Dhaka, Nov 18 (UNB) – At least three people were killed and many injured in a blast at a religious gathering in Rajasansi village near India’s Amritsar on Sunday.
According to reports, the incident happened during a religious ceremony of Nirankari sect that was being held in Nirankari Bhavan.
Initial reports indicated that two motorcycle-borne men, who had their faces covered, threw something in the crowd that caused the blasted.
Police are suspecting it to be a grenade. Identities of the deceased are yet being ascertained. The injured were rushed to a nearby hospital.
Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha has confirmed the death of three people and said the condition of one of the injured victims is critical.
New Delhi, Nov 18 (AP/UNB) — A powerful cyclone in southern India has killed at least 33 people, caused massive damage to homes and roads and drove tens of thousands of people into relief camps, officials said.
India's navy assigned two ships and a helicopter for relief work as state authorities rushed drinking water, food and paramedics to nearly 82,000 people who took shelter in more than 400 state-run camps.
They were evacuated from areas in the path of Cyclone Gaja, which struck six districts of Tamil Nadu state on Friday with heavy rains and winds that reached 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour.
Rescuers found 13 bodies Friday and an additional 20 on Saturday, said Edappadi Palaniswami, the state's top elected official. Most deaths were caused by flooding, house collapses and electrocution.
The cyclone uprooted 30,000 electricity poles and more than 100,000 trees, he said. Nearly 10,000 workers were trying to restore electricity supply to the worst-hit areas, he said.
Palaniswami said a large number of goats, deer and wild animals had also perished in the flooding over the past two days.
Coconut trees over thousands of acres (hectares) of farmland have been uprooted, according to Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, a farmers' organization.
Tamil Nadu state is prone to cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal.
Male, Nov 17 (AP/UNB) — Ibrahim Mohamed Solih took over as president of the Maldives on Saturday following a fierce political discord caused by the autocratic rule of outgoing leader Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
Thousands of people cheered Solih, from the Maldivian Democratic Party, at a swearing-in ceremony in a soccer stadium chosen to accommodate a large number of his supporters. Chief Justice Abdulla Didi administered the oath of office to the 54-year-old Solih.
The Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago known for its luxury resorts, became a multiparty democracy in 2008.
Since getting elected in 2013, Yameen had cracked down on political dissent, jailing rivals and Supreme Court justices. But he suffered an unexpected defeat at the hands of Solih in September's presidential election.
Neighboring India has been concerned by a growing Chinese influence under Yameen, who signed a series of infrastructure projects with Beijing.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the top foreign dignitary to attend Saturday's ceremony. Modi is trying to reset bilateral ties that suffered during Yameen's rule.
Solih faces a challenging task of balancing ties with powerful India and China. He will also have to battle widespread corruption and rising Islamist extremism.
Yameen's attempt to cling to power was dashed by the Supreme Court, which dismissed his petition seeking an annulment of the election result. His party challenged the result, alleging vote rigging, fraud and corruption in the election process.
Solih was chosen as the opposition candidate in July after exiled former President Mohamed Nasheed abandoned plans to run because of a past criminal conviction that made him ineligible. On Saturday, he attended Solih's swearing-in ceremony after his return from exile in London and Colombo, the capital of neighboring Sri Lanka.
Sydney, Nov 17 (AP/UNB) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has visited a shrine in Darwin, Australia, commemorating the deaths of 80 Japanese submariners in waters near the city in World War II.
Abe arrived in Darwin on Friday for meetings with Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, becoming the first leader of Japan to visit the northern port city since it was bombed by Japanese forces in 1942.
After laying a wreath with Morrison to remember the 240 people estimated to have died in the Darwin bombings, Abe on Saturday honored servicemen from his own country killed in a lesser-known incident, at a memorial for the Japanese submarine I-124.
The sub was sunk in January 1942, during an attempted attack and remains on the seabed. Darwin was bombed a month later.
New Delhi, Nov 17 (AP/UNB) — A cyclone hit the coast of southern India on Friday, killing at least 13 people, damaging homes and forcing the evacuation of more than 80,000 residents.
Cyclone Gaja blew ashore in Tamil Nadu state with heavy rains and winds of 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour, said Narendra Kumar, a National Disaster Response Force official. The storm weakened after coming onshore.
People living in low-lying areas had been taken to more than 470 relief centers in six districts, and fishermen were warned to stay away from the sea.
The state's top elected official, K. Palaniswami, told reporters the storm had killed 13 people in the state.
Initial reports indicate the deaths were caused by wall collapses and electrocution, said National Disaster Response Force official Umesh, who uses one name.
The storm felled trees and power lines, and authorities preventively disconnected the electricity supply to the worst-hit areas to prevent electrocutions. Schools were closed in places, and vehicles remained off the roads in most parts of Nagapattinam and Karaikal districts, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
Heavy rains damaged rice fields and roads, and strong winds uprooted banana and papaya trees along the coastline.
Nagapattinam district bore the brunt of the cyclone with a rainfall of 15 centimetres (6 inches), the local weather office said.
The storm heavily damaged a 16th century Roman Catholic Shrine Basilica at Velankanni, a small town in Nagapattinam district, Press Trust of India said.
The cyclone destroyed or partially damaged nearly 1,600 mud huts and uprooted more than 5,000 trees in the area, state authorities said.
State-owned Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation said more than 13,000 electricity poles, 13 distribution transformers and 1,000 cables were damaged by strong winds and rains.
Tamil Nadu state is prone to cyclones that develop in the Bay of Bengal. In 1999, a cyclone killed more than 15,000 people in eastern Orissa.