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Canadian city evacuated as huge blaze engulfs houses

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QUEBEC — Most of the 100,000 residents of the Canadian city of Fort McMurray were ordered to leave town late Tuesday as a fire swept through the oil sands region, in Alberta province`s largest ever evacuation.

The 2,650-hectare fire, which emerged on May 1, forced the closure of the main southern exit from the city, prompting residents to head north towards oil sands camps.

The fire, which was contained until Monday south of Fort McMurray, was pushed toward the city by winds and quickly reached homes, helped by a drought in Alberta.

“All of Fort McMurray is under a mandatory evacuation order,” Alberta emergency services announced, after previously indicating that the northern edge of the fire was “growing rapidly.”

Authorities are racing to evacuate tens of thousands of people — the largest evacuation in the province’s history — and have appealed for help from other parts of the country to fight the fire and airlift people from the city.

Gas stations exploded and several homes have already been burnt down, including one of the town`s many motor home parks, according to local media.

The airport was still open.

“Be patient, drive safely and please give way to emergency vehicles,” an evacuation notice read.

The air was thick with black smoke.

Long lines of cars headed north via the main highway of the city, while flames ravaged the embankment on the side of the road. Police closed the southward lanes.

“Seek medical attention if you experience breathing difficulties,” emergency services said.

“I know that it`s a very scary time,” Notley told a press conference. “I know it`s a very, very stressful time for people to have to leave their homes under these conditions.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had called Notley to offer government aid to the province.

“My thoughts are with people affected by the fire in Fort McMurray tonight. Stay safe and remember to follow evacuation orders,” he tweeted.

“We stand ready to help.”

A more limited alert earlier saw authorities evacuate 30,000 people.

AFP

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Nirmala Panta rape, murder case : Locals protest after wrong suspect paraded

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BHIMDUTTANAGAR — Locals who were protesting against the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality, have enforced shutdown in Bhimduttanagar Bazaar on Tuesday, protesting police’s failure to reveal facts behind the murder of 13-year-old girl and parading wrong suspect on Monday.

The District Police Office, organising a press conference on Monday,had made public Dilip Singh Bista (41), of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality-19 as Nirmala’s murderer.

Locals have shut down the market area stating that police were not being able to make public the true murderer(s) as they are not convinced by the findings of police citing that Bista was mentally unsound, according to the District Police Office.

Transportation has also been halted.

Bista, a resident of Khanna Chauraha area in Bhimdutta Municipality-19, was apprehended near the scene of crime on Sunday, according to police.

Police making public the wrong suspect has infuriated the locals and fueled the protest.

The agitators including various civil society organisations and human rights defenders have been picketing the District Administration Office and staging rally on the street mounting pressure on the police to reveal the facts behind the heinous crime.

Meanwhile, it had been learnt that police have fired rounds of teargas shells to contain the agitated mob.

Nirmala was found murdered in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

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