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86 dead, more than 200 injured in Kerala temple fire

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KOLLAM — At least 86 people were charred to death and more than 200 injured after firecrackers caused a massive fire at the Puttingal temple in the coastal town of Paravur located about 60 kms from the state capital, early on Sunday.

The gruesome incident occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, local media reported.

Eyewitness said that the firecrackers display began near midnight and, a sparkle from a cracker landed in a building that had stored some high potency crackers and it caught fire causing a massive explosion.

State Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar said around 60 injured have been brought to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital.  “Numerous people are under treatment in hospitals at Kollam. The health department is fully geared to provide the necessary treatment,” said Sivakumar.

“The normal practice is to store the high potency crackers in the building and from there it’s taken to the place where their is light. A spark from a live cracker landed in the building that stored these massive crackers,” Kunjumon, a local believer, said.

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Nepal ranked 122nd among 180 countries in 2017 corruption perceptions index

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KATHMANDU — Nepal has moved nine position up to rank 122nd in an annual index of countries deemed the least corrupt published by graft watchdog Transparency International.

The country attained a score of 31 in TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2017. Nepal was ranked 131th in the Corruption Perceptions Index in 2016.

Countries that took the top positions in the latest index, which ranked 180 countries, include New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Switzerland.

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South African country Somalia ,with 9 score, is the most corrupted countries among 180 countries.

Among South Asian countries, Bhutan is the least corrupt countries where as Afghanistan is the most corrupt countries. India ranked in 85 , Bhutan ranked in 29th, Sri Lanka in 97,Maldives 118th, Pakistan in 123 and Bangladesh ranked in 146 position.

TI, in its index, measures countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption. The 2017 index is based on 13 surveys covering expert assessments and views of business people.

Countries are then scored on a scale of zero, for highly corrupt, to 100, for very clean.

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