Friday, 6 February 2015

61 Bodies Found in a Crematorium in Guerrero, Near Ayotzinapa

A total of 61 bodies were discovered in an abandoned crematorium early Friday near the Mexican port of Acapulco, located in the violent state of Guerrero, about 180 miles east of Ayotzinapa.

Residents of the area alerted authorities when the bodies gave off a terrible smell around 9:30 Thursday evening. The army, national police and officials from the state’s Attorney General’s office arrived at the scene in Costa Chica, around 10 miles from the touristic hub of Acapulco, local journalist Darwin Garcia told teleSUR.

The human remains were taken in forensic service vehicles for DNA testing at around 1:30 a.m. Friday, he added.

Garcia, from local newspaper Novedades, said that the crematorium, abandoned for over a year, was suspected to have been used by an organized criminal group to destroy evidence of murdering its enemies. The owner is still unknown.

The remains were covered in chalk to prevent the stench and none of the bodies had been burned, Uriel Sanchez from Mexican national news media Quadratin, reported.

DNA testing will begin later today, although due to the state of putrefaction, authorities do not suspect a link with the 43 disappeared students from the nearby Ayotzinapa teachers training college, who were kidnapped by police in September.

According to EFE, work has already begun to identify how many men, women and children are among the bodies.

An official press conference will take place later today.

Friday 6 February 2015

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Blaze in Chinese market kills 17

A fire at a Chinese wholesale market has killed at least 17 people and injured nine others, including one firefighter who was seriously hurt.

The fire broke out Thursday afternoon on the fourth floor of the market in southern Guangdong province and was controlled that night, said the Communist Party's propaganda department in Huidong County.

It said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but state broadcaster CCTV said it started in a cinema on the fourth floor where decorative materials were flammable and toxic.

Chinese police said in a statement that the fire was started by a nine-year-old boy "playing with a lighter"

The young suspect has been detained for questioning.

Rescue efforts took a number of hours, with four firefighters injured, one of them seriously.

Some 270 firefighters and 45 fire engines were needed to extinguish the flames, police said.

Footage from the scene showed an excavator dismantling one wall of the building to allow trapped people to escape.

Four firefighters were injured during the rescue mission, one seriously.

Police said the flames quickly spread to the whole floor.

Nine managers at the mall were also detained by the authorities.

China has a dismal industrial safety record as some property and business owners evade regulations to save money and pay off corrupt officials to look the other way.

A fire at a poultry plant in the north-east of the country killed 119 people in 2013.

Reports at the time said that managers had locked doors inside the factory to prevent workers from going to the toilet, leading to the high death toll.

Friday 6 February 2015

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Two more Banjarnegara landslide victims found

Two victims of a major Central Java landslide identified as Latif, 30, and Karsiah, 41, have been found in recent days in Jemblung hamlet, Sampang village, Karangkobar district, Banjarnegara regency, Central Java.

Both of the victims, who lived in Jemblung, were found by local residents who have been searching for landslide victims for the past two months. Latif’s body was found on Saturday and Karsiah’s on Wednesday.

The search and rescue team and volunteers have so far found 101 victims. Seven victims remain missing.

“Both bodies were found in poor condition and were identified by the clothes they were wearing,” Banjarnegara Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) member Andri Sulistyo said on Thursday.

The massive landslide hit Jemblung hamlet on Dec. 12 last year. As many as 108 residents were buried alive and 35 homes were destroyed. Around 250 survivors from Jemblung are still living in shelters and waiting to be relocated, as promised by the regency administration

Friday 6 February 2015

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Munich air disaster anniversary

Fifty-seven years ago today, on Feb 6 1958, the second and greatest of three Manchester United teams built by Matt Busby were flying home from their 3-3 draw with Red Star Belgrade in the European Cup quarter-final second leg, a result that out them through to the semi-final with a 5-4 aggregate victory.

They had stopped over to refuel in Munich and made two attempts to take off that were abandoned due to problems with the left engine. Despite snowfall, the captain decided to make a third attempt, hit slush on the runway and the plane crashed through a fence and hit a house.

It was the darkest day in the club’s history and in the 73 years of the English professional game. Seven Manchester United players were killed at the scene – Roger Byrne, Eddie Colman, Mark Jones, Billy Whelan, David Pegg, Geoff Bent and Tommy Taylor while the magnificent Duncan Edwards died of his injuries 15 days later.

Three members of the United staff – Walter Crickmer, Tom Curry and Bert Whalley were mortally wounded and eight journalists travelling with the team – Henry Rose, Donny Davies, Tom Jackson, Archie Ledbrooke, Eric Thompson, George Follows, Alf Clarke and the former England and Manchester City goalkeeper turned News of the World correspondent Frank Swift – lost their lives along with the Manchester United fan Willie Satinoff, travel agent Bela Miklos and two members of the aircraft’s crew, Ken Rayment and Tom Cable. In addition two players, Jackie Blanchflower and Johnny Berry, were so badly injured they never played again.

The outpouring of grief in a far less tribal age was universal. Thousands of people attended memorials to the Busby Babes, youthful, vibrant, fearless players who appeared both to have the world at their feet and their feet on the ground.

They had won the league in 1956 and 1957 by 11 and eight points respectively in the era of two points for a win, playing a brand of athletic, attacking football that remains an imperishable memory for all who were fortunate enough to see a team bristling with vitality and potential.

Footage of the incomparably powerful Edwards, the swerving and swivelling runs of Eddie ‘Snakehips’ Colman, the lethal finishing of Tommy Taylor and the quick, graceful captain Roger Byrne still emphasises the magnitude of the loss.

Jimmy Murphy, the man who nurtured them for Busby, summed up the duty of the survivors best: "I know those lads better than anyone. I found them. I nurtured them. I was there with them every morning, noon and night, piss and rain and gales and snow. They let me mould their lives from the ground up. They repaid me, they repaid this club with their skill, their passion and now their lives.

It's not about honouring their memory. It's about showing who we are to the world. Showing we'll not be bowed by tragedy. Because how we are in the future will be founded on how we behave today."

Manchester United survived, eventually recovered and prospered but there remains a sorrow at the heart of the club that drives those who respect it and the game to pay tribute to the eternally poignant memory of those beloved lost lads.

Louis van Gaal has paid a poignant tribute to those lost in the Munich air crash, on the 57th anniversary of that fateful day in 1958.

He laid a wreath at the Munich air disaster memorial to remember the 23 people killed in the tragic crash.

The Manchester United manager joined hundreds of fans who attended an annual memorial service at Old Trafford on Friday and laid a wreath beneath the commemorative plaque. During his weekly press conference, van Gaal then quoted lyrics from The Pride of Football, one of two songs that were sung at the emotional gathering.

"I represent the club nowadays as a manager and I represent my group of players," the boss explained to reporters. "There were a lot of players who had given a lot of joy to the people at that time [in 1958]. They have played a big part in the history of this club and I think we have to remember that always.

Friday 6 February 2015

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More MH17 remains and wreckage to return to Netherlands on Saturday

A Dutch military transport aircraft will arrive on Saturday at the Eindhoven Airbase with the victim remains and wreckage from the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 disaster. The plane is scheduled to land at 4 p.m., the government stated on Thursday.

The same ceremony will take place as with the arrival of the previous victims, and some surviving family members are expected to attend. After the somber ceremony, the remains will be transported under a police and Marechaussee military police escort to the Corporal Oudheusden Barracks in Hilversum.

Defence Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and Minister of Interior Ronald Plasterk will attend to the ceremony on behalf of the Dutch cabinet. Representatives from both houses of parliament, and the affected countries will be present as well.

The Malaysia Airlines flight took off from Schiphol airport in Amsterdam on July 17, 2014, but was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine while flying to Kuala Lumpur. All 298 people onboard were killed.

Friday 6 February 2015

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Kathore Link Road accident: Twenty more bodies identified

The process of identifying the people who died in the Kathore Link Road accident on January 11 is nearly complete, with only six unidentified bodies left at the Edhi morgue.

Out of the 26 bodies still at the morgue, 18 were handed over to the families of the deceased on Thursday morning. “Two more bodies have also been identified but their families have not yet received them,” said the morgue in-charge.

A Shikarpur-bound bus had caught fire after colliding with an oil tanker, claiming the lives of 62 passengers. Only one body could be identified on the day.

Abdul Hafeez Lund received the bodies of three family members on Thursday. He buried them in Data Nagar, Steel Town, near the graves of five others who died in the same accident. He earlier received two bodies on January 20 and three other on January 28.

“They were all going to Ghotki to attend a wedding,” he said. “We lost eight family members that day but the government has not offered us any help; the provincial authorities, including the police, did not even help us take the bodies home.” He also complained that there was no mechanism in place to help the families to take the bodies without hassle.

He said that both the men were factory workers who had lost their jobs after the incident. “They are in shock,” he explained. “They were awaiting the identification of their loved ones and the process is finally over now.”

Friday 6 February 2015

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8 still missing from Taiwan plane crash

Rescue workers are trying to find eight people still missing from the TransAsia Airways plane that crashed into a river in Taiwan on Wednesday, amid concerns that some of them might have been swept away by currents.

Thirty-five people have been confirmed dead from the crash of TransAsia Airways Flight GE235, and 15 people survived, many of them with injuries, according to Taiwan's official news agency, CNA. Two people on the ground were also hurt.

Searchers continued to recover bodies of victims Friday, CNA reported, citing Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration. Pieces of wreckage from the ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop aircraft have been hauled out of the Keelung River in Taipei, the Taiwanese capital.

Rescuers fear those people still unaccounted for may have drifted downstream toward the larger Tamsui River. Divers have put up a net about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the crash site to try to catch the missing bodies, authorities said.

The pilot of the crashed TransAsia plane was still clutching the aircraft's joystick when his body was found in the cockpit, after he battled to avoid populated areas, it was revealed today, as the bodies of four more victims were found.

The remains were discovered this morning as the search area was extended along the Keelung River. Eight people are still missing.

Pilot Liao Chien-tsung, 41, has been hailed as a hero for apparently making a last-ditch attempt to steer the turboprop plane away from built-up areas during its steep descent, avoiding more deaths and damage.

Thirty-five people are now known to have died in Wednesday's crash after a TransAsia Airways plane clipped a bridge shortly after take-off from the city's domestic airport and plunged into the river.

Liao's body was found in the cockpit still holding the joystick with both hands, and with his legs badly fractured, the Taipei-based China Times newspaper said.

“He struggled to hold onto the joystick till the last moment before the plane plunged into the river in an attempt to control its direction and to reduce casualties,” the report said, citing unnamed prosecutors investigating the case.

Among the bodies found this morning were those of two boys who were still strapped into their seats. They were discovered in the river about 50 metres from the crash site.

The body of an elderly woman was found about 100 metres downstream from the scene of the accident, while the remains of a middle-aged man were discovered nearby, the Central News Agency reported.

Three helicopters started patrolling further along the Keelung River today amid fears that some of the missing may have been washed further downstream towards the larger Tamsui River.

A total of 300 rescuers, including 50 divers, are searching six different stretches of water in cases survivors may be trapped in mudflats in bends in the river, a fire brigade spokesman told local media.

The Coast Guard will also carry out search operations at the mouth of the Tamsui River where it meets the sea.

Relatives of victims of the crash from mainland China visited the scene of the disaster on Friday morning, Radio Taiwan International reported.

Many of the victims were from Xiamen in Fujian province and officials from the city have also arrived in Taipei.

Staff from Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council were due to meet representatives from TransAsia Airways and the Civil Aeronautics Administration this morning and may release details of their findings into the crash later today.

An aviation official also confirmed on Thursday the authenticity of a recording of one of the pilots of the stricken aircraft saying "Mayday, mayday, engine flameout" moments before it banked sharply and crashed.

The aircraft - carrying 53 passengers, including four children, and five crew members - was seen to lurch between buildings, then clip the bridge with one of its wings before crashing upside down in the shallow river at about 10.55am on Wednesday, shortly after taking off from Taipei's Songshan International Airport.

Video images of the plane's final moments in the air captured on car dashboard cameras appear to show the left engine's propeller at standstill as the aircraft turned sharply over Taipei, with its wings going vertical and clipping a highway bridge before plunging into the Keelung River.

The authorities have also banned the airline from applying for new routes for one year in the wake of the latest incident.

Wednesday’s accident, which occurred on a domestic flight to the island of Kinmen, was the second fatal crash for TransAsia after a July disaster that left 48 people dead.

“We have imposed a one-year ban on TransAsia from applying for new routes as a penalty,” said Civil Aeronautics Administration director Lin Tyh-ming.

Taiwanese media said the authorities were looking into allegations against the airline including staff shortages and insufficient training which could have affected safety standards.

“There is a manpower shortage of pilots ...TransAsia had to recruit pilots with less experience from other companies after more than 20 of it pilots went to two newer airlines,” the Apple Daily newspaper reported, citing unnamed sources.

Calls were also mounting from politicians for TransAsia to suspend its operations.

“This is a serious issue that two crashes occurred in just seven months. The company must immediately adopt an in-depth review of its management regarding problems such as workload and salaries,” lawmaker Lin Teh-fu of the ruling Kuomintang party told the Agence France-Presse news agency.

Friday 6 February 2015

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Texas State team works to ID migrant remains

More than 120 bodies of people who died while trying to cross the border were buried in Brooks County, Texas in 2012, enough to full a Boeing 737 aircraft.

Many of their identities remain a mystery, but Dr. Kate Spradley at Texas State hopes to help change that. The work she and her students are doing is referred to as 'Operation Identification.'

"No one is treating it like a mass disaster," said Spradley, who is an associate professor of forensic anthropology at Texas State.

Working with a Baylor University professor to exhume the bodies, the remains of 80 people were then transported to Texas State's Freeman Ranch.

Because the bodies were immediately buried upon discovery by Brooks County authorities, and therefore at various stages of decomposition, they are no longer eligible for autopsy said Spradley.

"If the remains were not brought here, these individuals would have no chance at identification because they were buried immediately. It's as if their identities were wiped off the face of this earth," she said.

Spradley and her team use the skeletal remains try and identify where the person came from before they died crossing the Texas-Mexico border. She says evidence suggests many of the eighty bodies they currently have are from Central America.

Texas State anthropology students aid in the work, scrubbing bones clean of flesh and tissue before examination.

Recent Texas State graduate Hailey Duecker measured a skull Thursday afternoon. She says that sort of information can help reveal the person's origin.

"Everybody deserves to be identified," said Duecker.

The bones are a big part of this process, but sometimes, what cracks the case are the clothes. All clothing and personal items found on the bodies are kept in a freezer until they can be washed and documented. They are then uploaded to a database. The hope is that families of missing people can access the public database and recognize items belonging to loved ones.

So far, the group has had two successful identifications. In one case, they discovered an identification card on a body while processing the personal items. In another, Spradley solved the mystery herself.

The group works closely with several human rights groups. Because the families of missing persons are not U.S. citizens, they can't file missing persons reports when their family members go missing in the U.S., explained Spradley.

Human rights organizations sometimes fill that gap, said Spradley, by taking and filing missing persons reports.

Spradley was reviewing one when a description of a brown plaid shirt jogged her memory. It turned out to be the same brown plaid shirt her students had just finished washing, and the young man's remains were able to be returned to his family.

"They no longer have to continue to wonder what happened to their loved one," Spradley said.

Friday 6 February 2015

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