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10 killed, 38 missing as heavy rains batter Uttarakhand

DEHRA DUN: Ten persons were killed and 38 others went missing as incessant rains battered Uttarakhand today triggering landslides, cloud bursts and flash floods which flattened homes and stranded hundreds of pilgrims with the Chardham Yatra coming to a grinding halt. 

The Garhwal region bore the brunt of the natural calamity. 

The state government has sounded a high alert after the MET department’s warned of very heavy rains and sought the help of the Army to mitigate the sufferings of the people. 

Nineteen labourers of the state-run UJVN Ltd’s Assi Ganga hydel project went missing following a cloud burst in the upper hills of Uttarkashi district. 

Similarly, 19 other persons also went missing from Gangori, Dunda, Uttarkashi town and Barkot areas in the district. 

“We have launched a manhunt to trace the missing people,” said R. Rajesh Kumar District Magistrate Uttarkashi. 

Elsewhere in the state, 10 persons were killed in different incidents following heavy rains during the past 24 hours, said sources in the Disaster Management and Mitigation Centre (DMMC) here. 

In the disaster—prone Uttarkashi district, flash floods hit several low—lying areas creating havoc there. 

At least three jawans of the fire brigade department and two others were killed at Gangori area even as Chardham yatra to Gangotri and Yamunotri remained suspended for the second day on Saturday. 

In Gangori area of Uttarkashi, Bhagirathi is flowing above the danger level with people being evacuated to safer areas. 

Nearly 30 homes were washed away in the floods with the Gangori bridge also collapsing. 

“We have now reports that three jawans of the fire brigade and two others were killed in Gangori,” said state disaster management minister Yashpal Arya. — PTI




22 trapped in J&K flash flood, alert sounded

JAMMU: As many as 22 persons were on Saturday trapped in flash floods in Jammu region, prompting the authorities to sound an alert in the region.

“A flash flood alert has been sounded in Jammu. Due to heavy overnight rains, various rivers in Jammu region are flooded...22 persons and large number of cattle are trapped in the flash floods in Ujh and Tawi rivers,” an official said.

Of the 22 persons, 15 are trapped in Ujh river at Khadwal area in Kathua district and two each in Mayachak, Nagri, Sujanal (Satwari) and Muthi areas, he said.

A rescue operation has been launched for those trapped in the flash floods, triggered by intermittent overnight rains in Jammu, Kathua and Udhampur districts, the official said.

The water level in Chenab, Tawi, Ujh and Basantar rivers is nearing the danger mark, officials said, adding that people living in low-lying areas have been alerted and warned of flash floods. They have also been asked to keep away from banks of the flooded rivers. — PTI




Vikas ouster: India files counter-protest

LONDON: Stung by Vikas Krishan's controversial ouster from the Olympics, the Indian boxing team on Saturday filed a protest of its own against the International Boxing Association's decision to overturn his pre-quarterfinal win against American Errol Spence. The appeal was filed after an emergency meeting of the team with Chef-de-Mission and Indian Boxing Federation Secretary General P. K. Muralidharan Raja.

In a stunning turn of events, Vikas (69kg) was ousted from the Games in London after AIBA overturned the result of the bout he had won, following a review.

The 20-year-old had won 13-11 over Errol Spence in a thrilling contest last night but following an appeal by his rival's team management, the AIBA awarded the bout 15-13 to the American citing the fouls committed by the Indian which were not noticed by the referee.

A stunned Indian team had gone into a huddle after AIBA's decision and called an emergency meeting to discuss the matter.

While agreeing, Vikas had gone into a clinch with his rival, the Indians were claiming that the American was equally guilty of the same offence.

Sandhu said the Indians will challenge the observations made by the competition jury, which felt that Vikas should have been penalised four points for holding his rival nine times and deliberately spitting out his gumshield during the bout.

"We will argue that the our guy did not hold Spence for more than seven times. The American was guilty of holding Vikas four times according to us. As for spitting the gumshield, that may or may not be considered because the referee had failed to spot it during the bout," Sandhu explained.

Asked about the chances of India's counter-appeal getting any favourable result, Sandhu said, "I can't say for sure what will happen but we will ensure that our version is also taken into account."

Earlier, Raja, also the Indian Boxing Federation's Secretary General, said the team will not accept the decision lying down.

"The decision has been overturned but it's not as if we cannot do anything about it," he insisted. 

But Raja admitted that there were not too many options in front of the team after the world body's review and reversal of the original decision.

"In such cases, the jury decision is final. Because they replay the bout and go through it very closely before deciding whether to stick to the original decision or overturn it. Not many options are there but let's see. We will still try to find a way forward," he said.

The AIBA cited fouls committed by Vikas as the reason for overturning his 13-11 win.

"There were a total of nine (9) holding fouls committed by the Indian boxer in the third round alone. However the Referee only gave one caution," the AIBA said in a statement after a review by its Competition Jury.

"In the second round, at the time 02:38, the boxer from India spitted out his gumshield intentionally. However the Referee didn't give any warning," it added. — PTI



Another US university in visa fraud row; fate of
Indian students uncertain

NEW YORK: A year after the Tri Valley university scam left several students from India high and dry, another American varsity with a significant Indian population, has run into trouble after its CEO was charged with visa fraud.

Jerry Wang, 34, the CEO of Sunnyvale California-based Herguan University and the University of East-West Medicine, has been charged in a San Jose District Court with a 15 count indictment on visa fraud including that he forged federal documents to allow foreign students to enter and stay in the US.

Federal agents raided the Herguan University in California and arrested Wang on Thursday. Wang faces a maximum penalty of up to 85 years in prison if convicted of all charges. He could also have to pay a fine of up to a million dollars.

Wang's father and mother have also been named in the 10-page indictment, which alleges that between 2007 and 2011, they submitted false transfer letters and forged other visa documents required for non-immigrant students to the US Department of Homeland Security's Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP).

The Wangs collected tuition fees and other payments from Herguan students in exchange for maintaining their false student visa records.

The case could spell trouble for the about 450 students of Herguan, most of whom are from India. A photograph on the university's website shows some graduating students, half of whom are Indians.

The university, however, wrote on its website that the charges against Wang have not affected Herguan and that Wang has resigned from his post.

The university is "open and and conducting classes as usual. Government charges against the Designated School Official, who has resigned, regarding immigration issues, have not affected the University. Students will find classes scheduled as usual," it said.

The university added that if students have valid visa status "nothing has changed for you."

The university is seeking Wang's replacement and has appointed Doreen Simmons as the interim chief operating officer.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement that in light of the allegations, Herguan and the University of East-West Medicine could lose authorisation to enroll foreign students.

"Foreign students who are currently enrolled at these universities may continue to attend classes as long as the schools remain SEVP-certified and the students are able to maintain their lawful immigration status," ICE said.

The ICE has issued both schools a notice of intent to withdraw, the first step in revoking the schools' SEVP certification.

The universities have 30 days to respond to the notice and request an interview to contest the action.

The indictment charges Wang with conspiracy to commit visa fraud; use of false documents; aggravated identity theft; and unauthorised access to government computers.

Wang made his initial appearance in federal court on Thursday and is scheduled to be formally arraigned August 20.

The school offers computer science and business degrees and was granted federal approval in 2008 to accept foreign students.

The San Jose Mercury News quoted a Herguan graduate Rajiv as saying that the news of the raid came as a shock. He said foreign students were told if "that in the next 15 days, if something doesn't change, you either have to find a different school or leave the country."

Last year over 1000 Indian students were affected by the Tri-Valley scam after the university was raided and shut down by authorities on charges of a massive immigration fraud.

Many students had faced the threat of deportation to India after the scam was uncovered. Federal authorities had alleged that Tri valley had been paid millions of dollars by foreigners to obtain student visas that authorised them to remain in the US.

The university, which had around 1,500 Indian students, was was later closed down. — PTI




Jundal names 4 Indians in LeT fold

Mumbai: In a major breakthrough, Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal, the alleged handler of terrorists who attacked the city on November 26, 2008, has named four Indian operatives of Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) who have been in Pakistan for long.

Two of them are from Beed in Maharashtra where Jundal

hails from, the third is from Jammu, while the native place of the fourth operative is not yet known. The crime branch of Mumbai police has already scoped the areas where the operatives from Beed resided.

Sources in the crime branch said that though Jundal says the four were not part of the 26/11 terror attack, they are verifying the claim.

The four are — Abu Sherjil and Abu Jarar from Beed, Abu Musab from Jammu, who, along with Jundal, is an accused in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case. The fourth person is Abu Jaid alias Lal Baba, who has been booked in the plot to blow up the Nashik police academy.Back




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