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18 dead, over 50 trapped as under construction flyover collapses in Varanasi

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VARANASI — At least 18 people have died and 50 other are feared trapped under the debris after a portion of an under construction flyover collapsed in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi today,officials said.

18 bodies have been recovered from the Varanasi flyover collapse site, UP Relief Commissioner Sanjay Kumar told PTI in Lucknow.

“It is feared that several people are buried under the rubble,” an official said, adding rescue teams were at spot to rescue those trapped.

Some vehicles, including a bus, were crushed in the collapse, they said.

The Uttar Pradesh Bridge Construction Corporation was constructing the 2261-metre-long bridge at a cost of Rs 129 crore, officials said. The span which fell today was laid barely three months ago, they added. The portion of the flyover that fell had been laid as recently as February.

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Eight cranes are being used to try to lift the debris and a crane with a 200 tonne lifting capacity is also being called in.

Officials say gas cutters are being used and the first priority is to pull out those trapped.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered an inquiry report in 48 hours and has also directed his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya and minister Neelkanth Tiwari to visit the spot.

“The chief minister has expressed grief and directed the administration to speed up rescue operation,” UP minister Sidharth Nath Singh told ANI.

Agencies

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

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Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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