Nepal earthquake: Hundreds waiting to cremate the dead as the toll rises

Jagat Nath Thakur, 19, stands with the body of his sister, 9, and nephew, 10, killed when a building collapsed during the Nepalese earthquake Photo: Matt Wade Victims of the Nepal earthquake lined up awaiting cremation Photo: Matt Wade
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Funeral pyres are burning 24 hours a day along the Bagmati River near Kathmandu’s ancient Pasupatinath Temple. Photo: Matt Wade

A body being prepared for cremation after the Nepal earthquake. Photo: Matt Wade

Comment: Rescue teams arrive too late to save livesAustralian embassy in Kathmandu becomes Anzac Camp

A grim-faced Jagat Nath Thakur stood quietly beside the bodies of his nine-year-old sister, Panchi, and his 10-year-old nephew, Bibek. Jagat was among hundreds waiting to cremate loved ones on the banks of the holy Bagmati River near Kathmandu’s ancient Pasupatinath Temple.

Most of the dead were victims of Saturday’s devastating earthquake – the city’s cremation grounds have been working overtime since.

Panchi and Bibek died when the five-storey building where they lived in Kathmandu was reduced to rubble by the quake. Another 20 people inside the building were also killed.

“Bibek’s body was found quite soon but Panchi’s was buried for about three days,” said Jagat. The 19-year-old was not home when the quake struck because he was working at the family’s hair salon, which was not damaged.

At least a dozen funeral pyres were burning at the traditional cremation area near Pasupatinath, Nepal’s most important Hindu temple. Hindus consider that part of the Bagmati River an auspicious place to hold funeral rituals.

Jagat watched over the children’s bodies alone while his father went to get firewood and other ritual items needed for the cremations. Nearby a family made final preparations to the funeral pyre of a 65-year old women killed when a building collapsed.

Jagat had already been waiting three hours for a space to set the pyre to become available. Five more corpses wrapped in shrouds were lined up waiting for cremation a few metres away. The Nepal government is providing the families of earthquake victims with logs free of charge.

On a normal day about 20 to 30 bodies are cremated near Pasupatinath, but since Saturday’s earthquake there have been hundreds. Demand is so high that funeral pyres were being prepared in an additional “overflow area” by the river, and the fires have been burning non-stop.

It’s grim reminder of the human cost of the disaster.

Sadly, Nepal’s cremation grounds are set to be extra busy for some time.

The death toll following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake has now officially topped 5000 and Nepal’s Prime Minister, Sushil Koirala, has warned it could reach 10,000.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Committee for Sydney’s Tim Williams slams road building plans for city

Sydney congestion: cars on Parramatta Road near Flemington Markets. Tim Williams: “What is so different about the Australian city experience?” Photo: Michele Mossop
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A slide from the presentation, which bore the legend: “This is not our vision.”

“I wouldn’t start from here”: Tim Williams’ presentation [PDF – 31MB]What you need to know about WestConnexMore NSW news

The head of a major Sydney business lobby group has come out swinging against the Baird and Abbott governments’ road-building agenda, while also slamming the boss of the WestConnex project for trying to divide the city.

The chief executive of the Committee for Sydney, Tim Williams, told an audience at the University of Sydney last week all sides of politics had “got it wrong” on the city’s transport priorities, criticising them for a lack of ambition in promoting public transport in the growing metropolis.

Dr Williams, whose organisation’s members include major construction, finance and engineering firms, also called on the government to release the business cases for the new mega projects being proposed for Sydney which, to its detriment, remained in the thrall of road builders.

“There is no strategic or structural planner of Sydney at this point of time outside of RMS [Roads and Maritime Services],” Dr Williams told the Halloran Trust event at the university.

“RMS is the structural planner for Sydney,” Dr Williams said, before quoting George Orwell to the effect that Sydney was “a family with the wrong members in control”.

“I’m sorry to have to say it but I think it is, I think we’ve got problems,” he said. “I think in its current form, RMS needs to be reconstructed.”

Dr Williams’ presentation largely reflected familiar themes advanced by transport academics and urban planners. As cities became denser, governments needed to fit them with better public transport, cycling and walking facilities, rather than focusing on new motorways that encourage sprawl and car use.

But the intervention is significant because it is rare for a big business group to press these points. Members of the Committee for Sydney include major engineering firms like Arup​ and AECOM, as well as finance companies like Macquarie Group, Westpac and ANZ.

“We are in the presence of another road transport upheaval in this city,” Dr Williams said, while showing a slide of the $15 billion WestConnex motorway and its proposed extensions to the north and south.

“Which, by the way, we are not seeing in any other cities in the world,” he said. “And that’s the issue – many other cities in the world are taking their highway capacity out and I’m just wondering, what is so different about the Australian city experience that means that they’re wrong and we are right?

“We think this is a congestion-busting proposition and nowhere in Christendom does that appear to be the case – so what’s going on?”

For the most part, Dr Williams declined to specifically cite the WestConnex project, a 33-kilometre series of motorways largely through the inner west of Sydney.

But he aimed direct criticism at the chief executive of the WestConnex Delivery Authority, Dennis Cliche, for comments reported in the Herald in which Mr Cliche said those opposed to WestConnex were wealthier people in inner suburbs.

“They’re not living in the mortgage belt. They don’t have kids who are to some extent excluded socially from the opportunities that some people have,” Mr Cliche said.

In his address, Dr Williams said this was a “terrible way to have a civic dialogue about transport in our city”.

“Trying to set one part of the community against another, trying to say that the inner west community is trying to stop the good people of western Sydney getting access to something,” Dr Williams said.

“This is the statement by the chief executive of the WestConnex Delivery Authority and more shame him. I know him and he’s spoken to the Committee for Sydney,” he said.

“I am astonished. I think he must be panicking. I don’t think his masters would want the dialogue to be conducted like this.

“But also it’s just wrong. Because if you are worried about the inequity of our city and access to public transport, there’s really a good thing to do about it – give them access to public transport in western Sydney.”

Contacted for comment, Mr Cliche said: “Sydney needs an integrated transport solution that includes both roads and public transport to keep our city moving. It is not an either/or proposition.

“WestConnex Delivery Authority is committed to engaging with our stakeholders as a core part of planning and delivering this project. We welcome constructive dialogue which will help ensure we deliver the best possible road infrastructure for Sydney.”

Dr Williams called on the government to release the business case for the WestConnex project –  “the people who propose these massive projects, they haven’t even bothered to show us the evidence” – but also criticised the lack of focus at the recent state election on alternative public transport proposals.

“For me it’s a politically neutral thing, they’ve all got it wrong.”

Dr Williams said what was needed was a transport “revolution” in Sydney, with aggressive targets to promote public transport use.

Separately, City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has been campaigning against WestConnex and this week released a report querying its supposed benefits.

In response, Roads Minister Duncan Gay said: “While Clover Moore wastes ratepayers money on dubious traffic studies, she turns a blind eye to the thousands of motorists stuck on the M4 and M5 each day.”

“Motorists battling the M4 and M5 every day, those stuck in gridlock on Parramatta Road, can’t wait for WestConnex – they know to do nothing is not an option,” Mr Gay said. Concord tunnelling point announced

Separately, Mr Gay announced on Wednesday that a hockey field at Concord would make way for the motorway project’s midway tunnelling point.

Players displaced by loss of the Cintra Park Hockey Field would be accommodated in “new and improved” facilities at the St Lukes Park precinct, said Mr Gay, who added the decision eliminated the need to acquire homes.

“The mid-point allows tunnelling work to be carried out in two directions from the one location, towards the M4 widening at Homebush Bay Drive and towards the end of the M4 East tunnel at Haberfield,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

Bali 9: How Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop learnt of the executions

Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop and Prime Minister Tony Abbott pictured addressing the media after the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran early on Wednesday morning. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Mr Abbott spoke with Ms Bishop several times throughout the night. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Ms Bishop and Mr Abbott arriving for the press conference. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Australia has announced it is withdrawing its ambassador to Indonesia after the executions. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Indonesia responds to Australia withdrawing ambassadorAnalysis: Cold comfort in diplomatic deep freezePolice officers face jail for death penalty tip-offs: Palmer proposal

Prime Minister Tony Abbott arrived in Canberra at about midnight on Tuesday knowing two Australians would soon be executed.

After ten years on death row, legal appeals, ministerial and consular lobbying and a parliamentary motion it became clear on Saturday, Anzac Day, that Indonesia intended to proceed with the executions.

Mr Abbott had only just touched down in Australia from France where he had stopped for meetings with President Francois Hollande after a trip to Turkey to commemorate the centenary of the Anzac landing.

At the forefront of his mind throughout the journey was the fate of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and he discussed their plight with Mr Hollande.

Immediately after Mr Abbott arrived in Canberra he was briefed and went home but spoke with Ms Bishop several times throughout the night.

He arrived at Parliament House in the early hours of the morning.

Ms Bishop worked throughout the night, the culmination of months of work trying to save the lives of Chan and Sukumaran.

Despite being in Europe for the weekend Ms Bishop had not stopped making representations on behalf of the pair.

She finally reached her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, on Sunday night from the Dubai airport as she made the journey back to Australia.

It was the last conversation the pair had.

It is usually defence ministers who have the solemn duty of informing Australians that one of their countrymen or women has been killed overseas.

On Wednesday it was Mr Abbott’s and Ms Bishop’s job.

“Just after 3.30am Canberra time I received notification of reports of gunfire from Cilacap prison,” Ms Bishop said at an early morning press conference on Wednesday.

“Our ambassador and our previous ambassador and our consular staff have been working around the clock.

“I have been on the telephone talking to our ambassador, talking to officials but my last telephone conversation with my counterpart was on Sunday.”

Ms Bishop spoke with the families of both men.

Much of the discussions between Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop revolved around the government’s response and how strong it would be.

Mr Abbott’s and Ms Bishop’s offices had been receiving calls for comment since 3.30am and they waited in vain for official notification of the deaths from the Indonesian government.

It became clear they could not wait any longer.

At 6.55am a media alert was issue for a press conference at 7.30am.

By the time they began to speak it had been four hours since the men died.

Ms Bishop has been in regular contact with the families and taken the men’s situation to heart.

Although she went to pains to stress on Wednesday morning that the Indonesian’s decision was “not personal” it clearly was.

“I don’t want to personalise it but, obviously, I do regret that while my representations have  been listened to patiently and courteously, they have not been heeded,” Ms Bishop said.

The sadness on the faces of both politicians well versed in the art of poker faces was clear for all to see.

Follow us on Twitter  Australian Politics – FairfaxThe original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.

WWI in the Herald: April 22, 1915

WWI in the Herald: Archive
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London, Wednesday.

The Admiralty states that as the Turks were making great efforts to secure the British submarine E15, which was still aground, but in a serviceable condition, the Allies’ battleships endeavoured to destroy it by long range fire, but failed.

On Sunday night two picket boats, under Lieutenant-commander Eric G. Robinson, of H.M.S. Triumph, with volunteer crews, attacked the submarine.

They were under heavy fire from the big guns at the fort, which was only a few hundred yards distant, and also fire from many smaller guns.

They succeeded in torpedoing the submarine, and rendering it useless.

One of the picket boats, from H.M.S. Majestic, was sunk by gunfire, but the other boat rescued the crew.

One man, who died from his wounds, was the only casualty.

Lieutenant-commander Robinson has been promoted to the rank of commander.

Paris, Tuesday.

A press correspondent, writing from Salonica, says the Russians have mined the entrance to the Bosphorus.

Two Turkish destroyers have been blown up and sank, and the remainder of the Turkish fleet is unable to enter the Bosphorus, owing to the fact that the Turkish mine-sweepers are rapidly exhausting their coal supply.

Petrograd, Wednesday.

The latest communique states that the enemy in the direction of Stry, in the Carpathians, gained a footing on the heights of Arawzik.

The Russians counter-attacked, and recaptured the position, taking a number of prisoners.

They mined a German trench at Eastern Rozankaranz and took the position at the point of the bayonet. Many prisoners and guns were captured.

Perth, Wednesday.

Greek papers which have been received by the latest mail give some details of the reported naval disaster in the Dardanelles on March 18th, when the British battleships Irresistible, 15,000 tons, Ocean, 12,950 tons, and the French battleship Bouvet, 12,000 tons, were said to have been sunk by mines.

It appears from the Greek reports that when the ice began to melt in the Black Sea, at the beginning of spring, it caused a strong current in the Straits. Taking advantage of this, the Turks discharged a large number of torpedoes, which were carried by the current towards the Allies’ warships.

For some days afterwards the bodies of French and English sailors who lost their lives in the disaster were carried past the island of Zenedes by the current.

Greek women brought large quantities of flowers and threw them into the sea from the cliffs as the bodies were swept by.

(Two Australian chaplains returned from Egypt)

Perth, Wednesday.

On board the R.M.S. Mooltan, which arrived at Fremantle on Monday, were two military chaplains, who accompanied the Australian Expeditionary Force to Egypt.

During the course of an interview one of them stated that the Australians had had a somewhat trying time during the last few weeks of their stay in Egypt. The weather, when the Expeditionary Force arrived, was all that could be desired, but towards the end sandstorms and heat made things very unpleasant.

“I am sure,” he added, “that the sands of Egypt contain all the filth of the Pharaohs. One day the sand completely blotted out the sun, and after the sand came a plague of locusts which were even worse than the sand. I might add that our hoys are doing splendidly, and that all that talk about misbehaviour has been greatly exaggerated.”

Melbourne, Wednesday.

A bill to amend the War Precautions Act was read a first time, on the motion of Senator Pearce, the Minister for Defence, in the Senate today.

Power is given to the Governor-General to make regulations for securing the public safety and defence of the Commonwealth, and for conferring such power as he thinks fit upon Naval and Military Boards, and to make regulations to authorise the trial by court martial, and punishment of persons committing offences against the regulations.

The Minister is given power to require that the whole or any part of the output of any factory or workshop in which arms, ammunition, or warlike stores, or equipment are manufactured, shall be placed at his disposal, and if necessary, take possession of such factory.

In case of a court martial being held, a person may be proceeded against, and dealt with as if he were a person subject to military law, and had on active service committed an offense under section 5 of the Army Act, provided that when the offence is committed with the intention of assisting the enemy the person convicted by a court martial shall be liable to suffer death. A court martial, or court of summary jurisdiction may be authorised in addition to other punishment to order the forfeiture of goods.

(From Embarkation Rolls)

Private Clifford Arnold Bailey, West Maitland, 18th Infantry Battalion, 1st Reinforcements

Private William Barrett, Pelaw Main, 17th Infantry Battalion, 1st Reinforcements

Private Andrew George, Stewarts Brook, 17th Infantry Battalion, 1st Reinforcements

Private George Gordon Haydon, Muswellbrook, 6th Australian Light Horse Regiment, 8th Reinforcements

Private William Francis Holloway, Waratah, 26th Infantry Battalion

Private George Lawrence Valentine Tarrant, Hamilton, 20th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Reinforcements

Private Harry Wills, Cessnock, 18th Infantry Battalion, 7th Reinforcements

NSW Waratahs ready to rumble in rolling maul against ACT Brumbies

The Waratahs were long overdue to show how their rolling maul can be a scoring weapon against the Rebels in Sydney last Saturday, but at least they were not too late.
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The challenge for them now is to show what they can do with this added element of their attacking game, starting Friday in Canberra against the Brumbies, who are masters of the rolling maul. That the Brumbies scored three tries off rolling mauls against the Highlanders last Friday, with flanker David Pocock nabbing all three, speaks volumes of its impact to the Australian conference leaders.

But that Waratahs No. 7 Michael Hooper scored off a rolling maul from a line-out nine minutes into their 18-16 win over the Rebels will have boosted the Tahs’ confidence to match them in that tactic. Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan says having an effective rolling maul will broaden their options in attack.

And he is not alone in that thought, with his Waratahs teammates sharing that view this week. Asked if the rolling maul could become a centrepiece of Friday’s game in Canberra, a smiling Ryan said: “There will be a bit of that.”

Ryan, who last week re-signed with the Waratahs to the end of 2016, believes that with both sides boasting strong back lines, “both teams will be looking to lay a platform with their forwards”.

But he did not give too much away as to how the Waratahs planned play off that platform, saying, “If that means rolling maul and scrum, then that’s what that means. If that means big carries in the middle of the field, then that’s what that means.

“But both teams have really exciting outside backs … it makes for a better game across the whole park. And the forward play will certainly be a part of that. That will include mauling and scrumming and running and rucking, but it will also include the elusive stuff out wide, which our guys love. I am sure theirs do as well.”

However, on Monday Waratahs second-rower Mitchell Chapman flagged the rolling maul as key to a game that could see NSW move into first on the Australian conference ladder with a win.

Chapman recognises the Brumbies strength in the tactic saying, “We can’t afford to be letting them score two or three tries off a rolling maul – that’s the game done there.”

On the Tahs’ use of it against the Rebels, he said: “That was our first rolling maul try for as long as I can remember … it is something in attack we haven’t been great at. We’ve defended it reasonably well. But the Brumbies are really good and when we played [them] in the first round [in Sydney] that was something we really targeted of theirs. It will be crucial.”

Waratahs No.10 Bernard Foley said having an effective rolling maul opens up their back play.

“If we can be dominant in that area then teams are going to stick numbers there, or extra resources to stop that. That hopefully opens it up for somewhere else,” Foley said. “That’s just having that extra knife in the pocket where we can hurt sides … just something for them to look at so we can hopefully exploit them somewhere else.”

However, Foley respects how formidable the Brumbies rolling maul can be, too. “They have been probably competition leaders in that … matching the South African sides in how well they go in that set piece and the rolling mauls,” Foley said.

“That is the challenge for us this week – if we want to be in this competition for the rest of the season we have got to be able to stop teams there.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of ChangZhou Plastic Surgery Hospital.