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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.

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Former US President George HW Bush’s ex-doctor shot dead in Houston

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HOUSTON — A medical doctor who once treated former US president George HW Bush was shot dead while riding a bicycle in the city’s medical centre, authorities say.

Houston Methodist Hospital identified the doctor as Mark Hausknecht, 65, a cardiologist who was a member of the Houston Methodist staff and the DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center.

Hausknecht was shot by another man on a bike around 9 am Friday (local time) near Texas Children’s Hospital. He specialized in cardiovascular disease and had been in practice for almost four decades.

The suspect then rode off, according to police, who have yet to give a motive for the daylight shooting in the busy city area.

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“Mark was a fantastic cardiologist and a good man,” Mr Bush, 94, said in a statement, adding, “I will always be grateful for his exceptional, compassionate care. His family is in our prayers.”

Dr Hausknecht had worked in Houston for about three decades and often cycled to work, local media reported.

He once treated the former president for an irregular heartbeat.

The doctor’s widow, emergency physician Georgia Hsieh, called his killing senseless, according to a statement published by the Houston Chronicle.

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