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Massive fire at Visakhapatnam pharmaceutical factory: Boilers explode

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Several people were injured in an explosion at a chemical factory in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam on Monday night. Ramky CETP Solvents’s building in Pharma City blew up due to unknown reasons. Locals said they heard around a dozen explosions in the building.

The explosions were followed by a massive fire that was visible across the city. At least 12 fire tenders were deployed to douse the flames.

According to the deputy commissioner of police, there was no loss of life in the incident. As per the police officer, there were only four people present incident the industrial unit at the time of the incident. All four managed to run out of the facility safely before it was engulfed by fire.

The police official said that the fire started from the reactor and spread to other parts of the plant.

“Fire reported from Parwada in Vizag. Citizens need not worry, SHO Parwada, ACP and DCP on site along with firefighters. Visakhapatnam CP, RK Meena is personally monitoring the situation. Operation to douse the fire is on,” the state government said in a statement.

The incident has alarmed the locals who recently suffered the consequences of a blast in another chemical plant, which had left at least 14 dead and several others injured.

On May 7, a blast in LG Polymers plant in the city caused a massive gas leak which killed 14 people and sent several others to the emergency in the wee hours of the morning.

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UAE suspends visa-free travel agreement with Israel until July

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The United Arab Emirates has suspended an agreement to inaugurate visa-free travel for Israelis to the Gulf country until July 1, citing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said.

Until then, Israeli citizens seeking to travel to the UAE will need to obtain a visa, as will UAE citizens seeking to travel to Israel, the ministry said on Monday. The UAE has taken a similar step regarding travel from most European countries, as well as India and Pakistan, the Israeli ministry said.

Israel is in its third lockdown and discussing the possibility of extending it beyond Jan. 21 as the number of new cases remains high.

The UAE ratified the agreement on visa-free travel with Israel last week and it was set to go into effect 30 days from then. The agreement follows a normalization accord between the countries signed in September.

The announcement of the suspension comes a day after Israel’s cabinet voted to require all people returning from the UAE and Brazil to quarantine in government-run hotels. A similar decision made previously regarding travelers returning from South Africa and Zambia was extended for 10 days.

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Christian Group in India Documents 327 Incidents of Persecution in 2020

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India – According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), Indian Christians endured at least 327 incidents of persecution in 2020. This was despite the fact that most of India’s population lived under locked down conditions for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to EFI, 327 cases of persecution were documented in 2020. At least five Christians were murdered and six churches were burnt or demolished in religiously motivated attacks. In addition, EFI noted 26 incidents of social boycotts where Christian communities were shunned by their non-Christian neighbors due to their religious identity.

EFI’s report documents the continuation of an ongoing trend of growing religious intolerance and violence in India. Since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took political power in 2014, incidents of Christian persecution documented by EFI have more than doubled. In 2014, the year the BJP rose to political power, EFI recorded 147 violent attacks on Indian Christians. In 2019, after five years of BJP rule, EFI recorded 366 violent attacks.

The incidents documented by EFI likely represent only a portion of the violence experienced by India’s Christian community. Most incidents go unreported due to fear of reprisal and lack of confidence in India’s justice system.
Sources:persecution

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