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Stampede Kills 36 Indian Pilgrims At World's Largest Human Gathering



ALLAHABAD – At least 36 pilgrims on their way back from the world’s largest religious festival in northern India have died in a stampede late Sunday.

The death toll may rise again, as dozens of other injured were in a critical condition after the stampede at the Allahabad railway station in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in India.

Tens of thousands of people were in the station waiting to board a train back home on the last day of the 55-day Kumbh Mela festival when railway officials announced a last-minute change in the platform, triggering the chaos, the Hindustan Times reveals.

Witnesses have blamed police action for the stampede, accusing them of charging with batons when the crowd started moving toward the platform through a footbridge – claims that have been denied by the police who stated it was simply a case of overcrowding.

A record 30 million people (the world's largest gathering of humanity) were drawn to the festival to dip in the sacred waters of the Ganges.

Mohammad Azam Khan, the Uttar Pradesh government minister, resigned Monday, taking responsibility for the Allahabad stampede, according to The Times of India.

Meanwhile in neighboring Bangladesh, a bus carrying Muslim pilgrims who were also back from religious voyage to the Cox's Bazar district has fallen off a bridge south of the country’s capital, Dhaka, killing at least 16 people, BBC News reports.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia's Wartime Manipulation Of Energy Prices Could Doom Its Economy

A complex compensation mechanism for fuel companies, currency devaluation, increased demand due to the war, logistics disruptions, and stuttering production growth have combined to trigger price rises and deepening shortages in the Russian energy market.

Photograph of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas, floating on a body of water.

Russia, Murmansk Region - July 21, 2023: A view of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas.

Ekaterina Mereminskaya

In Russia, reports of gasoline and diesel shortages have been making headlines in the country for several months, raising concerns about energy supply. The situation escalated in September when a major diesel shortage hit annexed Crimea. Even before that, farmers in the southern regions of Russia had raised concerns regarding fuel shortages for their combines.

“We’ll have to stop the harvest! It will be a total catastrophe!” agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev had warned at the time. “We should temporarily halt the export of petroleum products now until we have stabilized the situation on the domestic market.”

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As the crisis deepens, experts are highlighting the unintended consequences of government intervention in fuel pricing and distribution.

The Russian government has long sought to control the prices of essential commodities, including gasoline and diesel. These commodities are considered "signalling products", according to Sergei Vakulenko, an oil and gas expert and fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. Entrepreneurs often interpret rising gasoline prices as a signal to adjust their pricing strategies, reasoning that if even gasoline, a staple, is becoming more expensive, they too should raise their prices.

The specter of the 2018 fuel crisis, where gasoline prices in Russia surged at twice the rate of other commodities, haunts the authorities. As a result, they implemented a mechanism to control these prices and ensure a steady supply. Known as the "fuel damper," this mechanism seeks to balance the profitability of selling fuel in both domestic and foreign markets.

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