Indian > Chinese > Koreans

As per the Department of Homeland Security (USA) the 2011-2012 figures for resident (more than 183 days in an year) non-immigrants (excludes green card holders) rank-wise below.

Sifting through the data there appear to be three distinct categories: 
(A) Temps from Mexico, India, Canada, UK…all anglophone countries except for Mexico;
(B) Saudi, China, Korea…only here for education, will return home to take advantage of excellent job prospects;
(C) Germany, France…exchange scholars coming to visit and experience America.

We are not sure if this observation is tied up in any manner with the above data, but Category (A) people (and their home nations) tend to be pro-America, the others, not so much.

The report reveals that the resident non-immigrant
population in the US averaged 1.87 million during July 1, 2011–June 30,
2012. Temporary workers and their families accounted for approximately
45% (840,000) of the population, and students and their families
accounted for another 40% (720,000).
 

.
Of the temporary worker and family
category, 38% (430,000) were from India, compared to 210,000 from China, and 140,000 from South Korea,
the next highest
worker-flow countries. Mexico, which accounts for a large number of
illegal migratory workers coming into US, had only 100,000 resident
non-immigrants.

.
Of the 720,000 foreign students recorded by the
Department of Homeland Security in 2012, China accounted for 150,000
(22%), India 100,000 (14%) and South Korea 100,000 (13%), the report
said.
  

.
Overall, about half the resident non-immigrants (980,000) were
citizens of Asian countries, including India 23%, China 11%, and South
Korea 8%.

The report
also showed that California was the leading destination state, with
270,000 (15%) of the total 1.9 million non-immigrants choosing to reside
in that state. The next leading destination states were New York
(210,000), Texas (140,000), Florida (100,000), and Massachusetts
(90,000). 


.
Europe and North America comprised another 26 per cent, led by Canada (six per cent) and Mexico (five per cent).

According
to the report, temporary workers made up much larger portions of the
non-immigrant populations from Mexico (78 per cent), India (74 per
cent), Canada (67 per cent) and the United Kingdom (65 per cent) than
from all countries combined (45 per cent).

Non-immigrants from Saudi Arabia, China and Korea were more likely to be in the US on student visas, the report said.

More
than 90 per cent of resident non-immigrants with Saudi Arabian
citizenship were students, as were 73 per cent of Chinese and 67 per
cent of South Koreans.

In comparison, only 38 per cent of resident non-immigrant citizens of all countries were students.

Among
the top 10 leading countries of citizenship, Germany and France led the
exchange visitor category, making up more than 60 per cent of the
total, the report said.


….
Link: http://www.ndtv.com/article/diaspora/over-one-third-of-temporary-workers-in-us-from-india-report-509201

….
regards

0

Affidavit written in blood

“I did not kill Arnav. I did not murder Arnav. I did
not drown or smother Arnav. I did not poison Arnav. I did not fail to
render aid to Arnav at any time … Most importantly, I loved Arnav with
all of my heart and never would hurt him in any way, and I miss him
very much.”

We are not medical experts by any means of the imagination but to sit at home with a dead baby covered in ice for four days is not indicative of a normal state of mind. 

The poor husband will be having nightmares for the rest of his life- the truth may never be known- and this being Texas the lady is likely to face the hangman before soon.
…..
An
Indian-American woman in north Texas, accused of killing her son and
leaving his body in the bathtub for four days, claims she did so in
accordance with her Hindu beliefs.

Pallavi Dhawan, 38, who is
charged with first-degree murder in the death of her 10-year-old son,
Arnav, almost three months ago, describes the events in a sworn
affidavit sent to police through her lawyer, David Finn.

In the
affidavit published by Dallas Observer, Dhawan said when she tried to
wake her son for school on January 29, he was cold and unresponsive.

She said at first she thought her son was faking being asleep to get
out of going to school, but when she picked him up to carry him to take a
bath, she realized he was dead.

After checking Arnav’s pulse and heartbeat and trying to perform CPR, Dhawan said she went into a state of shock.

In March, a medical examiner said Arnav’s cause of death could not be
determined, but Finn said the results trend “very, very heavily towards
natural causes”, according to CBS News.

The family said the boy had pre-existing medical conditions.

In the affidavit, Dhawan says, “I proceeded to give [Arnav] his
deceased bath according to Hindu customs, dressed him in his favourite
clothes and kept his favourite toy next to him and I later put his head
on his favourite pillow along with his favourite blanket.”

Because her husband, Sumeet Dhawan, was out of town on business, Pallavi
said she followed their cultural rituals to the best of her ability
while waiting for him to return.
….

Link: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/affidavit-mom-kept-dead-son-10-on-ice-for-hindu-ritual/

……
regards

0

Dr Mattu (hero) vs. NHS (bully)

In India when a small fry dares to raise his voice against the big fish then it is customary for the Davids  to file a number of false cases. The poor guy will never see life outside prison again.  

It is shocking to see that the West has developed a taste for this foul play (or perhaps we only learned it from them?) and it is a relief to know that the still robust UK justice system was able to rescue an Indian whistle-blower from the depths of (job-less) hell.

The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is highly reliant on doctors and nurses from South Asia (and the other ex-colonies), this case shows how brown folks now possess the requisite confidence to rise against an unjust system (but also sometimes to commit injustices as well). 

Ultimately however the ruling(s) taken all together (see below) seem to us to be a royal mess. The hospital trust was not responsible for over-crowding. However the whistle-blower was credited for bringing media publicity to the overcrowding problem. So did the patients die from negligence or not? It seems no one is interested in probing that question. Case dismissed for good (not good).


An
Indian-origin heart surgeon in the UK was unfairly sacked after he
raised concerns about patient safety, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Dr Raj Mattu was dismissed by University Hospital of Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust in 2010. In 2001, he had exposed the cases of two patients who had died in crowded bays at Walsgrave Hospital in Coventry. 54-year-old Mattu said he was “absolutely relieved” at the ruling. The
trust said it was disappointed and would examine the ruling for grounds
to appeal. 

Mattu was first suspended over allegations that he
bullied a junior doctor.
He was allowed to return to work but only after
re-training — which he never completed. In 2009, General Medical Council cleared Mattu of the bullying allegations, yet he was sacked by the hospital trust.

Employment judge Pauline Hughes ruled the consultant “did not cause or
contribute to his dismissal” and had been subjected to “many detriments”
by the trust for being a whistleblower. His allegations had been “serious” and “attracted a great deal of media coverage and public interest”, she said. She also ruled that the surgeon had been treated “unfavorably” by the
trust as a result of a disability. 
.
.
But she dismissed Mattu’s claims of
racial discrimination.

During the tribunal, Mattu said his concerns about overcrowding in wards
had been ignored. He claimed a policy of allocating five patients to
four-bed bays in 1999 had prevented vital equipment being used to save
the life of a 35-year-old man. The specialist decided to “go
public” in September 2001, after a hospital manager appeared in TV news
reports insisting that lives had not been lost because of overcrowding.
An NHS review in 2004 cleared the hospital trust of responsibility for any deaths in relation to overcrowding.
…..
Link: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/apr/17/legal-victory-heart-doctor-whistleblower-hospital-safety-fears
…..
regards

0

(God like) humans replace (Toyota) robots

It is a desperate last moment fight against the inevitable but one has to give credit to the Japanese for laying down the gauntlet. More power to Mitusuru-san and his merry band of mechanics masters at Toyota.
……
Inside Toyota Motor Corp.’s
oldest plant, there’s a corner where humans have taken over from robots
in thwacking glowing lumps of metal into crankshafts. This is Mitsuru
Kawai’s vision of the future.


“When I was a novice,
experienced masters used to be called gods, and they could make
anything.”


These gods, or Kami-sama in Japanese, are making a comeback at Toyota,
the company that long set the pace for manufacturing prowess in the
auto industry and beyond. Toyota’s next step forward is
counter-intuitive in an age of automation: Humans are taking the place
of machines in plants across Japan so workers can develop new skills and
figure out ways to improve production lines and the car-building
process.


 
The
return of the Kami-sama is emblematic of how Toyoda, 57, is remaking
the company founded by his grandfather as the CEO has pledged to tilt
priorities back toward quality and efficiency
from a growth mentality.
He’s reining in expansion at the world’s-largest automaker with a
three-year freeze on new car plants.

 
The
importance of following through on that push has been underscored by the
millions of cars General Motors Co. has recalled for faulty ignition
switches linked to 13 deaths.

The effort comes as
Toyota overhauls vehicle development, where the world’s largest carmaker
will shift to manufacturing platforms that could cut costs by 30 percent. It also underscores Toyota’s commitment to maintain annual production of 3 million vehicles in Japan.

 
Learning
how to make car parts from scratch gives younger workers insights they
otherwise wouldn’t get from picking parts from bins and conveyor belts,
or pressing buttons on machines. At about 100 manual-intensive
workspaces introduced over the last three years across Toyota’s
factories in Japan, these lessons can then be applied to reprogram
machines to cut down on waste and improve processes, Kawai said.

In
an area Kawai directly supervises at the forging division of Toyota’s
Honsha plant, workers twist, turn and hammer metal into crankshafts
instead of using the typically automated process. 

Experiences there have
led to innovations in reducing levels of scrap and shortening the
production line 96 percent from its length three years ago.

Toyota
has eliminated about 10 percent of material-related waste from building
crankshafts at Honsha. Kawai said the aim is to apply those savings to
the next-generation Prius hybrid.

 
The
work extends beyond crankshafts. Kawai credits manual labor for helping
workers at Honsha improve production of axle beams and cut the costs of
making chassis parts.

Though Kawai doesn’t envision the day his
employer will rid itself of robots — 760 of them take part in 96
percent of the production process at its Motomachi plant in Japan — he
has introduced multiple lines dedicated to manual labor in each of Toyota’s factories in its home country, he said.

 
“We
cannot simply depend on the machines that only repeat the same task
over and over again,” Kawai said. “To be the master of the machine, you
have to have the knowledge and the skills to teach the machine.”

……
Link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-06/humans-replacing-robots-herald-toyota-s-vision-of-future.html
…..
regards

0

Kargil War: mother of GPS

Necessity as they say, is the mother of invention.

It is a popular staple in the Guardian (and elsewhere in the lefty press) that India cant afford to feed its children, yet boasts of a space (and other high budget) programs. It is tricky question that merits a multi-point response.

We are on-record being ambivalent about defense purchases (and the
fact that India is the largest arms purchaser in the world). India spends
way too much (to protect against Pakistan) and way too little (to
counter China).
When push comes to shove, even miniscule Maldives
manages to shove India away. The military seems to have its most useful public face while helping out in natural disasters. Why not then have a self-defense force plus nuclear weapons to help secure the borders?

As
far as the space program is concerned the utility is without question.
It is a profit making program and it gives us access to space in a way
even our friendly friends would not provide to us. The striving for self-sufficiency (a long time goal of people across the ideological spectrum) can be seen to be a fetish (and a
hang-over in response to our colonial past) but in this case it is fully warranted.

When
Pakistani troops took positions in Kargil in 1999, one of the first
things Indian military sought was GPS data for the region. The
space-based navigation system maintained by the US government would have
provided vital information, but the US denied it to India. A need for
an indigenous satellite navigation system was felt earlier, but the
Kargil experience made the nation realize its inevitability.

On
Friday, the Indian Space Research Organisation took the nation closer
to the goal, which it would achieve in less than two years. The result,
the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) will be as good
as any such space-based system, as India can keep a close watch of not
just its boundaries, but up to 1,500km beyond that. It works on a
combination of seven satellites which would ‘look’ at the region from
different angles, and, in the process, helps calculate from relative
data, real-time movement of objects by as less as 10m.

Isro
launched the first of the satellites in the group, IRNSS-1A, in July
last. “By mid-2015,” said Isro chairman K Radhakrishnan, “we will have
all the seven in place.” The system will be functional by the beginning
of 2016. Basic navigational services wouldn’t have to wait that
long—they can take off with just four satellites in orbit, which will be
this year. “When we have four satellites by the end of this year, we
will have an operational system and then we can go and test its accuracy
to validate it,” said K Radhakrishnan.

Three of the seven
satellites will be in geostationary orbits and the other four in
inclined geosynchronous orbits. From ground, the three geostationary
satellites will appear at a fixed point in the sky. However, the four
geosynchronous satellites moving in inclined orbits in pairs will appear
to move in the figure of ‘8’ when ‘seen’ from ground. Apart from
navigation, the system will help in precise time keeping, disaster
management, fleet management and mapping.

The first is called Standard
Positioning Service (SPS) which is for civilian use.
This will have an
accuracy of 20m, while the second is called Restricted Services (RS),
which can detect movement of objects by less than 10m.

It will put India in the company of select nations which have their own
positioning systems. While the US operates the Global Positioning
System (GPS), Russia has its own GLONASS and European Union, Galileo.
China is also in the process of building Beidou Navigation Satellite
System (BDS).

….
 Link: http://www.defencenews.in/defence-news-internal.aspx?id=3vfvyJ2/5Ls=
….
regards

0

Tech-savvy Santa(s) bearing rich gifts (votes)

This is India after all…the wonder-land of the IT Parks…what else can one expect??
We now know why so many information-gurus have committed their precious time for this election. Their impeccable qualifications and sense of public service aside, it was also in the national interest to make sure that the Indian National Congress is pre-programmed to win.

Hats off to those (poor, illiterate,
low-information) fly-over-coastal voters who noticed that
their rights as citizens have been infringed and found the courage to protest.
Bravo!!!

Filed in the bitter-sweet news-bin for the intellectual class and the international press
….

Sindhudurg (Maharashtra), April 17 (IANS) A
malfunctioning electronic voting machine (EVM) reportedly “transferred”
all votes cast to the Congress candidate in Sindhudurg district here, in
the second incident of its kind Thursday.



 
The incident came to light when voters in Padve-mazagaon village
complained that when they pressed their chosen candidate’s button, only
the Congress light blinked.



 
Angry voters boycotted the elections for nearly three hours before
frantic election officials ordered a replacement EVM and resumed voting
around 1 p.m.



 
At least 68 voters claimed that their vote may have been wrongly
credited to Congress candidate Nilesh Rane contesting from the
Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg constituency in the Konkan region.



 
A similar incident happened at a polling booth in Pune city when
voters found that whichever button was pressed on the EVM, only the
Congress light blinked.



 
Alert voters brought this to the notice of the election officials, who immediately stopped voting.

Voting resumed after a delay of nearly 90 minutes after a new EVM was acquired.


 
The Election Commission also permitted around 28 voters who had
already cast their votes in the malfunctioning EVM to vote afresh.



 
Political activists of all parties have demanded an extension of
voting hours by three hours in Sindhudurg and 90 minutes in Pune to
compensate for the time lost due to the defective EVMs.

….
Link: https://in.news.yahoo.com/defective-evms-transfer-votes-congress-maharashtra-101804553.html
…..
regards

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Jamia Hafsa (Lal Masjid) builds a new shrine

We all need heroes…even if they are shipped in from foreign shores. 
Also it is an incontrovertible fact that one man’s terrorist is another (wo)man’s freedom fighter. 

Finally when a legend is born, it is not possible to kill it by getting rid of a mere man, that golden voice will continue to speak (and command) from beyond the grave and it will be resounding deep in our (faithful) hearts.

Jamia Hafsa, a religious school for women in the Pakistani
capital Islamabad connected to the notorious Lal Masjid
has renamed its
library in honour of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The
seminary is run by controversial hardline cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz,
the imam of the city’s Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), once infamous as a
hideout for hardliners with alleged militant links.

Now the Jamia Hafsa seminary connected to it has
named its small library, stocking Islamic texts, in honour of bin Laden,
who masterminded the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

“It is
true that we have named the library after Osama bin Laden,” a source
told AFP Thursday, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He might be a terrorist for others but we do not consider him as a terrorist. For us he was a hero of Islam.”

A small printed sign stuck over the library door gives bin Laden’s name and refers to him as a “martyr.”
….
Link: http://www.dawn.com/news/1100526/lal-masjid-names-library-after-osama-bin-laden
….
regards

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“Dad, don’t worry. I’ve got a life vest on…”

Even though it is really morbid, we have to admit that we laughed at that one. The fibs that our children tell us, in this case so that poor dad does not get to know how terrified his daughter actually is, texting while drowning in a dark boat, with mindless chaos all around you, and the bitter cold ocean as your last memories on earth.  

Of course the subterfuge is of no use, we (as parents) would already be dead with worry and frozen with fear… and we would know that the kids are lying…and we will be forever grateful for those last words (texts).

The night-flares lighting up the sinking ship will remain one of the most beautiful/sad scenes that
we will experience (even if vicariously) over our lifetime.


It has of course happened before, for example with the last (Let’s Roll) 9/11 plane.
The people on the ground new in advance (via mobile) that their loved
ones were doomed…and there was nothing that they can do. Even
exchanging seats would not be an option.

The first prize should always be reserved (in our opinion) for the Beslan massacre which took place in North Ossetia (01 September, 2004). The Chechen/Ingush terrorists had cornered 1100 people including 777 children. Some
parents were given permission to leave with their (very small in age)
kids. It was well understood that the older kids would perish (as they
eventually did). There
was a mother with two daughters who had to leave one daughter behind.
The last thing the mother remembers is her (elder) daughter crying and
pleading with her.

….
“Dad, don’t worry. I’ve got a life vest on and we’re huddled together,”
one 18-year-old student, identified only by her last name, Shin, texted
her father, according to MBC News, a Korean news station.


The father replied: “I know the rescue is underway but make your way out if you can.”

“Dad, I can’t walk out,” she replied. “The corridor is full of kids, and it’s too tilted.”

The student was among the 287 still reported missing.

A boy texted his mother, who was unaware at the time that the ferry was in distress.

“Mom, I might not be able to tell you in person. I love you,” the student texted, according to MBC.

“Me too, son. I love you,” the mother texted back, followed with three heart symbols.

Fortunately, that student was among the 179 people who have been rescued, MBC reported. 

A student texted his older brother as the ship ran into trouble. “The ship ran into something and it’s not moving. They say the coast guard just arrived.”

Brother: “Don’t panic. Just do what you are told to do and then you will be fine”.

But there was no further communication after that.

….
Another question on which we remain confused and will perhaps always be: Is it heroism or foolish courage to value everybody’s life above yours?


One crew member, named as 22-year-old Park Ji-Young, is said
to have lost her life while struggling to make sure passengers on the
upper floors of the ferry wore life jackets and found their way out.

“I repeatedly asked her why she did not first wear a life
jacket. Park just said she would get out of the ship after making sure
that all passengers were out,” a survivor told local media.


“Park pushed shocked passengers toward the exit even when the water was up to her chest.”

The Korea Herald reports that
she joined the ferry company in 2012 to earn money to support her
family. When her body arrived at hospital, the paper reports, her mother
cried: “I can’t believe you left us”

….
Link (1): http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/south-korea-ferry-survivors-recall-being-told-to-stay-on-ship-the-ones-who-stayed-are-trapped-9265314.html

Link(2): http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27045924

regards

0

17/7 Rajputs for 24/7 defense (against China)

The 17/7 Rajput regiment is in charge of guarding the North-Eastern (India) borders aka “undisclosed high-altitude location under Eastern Command”

Most of us are not really familiar with the (Indian) military and its ways. For example, is a Rajput regiment composed of only Rajputs (khatris)? Look deep and ye shall find. 

The “barhe chalo” regiment was raised during the WWII by Field Marshall Cariappa and fought in the North-Eastern Frontier (Kohima, Nagaland on the Indo-Burma border) against the mighty battalions of the Japanese Imperial Army. They will now be prepared to defend the north-east frontier once more, this time against the mighty battalions of the People’s Liberation Army.
….
“Among all
battalions of the Rajput Regiment, 17 Rajput has a unique place in present day
history of the Indian Army. It was raised during the period of Quit India
Movement in 1942. It was also among 10 other Rajput Battalions that were raised
following outbreak of World War-II from 1940 to 1943.”


In so far as its historical significance is concerned, 17/7 Rajput as it was
then known, was the only ‘War Raising’ battalion by any Indian officer who was
none other than Lt col KM Cariappa, OBE, popularly called ‘Kipper’ who went on
to become the first Indian commander-in-chief and later the chief of army
staff. He was also conferred the highest rank of field marshal on April 28,
1986.


 

17/7 Rajput was raised at Fatehgarh on April 15, 1942 as the Machine Gun Battalion
of the erstwhile 7th Rajput Regiment.
A distinctive colour of maroon and blue
was adopted for the new outfit. On August 1, 1942, the battalion was converted
into a Regiment of Indian Armoured Corps (IAC) and designated 52nd Rajput
Regiment IAC (Bawanja Risala) and moved to Lahore.



 
On September 15, 1942, the battalion was converted into a ‘Lorried Battalion’
and moved to Secunderabad to form part of 268th Lorried Brigade. On March 16,
1943, Kipper was transferred and succeeded by Lt Col G.B. Macnamara. In May
1944, 17/7 Rajput moved to Kohima and later deployed at Imphal.



 
Informed readers may know that Rajput Regiment is one among the senior most
regiments of our country. It must therefore, logically, rank higher in the
hierarchy of the nomenclatures. Then why the seventh standing? Evidently, Maj Gen Parr, who had commanded the 7th Rajput in Mesopotamia during
world war-I desired that the Regiment to which his battalion belonged be named
7th Rajput Regiment.
The suffix ‘7’ was adopted and remained so for all
battalions of the Rajput Regiment between 1920 till Independence, where after
it was dropped altogether.


 

In the redesignations that followed, Barhe Chalo became 17th Battalion of the
Rajput regiment on May 1, 1948. Later when its founding father, Lt Gen KM
Cariappa became Army Chief on January 15, 1950 (commemorated as Army Day), an
honour was bestowed on the battalion. The distinct maroon and royal blue hackle
of the unit was now adopted by all Rajput Regiment battalions. 

In 1965, Barhe
Chalo participated in Op Riddle as part of 7th Infantry Division, where it
successfully executed its task of capturing Bedian bridge. The unit also
participated in Op Cactus Lily in 1971 as part of 86 Infantry Brigade in Dera
Baba Nanak sector, where it captured Khokherke and Sadhuwan posts of enemy and
provided a firm base for Op Akal. The unit was also successful in capturing a
crucial enemy post for which Capt Nawal Singh Rajawat and Late Sep Satyawan
Singh were awarded VrC.



 
In 1982, the battalion underwent a change in class composition and reorganised
to include Rajputs, Gujjars, Brahmins, Bengalis, Jats, Ahirs and Muslims in
equal percentage composition.

The battalion was also the first unit of Rajput Regiment to be inducted in
Siachen Glacier in 1991. The unit had a successful tenure without having a
single fatal casualty, which indeed is a unique achievement.


 

Among the wars and major operations that Barhe Chalo participated include world
war-II, between May to August 1944, Indo-Pak War of 1965 between September 1965
to February 1966 and Indo-Pak War 1971, from October to December 1971. Among
the various military operations include Operatons Orchid, Rhino, Vijay, Rakshak
and Parakram.


 

Glory to the Barhe Chalo has been brought through its gallant officers and
soldiers through 2 Military Cross, an OBE and PVSM each, 7 Kirti Chakras, an
AVSM, 4 Shaurya Chakras, 3 Vir Chakras, 12 Sena Medals, 3 VSM, 6
Mention-in-Despatches, 38 COAS, 7 VCOAS and 33 GOC-in-C Commendation Cards
including several other gallantry certificates.


 

The battalion is presently serving at an undisclosed high altitude location
standing vigil under Eastern Command. The Barhe Chalo battalion is presently
being commanded by Colonel Balbir Singh Siwach, a second-generation army
officer, commissioned in December 1990.


regards

0

283 children lost at sea (South Korea)

Updated missing count: 287. This is horrible!!! SoKo is (almost) a developed country. Disasters of this magnitude are expected only when Rohingyas escape on leaky katamarans to Malaysia.

It is an unimaginable loss for the parents whose children were out on a pleasure trip. Hopefully more people will be rescued, however chances are much reduced after a few hours (water temp is only 12C).
….
A
ferry carrying 462 people, mostly high school students on an overnight
trip to a tourist island, sank off South Korea’s southern coast on
Wednesday, leaving more than 280 people missing despite a frantic,
hours-long rescue by dozens of ships and helicopters. At least four
people were confirmed dead and 55 injured.

The high number of
people unaccounted for — likely trapped in the ship or floating in the
ocean — raised fears that the death toll could rise drastically, making
it one of South Korea’s biggest ferry disasters since 1993, when 292
people died.



Local television stations broadcast live
pictures of the ship, Sewol, listing to its side and slowly sinking as
passengers jumped out or were winched up by helicopters. At least 87
vessels and 18 aircraft swarmed around the stricken ship. Rescuers
clambered over its sides, pulling out passengers wearing orange life
jackets. But the ship overturned completely and continued to sink
slowly. Within a few hours only its blue-and-white bow stuck out of the
water.

The ship had
set off from Incheon, a city in South Korea’s northwest and the site of
the country’s main international airport, on Tuesday night for an
overnight, 14-hour journey to the tourist island of Jeju.

Three
hours from its destination, the ferry sent a distress call at about 9am
on Wednesday after it began listing to one side, according to the
ministry of security and public administration. Officials didn’t know
what caused it to sink and said the focus was still on rescuing
survivors.

Lee Gyeong-og, a vice-minister for South Korea’s
Public Administration and Security Ministry, said 30 crew members, 325
high school students, 15 school teachers and 89 non-student passengers
were aboard the ship.

The water temperature in the area was
about 12 degrees Celsius (54 Fahrenheit), cold enough to cause signs of
hypothermia after about few hours of exposure, according to an emergency
official who spoke on condition of anonymity citing department rules.
Lee, the vice minister, said the ocean is 37-metre (121 feet) deep in
the area.

The students — about half of them boys and half girls— are from Danwon
High School in Ansan city, which is near Seoul, and were on their way to
Jeju island for a four-day trip, according to a relief team set up by
Gyeonggi province, which governs the city.

….

regards

0