Monday, 10 August 2015

Mexican missing-student activist killed in Guerrero state

A Mexican community activist who helped families search for their missing relatives has been killed.

Miguel Angel Jimenez Blanco's body was found near his home in a town in the south-western state of Guerrero.

He had led search parties after the disappearance of 43 students in the nearby town of Iguala last year threw light on hundreds of other missing people.

Guerrero is a region plagued by gang and drug violence.

At least 15 people were killed there over the weekend.

Mr Jimenez Blanco's body was found in the taxi he owned in the small town of Xaltianguis.

He had been part of an organisation which had supported the search for the students in the hills around Iguala. He had also helped dig up a number of graves of murdered people that were found during the search for the students.

He had helped organise a group called The Other Disappeared, mostly women who meet every Sunday to search the hills for the remains of their loved ones.

'This area is a cemetery'

The search parties started in November last year, a few months after the 43 students were abducted and presumably killed in Iguala on 26 September.

Since the group began work, it has found 129 bodies, which were handed over to the authorities for identification.

In a BBC interview, Mr Jimenez Blanco said that after Iguala, 300 families had come forward saying they had missing relatives too.

"We have been saying from the start that this area is a cemetery," he said at the time.

David Cienfuegos, government secretary of the state of Guerrero, told the BBC that many families had stayed silent for decades for fear of retribution.

"Many crimes linked to the disappearance of people need a statement to the police so the case can be taken up.

"In the last decade in Guerrero there have been few statements taken because the families are afraid. They fear the police themselves are involved in the disappearances."

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, one of Miguel Jimenez Blanco's friends, Mario Vergara, whose brother went missing last year, said that he motivated hundreds of families.

"He taught us how to search and how to push and every day he would give us the energy to carry on."

The case of the missing 43 students promoted a national and international outcry. The parents of the students and many other Mexicans still reject the government's version of events.

The administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto has insisted the students were killed by gang members on the orders of corrupt local police.

The bodies were then burnt, and the remains dumped in a river, but so far only one student has been identified.

The case highlighted hundreds of other people missing in Guerrero - Mexico's most violent state.

Guerrero is a major opium-producing state and a battleground for a number of different criminal gangs.

More than 20,000 people are missing across the whole country

Monday 10 August 2015

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Russia locates helicopter that crashed 10 months ago in Siberia

Russian investigators said on Saturday that they had located the wreckage of a helicopter that had crashed in a remote mountainous region of Siberia last October with 14 people on board.

Rescuers "confirmed information that the Mi-8 helicopter of TuvaAvia airline that went missing on October 10 was found in an isolated mountainous area," investigators said in a statement.

"According to provisional information, there were 11 passengers and 3 crew members on board.

"The helicopter was transporting workers who were returning from a hydroelectric project in the Siberian Buddhist region of Tuva, which borders Mongolia.It crashed into mountainous terrain amid low cloud and falling snow and caught fire when it hit the ground, the spokesman for the regional emergencies ministry, Dmitry Kryzh, told TASS news agency.

"There is a very steep slope -- with a gradient of around 45 degrees," he said of the crash scene.He said the helicopter most likely went undetected after the crash because it was quickly covered with snow.

The wreckage was initially spotted yesterday from the air by military helicopter pilots.Rescuers were still searching for the helicopter's black boxes which could have been swept downhill by rock falls, Kryzh said.

So far the remains of 10 people have been found. "Unfortunately the crew and the passengers had no chance," the leader of Tuva, Sholban Kara-ool, said in a statement.

It is not unknown for crashed aircraft to lie undetected for months in Russia's sparsely populated countryside. In 2013, a small plane was found in a marsh 11 months after it crashed in the Urals region of central Russia, killing all 13 on board.

Monday 10 august 2015

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India temple stampede in Jharkhand leaves 10 dead

At least 10 people have been killed and 20 injured in a stampede at a temple in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand, officials say.

Pilgrims have been marking a Hindu religious festival in Deoghar town.

It happened as pilgrims tried to make their way into the complex, a district official told BBC Hindi.

Deadly stampedes are common during Indian religious festivals, which attract large crowds with few safety measures in place.

The stampede at the Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple began after pilgrims surged towards the shrine shortly after the doors opened early on Monday, an official told the AFP news agency.

Monday is considered an auspicious date to visit the shrine, which includes a main temple and 21 smaller ones devoted to Shiva, the god of destruction.

Pilgrims sleeping in the 6km (four miles) long queue were trampled as others pushed towards the doors, senior police official SN Pradhan said.

"Many tried to rush to the head of the queue which led to chaos and as some of them fell, the devotees got trampled."

"Ten people including one female devotee are now confirmed dead. Another 15 to 20 people have received injuries," he said

In October, some 91 pilgrims, mostly women and children, were killed in a stampede at a Hindu festival near the Ratangarh temple in Madhya Pradesh state.

In 2011, more than 100 died at a festival in the southern state of Kerala.

Monday 10 August 2015

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