Indian navy ships recovered 26 bodies of people who were aboard a barge that sank off Mumbai almost 48 hours after the most powerful storm to hit the region in more than two decades blew ashore this week. The search is continuing for 49 more people who are missing after the cyclone hit Monday (May 16), navy spokesman Mehul Karnik said. He said five ships, a surveillance aircraft and three helicopters involved in the search had rescued 186 people in rough seas with waves of up to 7 meters (25 feet).
A navy statement said 125 survivors and two bodies have arrived in Mumbai and others were expected to get there. Cyclone Tauktae packed sustained winds of up to 210 kilometres (130 miles) per hour when it came ashore in Gujarat state. It left more than 50 dead in Gujarat and Maharashtra states. The search operation for those missing only intensified, navy Cmdr. Alok Anand said.
Intense storms and flooding triggered three times more displacements than violent conflicts did last year, as the number of people internally displaced worldwide hit the highest level on record. There were at least 55 million internally displaced people (IDPs) by the end of last year, according to figures published by the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). There were more than twice as many people displaced within their own country as forced out of their country as refugees, the IDMC said. The number is the highest on record, but in line with its steady rise over the past decade.
During a year that was the warmest on record, 5 million more people were displaced than in 2019. In total, about 48 million people have been uprooted from their homes as a result of conflict and violence, while 7 million have been displaced by disasters. The IDMC said the latter was likely to be a significant underestimate due to incomplete data.
The US secretary of state and Russia’s foreign minister sparred politely in Iceland in their first face-to-face encounter, which came as ties between the nations have deteriorated sharply in recent months. Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov spoke frankly but calmly of their differences as they held talks on the sidelines of an Arctic Council meeting in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, a city with deep history in US-Russian relations. “We seek a predictable, stable relationship with Russia,” Blinken told Lavrov, echoing comments made by the US president, Joe Biden, who has proposed a summit with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, next month.
The meeting took place just as the Biden administration notified Congress of new sanctions on Russia over a controversial European pipeline. The administration hit eight Russian companies and vessels with penalties for their involvement in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, while sparing two German entities from similar penalties.
The operator of America’s largest fuel pipeline confirmed it paid $4.4 million to a gang of hackers who broke into its computer systems. Colonial Pipeline said that after it learned of the May 7 ransomware attack, the company took its pipeline system offline and needed to do everything in its power to restart it quickly and safely, and made the decision then to pay the ransom. “This decision was not made lightly,” but it was one that had to be made, a company spokesman said.
Colonial Pipeline’s CEO, Joseph Blount, told The Wall Street Journal he authorised the payment because the company didn’t know the extent of the damage and wasn’t sure how long it would take to bring the pipeline’s systems back. The FBI discourages making ransom payments to ransomware attackers, because paying encourages criminal networks around the globe who have hit thousands of businesses and health care systems in the U.S. in the past year alone.