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Over 200 whales stranded in Australia



More than 200 whales have been found stranded on a remote beach on the west coast of Tasmania, Australia.

Half of the pod, thought to be pilot whales, are believed to be still alive. Rescuers are being sent to the area.

It’s unclear what caused the whales to beach on a sandflat at the entrance to Macquarie Harbour, the same remote location where Australia’s worst stranding occurred two years ago.

It comes a day after a separate mass stranding in northern Tasmania.

The incident on Tuesday saw 14 young sperm whales found dead on King Island, in the Bass Strait.

Experts were planning a rescue of the 230 whales discovered on Wednesday but the operation would be “complex” due to the location, Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment said in a statement.

“It appears about half of the animals are alive.”

Macquarie Harbour is a large, shallow inlet in a rural area. More of the whales are expected to die overnight.

Locals have been covering the stranded whales with blankets and pouring buckets of water over them to try to keep them alive.

(BBC News)


Landslide sweeps away 2 buses, over 60 passengers missing




At least 60 people have gone missing after two passenger buses were swept away by a landslide that occurred in Simaltal of the Narayanghat-Mugling road section on Friday.

According to Chitwan Chief District Officer Indradev Yadav, Kathmandu-bound Angel Deluxe and Ganpati Deluxe, en route to Gaur from the Capital, met with the accident at around 3:30am.

Twenty-four people were onboard the bus travelling to Kathmandu and 41 on the other, police said. Three of the passengers on the Ganpati Deluxe managed to escape after jumping out of the vehicle.

In a separate accident, one person was killed after a boulder fell on another passenger bus in 17 kilo of the same road section.

Bus driver Meghnath BK was seriously injured after a landslide caused the boulder to hit his vehicle, travelling towards Kathmandu from Butwal. He died in the course of treatment at the Chitwan Medical College, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Bheshraj Rijal.

Nepal Police and Armed Police Force personnel have reached the incident sites for rescue operations, Superintendent of Police Bhawesh Rimal informed.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed sadness over the incident, directing concerned agencies to conduct search and rescue operations.

“I am deeply saddened by the news of nearly five dozen passengers missing after a landslide swept away buses in Simaltar of Narayanghat-Mugling road section and the loss caused by the disaster in different parts of the country,” Dahal wrote on X.

“I direct all government agencies, including the home administration, to search and rescue the passengers.”

Debris from landslides at various places has obstructed traffic on the Narayanghat-Mugling road section.

According to the Road Division Bharatpur, it will take around four hours for traffic to resume on the roadway.

Efforts for the same are underway


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Israel tells ‘everyone in Gaza City’ to leave




The Israeli military has told all residents of Gaza City to evacuate south to the central Gaza Strip, amid intensified operations in the north.

Leaflets dropped by aircraft instruct “everyone in Gaza City” to leave what is described as a “dangerous combat zone” via designated safe routes – marked as two roads that lead to shelters in Deir al-Balah and al-Zawaida.

The UN has said it is deeply concerned about the evacuation orders being given. It is the second time since the war began that Gaza City as a whole has been asked to evacuate.

Over the past two weeks, Israeli forces have re-entered several districts where the military believes Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad fighters have regrouped since the start of the year.

Hamas has said Israel’s renewed activity in the city is threatening to derail negotiations over a potential ceasefire and hostage release deal, which resumed on Wednesday in Qatar. The talks are being attended by the intelligence chiefs of Egypt, the US and Israel, as well as the prime minister of Qatar.

Top Hamas official Hossam Badran told AFP that Israel “is trying to pressure negotiations by intensifying bombing operations, displacement, and committing massacres”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasised Israel’s commitment to a deal as long as Israel’s “red lines are preserved”.

There are estimated to be more than a quarter-of-a-million people still living in Gaza City – and some were observed evacuating to the south.

Others, though, were not willing to leave.

“I will not leave Gaza [City]. I will not make the stupid mistake that others have made. Israeli missiles do not differentiate between north and south,” resident Ibrahim al-Barbari, 47, told the BBC.

“If death is my fate and the fate of my children, we will die with honour and dignity in our homes,” he said.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said it had received calls from some residents who were unable to leave their homes because of the intensity of the bombing.

“The information coming from Gaza City shows residents are living through tragic conditions. [Israeli] occupation forces continue to hit residential districts, and displace people from their homes and refuge shelters,” it said.

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South Korea politician blames women for rising male suicides




A politician in South Korea is being criticised for making dangerous and unsubstantiated comments after linking a rise in male suicides to the increasingly “dominant” role of women in society.

In a report, Seoul City councillor Kim Ki-duck argued women’s increased participation in the workforce over the years had made it harder for men to get jobs and to find women who wanted to marry them.

He said the country had recently “begun to change into a female-dominant society” and that this might “partly be responsible for an increase in male suicide attempts”.

South Korea has one of the highest suicide rates among the world’s rich countries but also has one of the worst records on gender equality.

Councillor Kim’s comments have been criticised as the latest in a series of out-of-touch remarks made by male politicians.

Councillor Kim, from the Democratic Party, arrived at his assessment when analysing data on the number of suicide attempts made at bridges along Seoul’s Han river.

The report, published on the city council’s official website, showed that the number of suicide attempts along the river had risen from 430 in 2018 to 1,035 in 2023, and of those trying to take their lives the proportion who were men had climbed from 67% to 77%.

Suicide prevention experts have expressed concern over Mr Kim’s report.

“It is dangerous and unwise to make claims like this without sufficient evidence,” Song In Han, a mental health professor at Seoul’s Yonsei University, told the BBC.

He pointed out that globally more men took their lives than women. In many countries, including the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men under 50.

Even so, Prof Song said the reasons behind the sharp rise in men attempting suicide in Seoul needed to be scientifically studied, adding it was “very regrettable” that the councillor had made it about gender conflict.

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