07/22/2023, 09.36
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Bhutan: floods sweep away hydropower plant, 7 dead and 16 missing

Today's headlines: in Siberia, permafrost melts causing the methane-releasing Batagaika depression to sink further; Israeli army kills two teenagers in the West Bank; U.S. semiconductors in Russia despite sanctions through Maldives; Chinese youth stop at Propaganda Fide in Rome on their way to WYD.


At least seven people are dead and 16 others are missing in Bhutan after flash flooding caused by heavy and heavier-than-seasonal rains swept away a section of a small hydropower plant dam, deepening further landslides downstream. Search and rescue teams are still patrolling the area, authorities said. Prime Minister Lotay Tshering has arrived at the scene and is taking stock of the situation and leading rescue and search operations. Five victims have been identified.


Batagaika is located in Siberia and is the largest depression in the world, 1 km wide and 86 meters deep. Here the permafrost, a mixture of ice and soil, has literally been sinking since the forest was cleared in the 1960s, causing it to melt. Scientists say the phenomenon is accelerating as Russia is warming 2.5 times faster than the rest of the world, melting the frozen tundra that covers about 65 percent of the continental landmass. Batagaika has reached 100 meters deep in some places, releasing greenhouse gases-mostly methane-stored in the thawed soil.


Israeli forces killed two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank. They are 17-year-old Muhammad Fouad Atta al-Bayed, who was shot in the head by Israeli forces during riots in Umm Safa village near Ramallah, and Fawzi Makhalfeh, 18. That's 150 Palestinians killed since the beginning of 2023 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.


In addition to being a popular destination for vacationers, the Maldives is also a transit point for shipments to Russia that circumvent international sanctions. Since Putin invaded Ukraine, about 400 thousand U.S.-manufactured semiconductors with a total value of .6 million have been shipped to Russia through the Maldives, according to data from Indian research firm Export Genius.


India has met, 9 years ahead of schedule, the targets of that relate to widespread distribution and supply capacity of electricity from non-fossil sources in the territory. Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the ongoing G20 energy ministers' meeting in Goa relaunched with an ambitious target: "We now plan to reach 50 percent of installed non-fossil electric capacity by 2030. Take away make India among the world leaders in solar and wind."


Chinese youth, on their way to Lisbon to participate in World Youth Day, made a stopover in Rome as they visited the Palazzo di Propaganda Fide, the historic building overlooking the Spanish Steps, home of the Dicastery for Evangelization. The group of pilgrims, 50 girls and boys, also received the missionary rosary as a gift, and in the Chapel of the Three Kings they intoned the Hail Mary in Mandarin at the place from which so many missionaries left to take the Gospel to China.

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