates for the forthcoming Edo State Governorship Election.

This is even as the Commission said that the political parties are permitted to start campaign in public from Wednesday 24th April 2024.

The campaigns will end at midnight on Thursday 19th September 2024.

In a statement by Sam Olumekun,
National Commissioner & Chairman,
Information and Voter Education Committee, INEC disclosed that 17 political parties have fielded candidates for the election out of which 16 are male while one is female.

Olumekun said the final list has been published at INEC’s office in Edo State and also uploaded to the Commission’s website and social media platforms for public information.

“The Commission is pleased to announce the publication of the final list of candidates for the Edo State Governorship Election. Following the initial primaries, the Commission published the personal particulars of the Governorship candidates and their running mates in our State and Local Government offices in Edo State.

“Overall, seventeen (17) political parties are fielding candidates in the election. Sixteen (16) are male while one (1) is female. The final list, which also gives the breakdown of the candidates by age, academic qualifications and disability, has been published at our office in Edo State and also uploaded to our website and social media platforms for public information.

“With the publication of the final list of candidates for the Edo State Governorship Election, the next activity is electioneering campaign.

“Therefore, Political Parties are now permitted to start campaign in public from Wednesday 24th April 2024 and end at midnight on Thursday 19th September 2024 as indicated in items 8 and 12 of the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the election,” parts of the statement read.

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Tinubu unveils African Counter-Terrorism summit

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President Bola Tinubu unveiled the African Counter-Terrorism Summit at the Office of the National Security Adviser in Abuja on Monday.

The event which is currently ongoing and organised by Nigeria, with support from the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, will be held from Monday to Tuesday, April 23, 2024, with the theme: ‘Strengthening Regional Cooperation and Institution Building to Address the Evolving Threat of Terrorism’.

The Presidency announced on Sunday that the summit aims to enhance multilateral counter-terrorism cooperation.

Details later…

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