Steppe one – Sadyr Japarov is elected president of Kyrgyzstan in a landslide | Asia


Opponents have labelled him a dangerous demagogue


A CAMPAIGN ad for Sadyr Japarov, the newly elected president of Kyrgyzstan, shows him galloping across a snowy expanse on a white steed, coattails flying in the slipstream. The message is clear: Mr Japarov is a knight in shining armour (or at least in traditional Kyrgyz garb, which he wore on the campaign trail), racing to save the turbulent Central Asian nation, which has seen three popular uprisings in 15 years, including one this past autumn that put him on the path to power.

“I’m not going to repeat the mistakes of previous administrations,” vowed Mr Japarov in an interview in his campaign headquarters at midnight on election day, January 10th. Preliminary results showed him storming to victory with 79% of the vote, albeit on a turnout of 40%. It was venality and injustice that had caused past leaders to be overthrown, he said. “Why repeat those mistakes? I’m going to rule fairly.”

Yet Mr Japarov was an eager participant in one of those discredited governments, toppled in 2010. Moreover, his recent rise involved all manner of legal and constitutional contortions. He was serving a prison sentence for kidnapping—a conviction he says was politically motivated—when protests first broke out over a tainted election presided over by his predecessor, Sooronbay Jeyenbekov, in October. A mob freed him, and helped propel him first to the prime ministership and then to the job of acting president, when Mr Jeyenbekov resigned. (An ally briefly took over that role while Mr Japarov campaigned, to comply with the constitution.)

“Ordinary people, especially young people, believe in me. They trust their fates and the fate of the country to me,” said a visibly exhausted Mr Japarov, sipping a glass of tea as euphoric campaign staff bustled about. His fondness for invoking “the people”, his careful cultivation of a mass following through social media, and the thuggishness of some of his devotees have drawn comparisons with Donald Trump, which he rejects with a good-natured laugh. “I don’t consider myself a populist. I hate populists,” says Mr Japarov, one of whose slogans is “the people’s choice”.

“He’s good, honest and just. He’s suffered for the country and the people,” gushes Elzad Junusov, an enthusiastic supporter. “He really is a man of the people,” Mr Junusov added, whipping out his phone to show photos of himself visiting Mr Japarov in prison. Mr Junusov says he has been a fan since Mr Japarov led a rabble-rousing campaign for the nationalisation of a Canadian-run gold mine nine years ago. Although that movement brought Mr Japarov to national prominence, he has backtracked on the idea since coming to power.

To his critics, the new president is a dangerous demagogue, likely to roll back the hard-won political freedoms that make Kyrgyzstan stand out in a region of autocrats. The use of force in politics is “very alarming”, says Maksat Janibekov, a 30-year-old resident of Bishkek, the capital, referring to the mobs that have helped persuade many of Mr Japarov’s rivals to stand aside. Mr Janibekov was among protesters marching on election day against Mr Japarov’s plans to strengthen the authority of the president. In a referendum held alongside the election, 81% of voters approved his proposal to shift various powers back from parliament to the president, undoing changes adopted after the revolution in 2010 to prevent a return to the rule of strongmen. Mr Japarov also intends to scrap the clause in the constitution limiting the president to a single term, another safeguard against power-hungry leaders.

Mr Japarov shrugs off suggestions that he is a dictator-in-waiting: “I’m a democratic person.” In his victory speech he sounded a conciliatory note, saying he had “no malice or hatred in his heart” and urging rivals to unite behind him. More ominously, he also declared: “The minority should submit to the majority.”

Mr Japarov will need all the consensus he can muster if he is to make a success of the job. The pandemic has prompted a surge in unemployment. Foreign investors are spooked by mob attacks on businesses during the unrest in October. Russia and China, the dominant powers in the region, are also upset about the tumult. Organised crime and corruption are blights that he insists he will fight, but that others accuse him of complicity with—a claim he dismisses as a political smear. It will take a couple of years to fulfil his promise of better lives for his long-suffering people, Mr Japarov warns. With two of his predecessors in exile and another languishing in jail, the stakes are high.

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Dog found alive in rubble six days after deadly Norway landslide | World News


A dog has been found alive in the rubble of a deadly landslide in Norway, boosting hopes among rescuers who are still searching for missing people.

The landslide, which carried away homes in the Norwegian village of Ask, took place on 30 December.

Seven people have died, and three others remain missing.

The dog was found by rescuers late Monday and was “in good condition”, police spokesperson Ivar Myrboe said.

Rescuer Goeran Syversen said: “It is a joy for us and gives motivation to further work hard.”

Search efforts continue in the village, 16 miles northeast of Oslo, with dogs going beneath the rubble in below-freezing temperatures to try to find those still missing.

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Several missing after Norway landslide

Helicopters and drones with heat-detecting technology are also being used.

It is thought to be the worst landslide in modern Norwegian history – destroying around nine buildings containing more than 30 apartments.

At least 1,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

Norway
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Three people are still missing in the village

The exact cause of the landslide is unknown – but experts believe that quick clay which surrounds the area – which can change from solid to liquid – combined with winter weather may have been contributing factors.

Buildings have been left hanging on the edge of a 2,300ft-long deep ravine caused by the landslide.

In 2005 Norwegian authorities advised against construction companies building in the area, warning it was a “high-risk zone” for landslides – but houses were eventually built some years later.

Norwegian police have said they will not scale back the search, despite one rescue team from Sweden having already returned home.

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Hope fades in Norway landslide that left 7 dead; 3 missing


Norwegian officials are insisting that there’s “still hope” of finding survivors in air pockets five days after a landslide killed at least seven people as it carried away homes in a village near the capital

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norwegian officials insisted Monday that there was “still hope” in finding survivors in air pockets five days after a landslide killed at least seven people as it carried away homes in a village north of the capital. Three people are still missing.

Police spokesman Roger Pettersen said search efforts in the landslide-hit village of Ask, 25 kilometers (16 miles) northeast of Oslo, are still considered “a rescue operation.” But only bodies have been found in the last few days.

The region’s below-freezing temperatures are “working against us, but we have been very clear in our advice to the (rescuers) that as long as there are cavities where the missing may have stayed, it is possible to survive,” said Dr. Halvard Stave, who taking part in the rescue operation.

Search teams patrolled with dogs as helicopters and drones with heat-detecting cameras flew amid harsh winter conditions over the ravaged hillside in Ask, a village of 5,000 that was hit by the worst landslide in modern Norwegian history. At least 1,000 people were evacuated.

The early Wednesday landslide cut across a road through Ask, leaving a deep, crater-like ravine. Photos and videos showed buildings hanging on the edge of the ravine, which grew to be 700 meters (2,300 feet) long and 300 meters (1,000 feet) wide. At least nine buildings with over 30 apartments were destroyed.

The limited number of daylight hours in Norway at this time of year and fears of further erosion have hampered rescue operations. The ground is fragile at the site and unable to hold the weight of rescue equipment.

The exact cause of the accident is not yet known but the Gjerdrum municipality, where Ask is located, is known for having a lot of quick clay, a material that can change from solid to liquid form. Experts said the type of clay, combined with excessive precipitation and the damp weather typical for Norway at this time of year, may have contributed to the landslide.

“This is completely terrible,” said King Harald V after Norwegian royals visited the landslide site on Sunday.



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Norway landslide rescue teams find no signs of life in wreckage as drone shows extent of damage


Rescue teams searching for survivors days after a landslide carried away homes in a Norwegian village have found no signs of life amid the ruined buildings and debris.

Six bodies have now been found in the search, police said.

Four bodies were discovered on Friday and Saturday, and another two on Sunday.

Ground search teams with dogs are being aided by helicopters and drones with heat-detecting cameras on the ravaged hillside in the village of Ask, 25 kilometres north-east of the capital, Oslo.

Six bodies have been found in the search, authorities say.(NTB via AP: Jil Yngland)

At least 1,000 people have been evacuated and more may have to leave.

The landslide is the worst in modern Norwegian history and has gripped the Nordic nation of 5.4 million.

The missing people were from homes in the innermost area of the landslide, but it was not clear whether they had been trapped in their houses, were away at the time or had managed to escape, police said on the weekend.

Southern Norway has seen large amounts of rain in recent days, which may have caused the soil in the area to shift, broadcaster NRK reported.

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The landslide swept away a cluster of buildings.

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Landslide on the Benambra-Corryong Road requires State Emergency Service assistance | The Border Mail


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ANOTHER major landslide has taken place in the Upper Murray. Corryong State Emergency Service Unit members attended the latest landslide on the Benambra-Corryong Road at the weekend. It took place about 75km from Corryong in an area which suffered damage in last summer’s bushfires. IN OTHER NEWS “The landslide caused water to run down the road and subsequently eroded the culvert away,” the Corryong SES Unit Facebook page said. “We made (the area) safe and handed over to VicRoads contractors when they arrived. Albury and Tallangatta recorded 20 millimetres of rain in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday. Late yesterday, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning including the possibility of large hailstones and heavy rainfall for the North East and East Gippsland forecast districts. It includes the Upper Murray along with Wodonga, Wangaratta, Orbost, Buchan and Mallacoota.

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Fifth body found in Norway landslide, five still missing


Rescue workers have recovered a fifth body and are continuing to search for another five people still missing days after a landslide buried homes near Norway’s capital, authorities said.

King Harald was due Sunday to visit the village of Ask, 25 kilometres northeast of Oslo, where an intense search and rescue operation has been underway since disaster struck in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

“Just before 6am a deceased person was found,” a police statement said.

The discovery of a fourth body had been made Saturday after three were recovered the day before at the bleak, snow-covered scene at Ask, in Gjerdrum municipality.

Police on Saturday identified the body of the first person found on Friday as 31-year-old Eirik Grønolen.

The identities of the four other dead have not been released.

A major landslide destroyed homes n the village of Ask in Norway, close to the capital Oslo.

AFP

On Friday they released a list of the names of 10 people unaccounted for: eight adults, a two-year-old and a 13-year-old child.

Police have also said 10 people were injured in the landslide, including one seriously who was transferred to Oslo for treatment shortly after the disaster.

As a whole hillside collapsed, homes were buried under mud, others cut in two and some houses left teetering over a crater caused by the mudslide, with several subsequently falling over the edge.

The landslide destroyed several houses and shifted others hundreds of metres.

Earlier on Saturday, local police chief Ida Melbo Oystese said authorities hoped some people might have survived thanks to pockets of air inside partially intact buildings.

‘Work through the night’

About a thousand people have had to be evacuated from Gjerdrum, which has a population of 5,000, because of fears for the safety of their homes. There was more movement of land overnight Friday to Saturday.

“We are at a hotel,” two of the evacuees, Olav Gjerdingen and Sissel Meyer Gjerdingen, told AFP. “It is a completely surreal and terrible situation.”

Search and rescue teams have been using sniffer dogs, helicopters and drones in a bid to find survivors.

The search teams were also digging channels in the ground to evacuate anyone found alive.

“We have built so many evacuation routes in order to be able to take (survivors) out quickly that we can now work through the night,” rescue team official Knut Halvorsen told reporters late in the afternoon.

A damaged house is seen at a landslide area in Ask, Norway.

Several houses were swept away in Gjerdrum, home to 5,000 people 25 kilometres northeast of the capital, in the early hours of 30 December.

AFP

The Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate (NVE) said the disaster was a “quick clay slide” of approximately 300 by 800 metres.

Quick clay is a sort of clay found in Norway and Sweden that can collapse and turn to fluid when overstressed.

The authorities have banned all aircraft from the disaster area until 3 pm Monday as they conduct aerial searches.

Visiting the site on Wednesday, Prime Minister Erna Solberg described it as one of the biggest landslides the country had ever experienced.

The royal court said in a statement that the king, his wife Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon would visit the disaster area toward the end of Sunday morning.

The disaster has seized the attention of this nation of five million people over the New Year’s holidays.



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Three bodies recovered from Norwegian landslide, seven people still missing


Local police chief Ida Melbo Oeystese said it may still be possible to find survivors in air pockets inside the destroyed buildings.

“Medically, you can survive for several days if you have air,” she told reporters at a news conference.

By late Saturday, local time, a second and third body had been found after a first one was discovered on Friday. Only a Dalmatian dog has been rescued alive from the ruins so far.

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King Harald V, Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon plan to visit the disaster area on Sunday to pay their respects to the victims and to meet with residents and rescue workers. The 83-year-old monarch said in his New Year’s speech that the royal family had been deeply moved by the tragedy.

Norwegian police have published the names and birth years of the 10 people initially reported missing, including a 2-year-old child. Officials haven’t yet identified the three recovered bodies.

The landslide early on Wednesday December 30, local time, cut across a road through Ask, leaving a deep, crater-like ravine. Photos and videos showed buildings hanging on the edge of the ravine, which grew to be 700 metres long and 300 metres wide. At least nine buildings with over 30 apartments were destroyed.

The rescue operation is being hampered by the limited number of daylight hours in Norway at this time of year and fears of further erosion. The ground is fragile at the site and unable to hold the weight of rescue equipment.

Over 1,000 people have been evacuated, and officials said up to 1,500 people may be moved from the area amid fears of further landslides.

The exact cause of the accident is not yet known but the Gjerdrum municipality, where Ask is located, is known for having a lot of quick clay, a material that can change from solid to liquid. Experts said the substance of the clay combined with excessive precipitation and the damp weather typical for Norway at this time of year may have contributed to the landslide.

Norwegian authorities in 2005 warned people not to construct residential buildings in the area, but houses were eventually built there later in the decade.

Spokeswoman Toril Hofshagen from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate called the landslide unique in its destruction.

“Not since 1893 has there been a quick clay landslide of this dimension in Norway,” Hofshagen told the media.

AP

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Norway landslide: Three bodies recovered and several people still missing | World News


Three bodies have been recovered and seven people are still missing after a landslide in Norway.

Rescue teams in the village of Ask, near Oslo, have yet to find any signs of life after the disaster tore down buildings in the area on Wednesday.

Two bodies were recovered from the rubble on Saturday after the first victim was found on Friday. Only a Dalmatian dog has been rescued alive so far.

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Nine buildings were destroyed by the landslide. Pic: Associated Press

Search teams have used helicopters and heat-detecting drones to help them navigate the wintery conditions in an effort to recover bodies.

Norwegian Police have said they will not scale back the search, despite one rescue team from Sweden having already returned home.

Local police chief Ida Melbo Oeystese told reporters that it could still be possible to find survivors in air pockets created inside the destroyed buildings.

“Medically, you can survive for several days if you have air,” she said.

The landslide is the worst in Norway’s modern history, cutting across a road in the village and destroying at least nine buildings.

Images and videos from the town showed buildings hanging loose on the edge of ravine measuring 2,300ft (700m) and 1,000ft (305m) wide.

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Several missing after Norway landslide

On Friday evening, Norwegian police published the names and ages of the 10 people reported missing, which included a two-year-old child.

Officials have not yet identified the recovered bodies.

More than 1,000 people have been forced to leave the village, with concerns a further 1,500 people may also be asked to leave amid fears of more landslides.

The search and rescue mission has been delayed by waning daylight hours and fears that more landslides may leave the ground unable to support the weight of the equipment being used to look for survivors.



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Body found in Norway landslide hunt


Rescue workers have recovered a body following a landslide in southern Norway, officials say.

Police operations chief Roy Alkvist made the announcement at a press conference on Friday, on the third day of rescue efforts in the small town of Ask.

He did not give details on the dead person’s age or gender.

Rescue workers have been continuing to search for 10 people, including several children, who were still missing two days after a large landslide hit the town, situated in the Gjerdrum region about 30km north of the capital Oslo.

Although the area remains dangerous, rescue teams and police dogs were able to reach the centre of the zone affected by the landslide on foot on Friday morning.

The search is hampered by snow and unstable ground but rescue workers said as long as people can breathe, they can live for days in a situation like this.

The rescue operation had previously been carried out using drones and helicopters since the landslide hit Ask, a town of about 5,000 people, early in the morning on Wednesday.

The resulting crater meant nine houses collapsed and others were in danger of caving in.

Around 1,000 people were evacuated from the scene.

The missing live in the area, though it is not clear if they were at home when the landslide hit.

Ten people were reported injured, including six who have been hospitalised with moderate injuries. Some were suffering from hypothermia.



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