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India says cheetah deaths not alarming, to consult experts

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India says cheetah deaths not alarming, to consult experts

India is taking steps to ensure the wellbeing of cheetahs brought from southern Africa, the government has told the Supreme Court, as concerns rise over the deaths of the world’s fastest land animal re-introduced into India after 70 years.

Six adult cheetahs out of the 20 imported from South Africa and Namibia in September last year and February 2023 have died since March. Three cubs born in the country have also perished.

Of those six, a female cheetah from Namibia died of an infection from a maggot infestation at the Kuno National Park in Madhya Pradesh last week.

The deaths have raised questions about the management of the ambitious project, championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with conservationists petitioning the Supreme Court over the animals’ wellbeing.

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The government told the top court that the project has had its challenges but the deaths did not call for alarm, according to an advocate who was present at the hearing.

Experts are being consulted for the project and the government is exploring ways to directly disseminate updates about the health of the cheetahs, the government told the court.

Conservation biologist Dr. Laurie Marker, founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund and an adviser to the project, told Reuters that the loss of some cheetahs was to be anticipated in this unique experiment, saying, “reintroductions are a hard ask”.

According to the original agreement, 10-12 cheetahs will be imported to India from African countries annually for five years, starting in 2022, at an estimated cost of 910 million rupee ($11.4 million) for the first phase of the project.

Cheetahs died out in India about seven decades ago.

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India formulate security plan for World Cup 2023

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India formulate security plan for World Cup 2023

 India have chalked out a comprehensive plan for multi-layer security and management of traffic for the upcoming ICC Men’s World Cup 2023. 

A security official told Indian media that arrangements had been made for smooth influx of fans into the stadiums and maintain uninterrupted traffic flow on roads.

He said multi-layer security plan had been designed for the mega event, adding that a communication system would also be established for seamless coordination between security agencies and local cricket association. 

The security teams would ensure the safe movement of teams from hotel to stadium and back by creating secure pathways. 

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As several stadiums, including Pune, are situated at a considerable distance from the city, seamless arrangements have been made to handle the logistical challenge in an effective way.

Commissioner of Pimpri Chinchwad police Vinoy Kumar Choubey said told Indian media, “We will be putting in place a multi-layer security cover in and around the stadium. A detailed plan for the same is in the making.

“Each layer will have a specific purpose and a pre-decided number of personnel and officers will be tasked to secure each layer. A communication channel has been established between the MCA office bearers and our team.”

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South Korea opposition leader ends 24-day hunger strike

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South Korea opposition leader ends 24-day hunger strike

 South Korea’s opposition leader ended a 24-day hunger strike on Saturday, a party spokesperson said, two days after parliament voted to let prosecutors serve an arrest warrant against him for alleged bribery.

Lee Jae-myung, leader of the Democratic Party of Korea, will maintain a schedule including court attendance while hospitalised for the time being, the spokesman told reporters.

Prosecutors this month sought the warrant in an investigation into bribery allegations concerning a development project. Prosecutors accuse Lee of asking a company to illegally transfer $8 million to North Korea when he was the governor of Gyeonggi Province.

He is also accused of breaching his duty over losses of 20 billion won ($15 million) by a municipal development corporation when he was mayor of Seongnam city.

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Lee, who lost South Korea’s presidential election to conservative Yoon Suk Yeol last year, has denied wrongdoing, calling the allegations “fiction” and a “political conspiracy”.

He began his protest on Aug. 31, citing the government’s economic mismanagement, threats to media freedom and the failure to oppose Japan’s release of wastewater from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant, among other reasons.

Thursday’s surprise vote by parliament, controlled by Lee’s party, has caused an uproar among his supporters.

Police on Saturday detained a man in his 40s who had posted the names of more than a dozen lawmakers outside Lee’s party faction, writing “gotta search for the sniper rifle at home”, said an official with the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police. Police will seek an arrest warrant against him for intimidation, the official said.

South Korea is to hold parliamentary elections in April.

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Landslide causes large chunk of Swedish motorway to collapse

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Landslide causes large chunk of Swedish motorway to collapse

 A large chunk of a motorway in southwest Sweden collapsed overnight, causing three people to be taken to hospital with light injuries, police said on Saturday.

The landslide damaged the motorway between Sweden’s second-biggest city Gothenburg and Norway’s capital Oslo, near the small town of Stenungsund, around 50 km north of Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast.

“The landslide has affected an area of around 100 x 150 meters, around ten vehicles, a wooded area, and a business area with a gas station and a fast food restaurant,” the Gothenburg Rescue Services said.

“A number of people have been helped out of vehicles in the slide area with the help of fire personnel and a helicopter,” they said. Several cars and one truck had fallen into holes and cracks caused by the landslide, Swedish news agency TT reported.

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A rescue services spokesperson told public broadcaster SVT all people in the vehicles had been helped out. The rescue services said specially trained staff and search dogs would now search the area, and that further slides could not be ruled out.

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