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Dozens buried in rubble after Indian city building collapse

India: Police have detained five construction firm officials as rescuers using gas cutters and shovels searched for dozens of workers believed buried in the rubble of a building that collapsed during monsoon rains.

It was one of two weekend building collapses that killed at least 22 people.

Nearly 90 contract workers were believed to have been in the basement of the 11-storey structure to collect their wages when it collapsed on the outskirts of Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state.

Police said 31 had been pulled out so far, four died on the spot and another seven succumbed to injuries in hospital.

The exact number of those trapped was unknown but rescuers could hear feeble voices in the debris, said TS Sridhar, the disaster management agency commissioner. Officials used gas cutters, iron rods and shovels after cranes lifted concrete blocks to get to the survivors.

"Removing debris is a major challenge. It may take two to three days to clear the rubble," said SP Selvam, who is heading the rescue operation.

Police said two directors, two engineers and one supervisor of the construction company, Prime Sristi, were detained for questioning as authorities began investigating the collapse.

Balaguru, one of the builders, said the structure collapsed possibly due to the impact of lightning.

"Usually, once the construction gets over we install the equipment to prevent the building from a thunder strike. It was nearing completion," Balaguru, who uses one name, as saying.

Earlier, 11 people died and one survivor was being treated in hospital after a four-storey, 50-year-old structure toppled in an area of New Delhi inhabited by the poor, said fire service officer Praveer Haldiar.

Most homes in that part of the capital were built without permission and using substandard materials, police officer Madhur Verma said.

Building collapses are common in India, where high demand for housing and lax regulations have encouraged some builders to cut corners, use substandard materials or add unauthorised extra floors.

In April last year, 74 people were killed when an eight-storey building being constructed illegally in the Mumbai suburb of Thane in western Maharashtra state caved in. It was the worst building collapse in the country in decades.

GPs in cancer ‘name and shame’

London: Doctors in England could be named and shamed if they repeatedly fail to spot cancer in their patients, it has been reported.

GPs will be marked out with a red flag on an NHS website if they are deemed to be missing too many cases or patients have to make repeated visits before being referred for tests, it was claimed.

Practices will get a green rating if they have quick referral times for patients.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said tough action must be taken to bring standards at practices with poor cancer referral rates into line with those who have the highest standards.

“We need to do much better,” he said. “Cancer diagnosis levels around the country vary significantly and we must do much more to improve both the level of diagnosis and to bring those GP practices with poor referral rates up to the standards of the best.”

It comes as Tories raised concerns about the NHS if significant new funding is not ploughed in.

Former Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell said he would be ashamed if the Government failed to inject cash at a time when the UK economy was growing.

Iraqis advance on Saddam’s town

Tikrit: Iraqi forces backed by tanks and helicopter gunships have started battling insurgents in Saddam Hussein's home town, one of two major cities seized by Sunni militants during a rapid advance across the north earlier this month.

The government received a boost with the arrival in Baghdad of five Sukhoi 25 warplanes purchased second-hand from Russia. The aircraft is designed to provide close air support to ground forces and to destroy mobile targets.

Iraqi air force commander Anwar Hama Amin said the military is “in urgent need of this type of aircraft during this difficult time”.

“These jets will enter service within a few days in order to support the units and to fight the terrorist ISIL organisation,” he said, referring to the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has spearheaded the Sunni militant offensive.

The planes could be deployed in the fight for Tikrit where anger towards Iraq's Shiite-led government runs deep.

Minister warns against French hotel tax hikes

Paris: French foreign minister Laurent Fabius has attacked plans to raise by more than five times hotel taxes paid by tourists, saying the move would be dangerous for tourism and France's stumbling economy.

Lawmakers from Fabius' Socialist Party initiated two increases in the tourist tax.

If confirmed by the Senate, they could force tourists to spend up to €8 (£6) per night in hotel taxes, instead of €1.50 (£1.20) currently, with the price rising with the hotel category.

$150m experiment has a hard landing for Nasa

California: A NASA vehicle testing new technology for Mars landings made a successful rocket ride over the Pacific, but its massive descent parachute only partially unfurled.

The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator was deploying a novel inflatable braking system. But cheers died as a gigantic chute designed to slow the $150m (£88m) experiment emerged tangled.

Still, Nasa officials said it is a good test of |technology that might one day be used to deliver astronauts to Mars.

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