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Flash floods kill 33 in northern Pakistan: Officials

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PESHAWAR — Flash floods caused by torrential monsoon rains have killed at least 33 people in northern Pakistan including 31 from a village near the border with Afghanistan, officials said today.

The downpours started late Saturday and were concentrated mainly in the northwestern province of Khybher Pakthunkwa, which has been badly affected by flooding in recent years that some scientists have linked to climate change.

The worst hit district was Chitral, on the country’s northwest border, where flood waters swept away a mosque, several houses and army post in the remote village of Ursoon, district mayor Maghfirat Shah told AFP.

Osama Waraich, another senior local official, added that eight bodies of the missing villagers had been found from the Afghan side and six soldiers were still missing.

Separately, two Chinese engineers were killed and five Pakistani workers injured when the roof of a construction site collapsed at Tarbela Dam owing to the rains that began late Saturday, Latifur Rehman, spokesman for the Provincial Disaster Management Authority said.

Rescue and relief operations were underway, he added.

In April rains and landslides killed 127 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan region and Pakistani Kashmir.

Poorly built homes across Pakistan, particularly in rural areas, are susceptible to collapse during the annual spring and monsoon rains in July-August, which are often heavy.

Severe weather in recent years has killed hundreds and destroyed huge tracts of prime farmland.

During the rainy season last summer, torrential downpours and flooding killed 81 people and affected almost 300,000 people across the country.

AFP

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Health

Sleeping in on weekends may help live longer

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Sleep deprivation has been found to have numerous negative effects on a person’s health. But the new study has shown that sleeping more on the weekend might help ease health problems associated with not getting enough during the week, and even reduce the risk of an early death.

The study, published in Journal of Sleep Research by scientists from Sweden and the United States, suggested that the negative effects of a few nights of short sleep could be counteracted by staying in bed over the weekend.

The from the Stress Research Institute (SRI) at Stockholm University and the Karolinska Institute discovered that people below 65 years old who slept less than five hours on weekends had a higher risk of early death after examining medical and lifestyle data from more than 43,000 adults, following them for a period of 13 years.

For people who slept for less than five hours throughout the week but slept longer on the weekends for about nine hours, there was no increase in mortality risk. But, for people who consistently slept for less than five hours through the whole week, the mortality risk is higher.

Torbjorn Akerstedt, one of the authors of the research and a clinical neuroscience professor from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, said that the findings were consistent with previous studies on the link between sleep duration and mortality.

However, those previous studies only focused on sleep during weekdays.

“The results imply that short sleep is not a risk factor for mortality if it is combined with a medium or long weekend sleep,” the researchers wrote in the study.

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