Malda/Darjeeling: Four persons were killed in different incidents of lightning strike in Bengal’s Malda district on Wednesday, a senior police officer said.Superintendent of Police, Alok Rajoria said three persons were killed in the lightning strike during heavy rain in Gajole block and one in Manikchawk block of the district. Heavy rain accompanied by lightning hit Malda district on Wednesday. Meanwhile, incessant rainfall in Bhutan and North Bengal has thrown life out of gear. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaLarge stretches have been inundated in North Bengal with road communication disrupted. Water levels are dangerously on the rise in the rivers flowing down from Bhutan. A weather warning has been issued by the Indian Meteorological Department for North Bengal from June 26 to June 28. While there is a red warning (greater than 20 cm of rain forecasted) for June 26 and June 27, there is a orange warning (7cm to 20cm of rain forecasted) for June 28. “Due to strong moisture incursion from the Bay of Bengal and shifting of trough of low pressure along North Bengal enhanced rainfall activity is likely to continue over the district of North Bengal during June 26 to 28,” stated the bulletin. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersWide-spread rainfall has been forecasted over the districts of Coochbehar, Alipurduar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong. The National Centre for Hydrology and Meteorology, Bhutan, in a weather bulletin has warned of active monsoon to continue in the next 48 hours with heavy rains forecasted for the southern part of Bhutan. Bhutan has been witnessing incessant rainfall in the past few days resulting in flash floods and land slides. Many important roads have been closed down owing to this. The Phuentsholing to Thimpu road is also affected. “We are keeping tab and reviewing the situation on a daily basis. Heavy rainfall in Bhutan will definitely affect our district but we are ready. Our priority will be that we do not have any human casualty” stated Surendra Kumar Meena, District Magistrate, Alipurduar — the district sharing borders with Bhutan.
“The continent’s large and growing population represents enormous market potential, especially with growing urbanization contributing to rapid growth in consumption by households and businesses,” said Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed in her keynote address to the event, titled ‘Regional and Economic Integration in Africa: How to Effectively Involve Africa’s Youth across National Borders.’ Yet, despite this potential, she continued, intra-African trade represents only about 13 per cent of Africa’s total trade. By building on market potential and promoting regional integration, African countries could reduce their dependency on the sale of primary commodities, and shift to value added products – creating employment, reducing inequalities, investing in sustainable infrastructure and ensuring sustainable economic growth. Establishing a Continental Free Trade Area, as agreed by the African Union in 2012, would be a major step in the right direction. “Once established, it would be the largest free trade area in the world with 54 member states – a single market of more than one billion people with a young and growing population,” she said. The transformative changes envisaged in Africa’s development vision, Agenda 2063, can only be realized if they are forged around stronger regional integration, she added. There are also encouraging success stories elsewhere.Today, regional blocks in South and Central America, Southeast Asia and China play a major role in global economy. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Free Trade Area was established in 1992 to eliminate trade and non-trade barriers and improve the Southeast Asia’s competitiveness. Consequently, intra-ASEAN trade more than doubled between 1995 and 2010, and kept increasing to reach around 24 per cent of global trade last year – and 40 per cent if trade with China is included. “We can achieve the same success in Africa,” Ms. Mohammed said. Africa has the fastest growing youth population in the world, with 60 per cent of its population under 24. Harnessing their capacity requires greater investments in education, especially in science and technology, to ensure a robust labour force capable of meeting the increasingly competitive demands of today’s globalized markets, she said. Noting that gender inequality is costing sub-Saharan Africa tens of billions a year, she stressed the need to truly integrate women into Africa’s economies towards creating a prosperous and vibrant Africa.