The death toll in a train crash in southern Pakistan rose to 56 on Tuesday, a railway spokeswoman said, the latest accident to highlight a broken railway system that dates back to the 19th century, Reuters reported.
A train smashed into derailed carriages of another train on Monday, killing at least 36 people and injuring over 100.
The toll rose to 56 after bodies were retrieved overnight from mangled coaches strewn across the tracks, Pakistan Railways spokeswoman Nazia Jabeen told Reuters.
Another 23 injured passengers are still under treatment, she said, adding the rest of them were sent to their destinations.
Rescue operations have been completed, said statements from the railway and Pakistani military, which worked at the site along with police and other rescuers.
One side of the two rail tracks have been cleared and work was in progress to clear the other one to help restore traffic.
Several carriages of a train derailed and fell across the adjacent track in the Ghotki district on Monday. Within minutes, a second train, coming from the other direction, smashed into them.
“The driver tried to apply emergency brakes but the locomotive hit the infringing coaches,” Pakistan Railways said in an initial report.
“We saw a terrifying scene here,” a resident Sher Mohammad told Reuters TV. “We brought water, picked up children. Passengers who were coming out of the train were mostly in agony,” he said.
The trains were carrying a total of 1,388 passengers.
Accidents on the decaying rail system are common.
In 2005, in the same district, about 130 people were killed when a crowded passenger train rammed into another at a station and a third train struck the wreckage, Reuters reported.
Successive governments have for years been trying to secure funds to upgrade the system, including a planned new rail track called ML-1 as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative of energy and infrastructure projects.
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The first Israeli government in 12 years not led by Benjamin Netanyahu got down to business on Monday, with the former prime minister shying away from a handover ceremony with successor Naftali Bennett.
The right-wing leader’s record run in office ended on Sunday with parliament approving, by a razor-thin majority of 60-59, a new administration led by Bennett, a nationalist whose views mirror Netanyahu’s on many issues.
In Tel Aviv, thousands turned out to welcome the result, after four inconclusive elections in two years.
“I am here celebrating the end of an era in Israel,” said Erez Biezuner in Rabin Square.
“We want them to succeed and to unite us again,” he added, as flag-waving supporters of the new government sang and danced around him.
A combative Netanyahu, 71, said he would be back sooner than expected.
“If we are destined to go into the opposition, we will do so with our heads held high until we can topple it,” he told parliament before Bennett was sworn in.
The traditional handover ceremony was not scheduled at the prime minister’s office, where Netanyahu was expected to meet Bennett later on Monday to brief him on state matters.
The last time Netanyahu was unseated as Israel‘s leader, in 1999, he ended his first term in office with a glass of wine in his hand and affable words of welcome to then-Labour party leader Ehud Barak, who defeated him at the polls.
“Sour, grumpy, not stately – Trump-like until the final moment,” Yossi Verter, a political affairs commentator, wrote in the left-leaning Haaretz newspaper.
Asked why there would be no such scene now, Topaz Luk, a senior aide to Netanyahu, told Army Radio: “That’s just what happens.”
Netanyahu, he said, was “filled with motivation to topple this dangerous government as quickly as possible”. Luk declined to disclose Netanyahu’s comeback strategy, pointing only to the new administration’s slim margin of support in parliament.
Luk said the incoming government was receiving briefings from Netanyahu’s diplomatic and security advisers to ensure an orderly handover.
After holding its first meeting late on Sunday, Bennett’s new cabinet was invited for a traditional group photograph, showcasing incoming governments, at the official residence of President Reuven Rivlin.
With little in common other than a desire to unseat Netanyahu, the patchwork coalition of right-wing, centrist, left-wing and Arab parties largely plans to avoid sweeping moves on hot-button issues such as policy towards the Palestinians, and to focus instead on domestic reforms.
Palestinians were unmoved by the change of administration, predicting that Bennett, a former defence chief who advocates annexing parts of the occupied West Bank, would pursue the same right-wing agenda as Netanyahu.
Under the coalition deal, Bennett, a 49-year-old Orthodox Jew and high-tech millionaire, will be replaced as prime minister in 2023 by centrist Yair Lapid, 57, a popular former television host.
U.S. President Joe Biden congratulated Bennett and Lapid, saying he looked forward to strengthening the “close and enduring” relationship between the two countries.
Addressing parliament on Sunday, Bennett put Biden on notice that he would follow in Netanyahu’s footsteps in opposing any U.S. return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal abrogated by former President Donald Trump.
Netanyahu was Israel‘s longest-serving leader, and had served consecutive terms as prime minister since 2009.
He used his global stature to resist calls for Palestinian statehood, describing it as a danger to Israel‘s security. He sought to bypass the Palestinian issue by forging diplomatic deals with regional Arab states, on the back of shared fears of Iran and its nuclear programme.
But he was a divisive figure at home and abroad, weakened by repeated failure to clinch a decisive election victory, and by a corruption trial in which he has denied any wrongdoing.
Gas pipe explosion kills 12 in China
A gas pipe explosion in a residential community in a central Chinese city killed 12 people and injured 138, state media CCTV reported Sunday.
One hundred-fifty people were evacuated following the deadly accident in the city of Shiyan in Hubei province, it said, of which 37 are critically injured.
The explosion caused a food market building to collapse at 6:30 a.m., local media reported. Footage from CCTV shows wreckage and shattered glass covering the first floor of the collapsed building, where people were having breakfast and buying groceries when explosion happened.
People can be seen walking in a rubble-strewn street between damaged buildings.
Hospitals in Shiyan are asking residents to donate blood, as the injured are still under emergency treatment, CCTV said.
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