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Building Collapse Near Mumbai Kills 40

HINDUSTAN TIMES, FIRST POST (India), BBC (UK)

Worldcrunch

MUMBAI - As many as 40 people were killed, including 11 children, in the collapse of a building illegally under construction near Mumbai, police said Friday.

Dozens of people were injured in the disaster late Thursday night, The Hindustan Times reported, as authorities continued searching for others who might be trapped beneath the seven-story building in Thane in the state of Maharashtra. Two toddlers were among more than 50 pulled from the rubble alive.

Police have already determined that the structure was an illegal construction and building work was still going on even though four floors were already occupied. It collapsed “like a house of cards,” in the words of one witness, according the news website First Post.

The resulting eight-meter-high mangled heap of steel and concrete complicated rescue efforts, which continue into Friday afternoon, with diggers and steel cutters working to reach victims.

The causes are yet unclear, but police inspector Digamber Jangale said it appeared to be due to the use of substandard building material. Local police commissioner K.P. Raghuvanshi said he had opened a case of death by negligence. “There are two builders and we are looking for them,” he told reporters.

Most of the victims were migrant laborers who had come to Mumbai to find work on building sites, often bringing their family and living on-site. Others had already moved into homes in the building, The Hindustan Times reports.

Building collapses are not uncommon in India, with poor construction practices and a lack of surveillance from authorities often to blame. Rajini Vaidyanathan, the BBC correspondent in Mumbai, says a growing population and lack of space have encouraged an increase in the number of high rises, but many builders fail to take sufficient safety precautions, or to get proper permission to build.

In December, at least 13 people died when part of a half-constructed building collapsed in the Wagholi area of Maharashtra. In the same region, at least six people were killed in September in Pune city, for similar reasons.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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