Metrovaartha http://www.metrovaartha.com/ en-us Sun, 20 Jan 2019 00:00:00 +0530 Legal route should be followed: Kartik Aaryan on sexual harassment allegations against Hirani http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10656/Legal-route-should-be-followed--Kartik-Aaryan-on-sexual-harassment-allegations-against-Hirani http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10656/Legal-route-should-be-followed--Kartik-Aaryan-on-sexual-harassment-allegations-against-Hirani Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:51:15 +0530 ]]>Kartik Aaryan is the latest Bollywood actor to maintain a 'no comment' stance on the sexual harassment allegation against filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani. Mumbai | Kartik Aaryan is the latest Bollywood actor to maintain a 'no comment' stance on the sexual harassment allegation against filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani.

Kartik said due course of law should be followed in such cases.

"We all have been his fans. The situation is such that one has to follow the legal route and till the time it is not proven legally we can't talk about it. We don't know what exactly has happened, there has to be a way, we have legal option and that should be followed and then you can comment. "It is sad that such things are happening be it in this industry or anywhere else. I am totally against it," Kartik told reporters here at an event on Friday.

Hirani is the latest name to be called out for sexual harassment with a woman "assistant" alleging in an article in HuffPost India that he sexually abused her more than once between March and September 2018 while working on "Sanju".

Kartik was talking at press conference of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India. The actor appears in a new campaign for PETA India that proclaims.

Meanwhile, when asked about the reports of him being part of Imtiaz Ali's "Love Aaj Kal 2" with Sara Ali Khan, Kartik neither confirmed nor denied the news.

"It will be better to ask Imtiaz Ali about 'Love Aaj Kal 2' or the film that he is planning. Till the time there is no proper confirmation I can't talk about it," he added.

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US senator says Saudi crown prince must be 'dealt with' over Khashoggi murder http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10655/US-senator-says-Saudi-crown-prince-must-be--dealt-with--over-Khashoggi-murder http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10655/US-senator-says-Saudi-crown-prince-must-be--dealt-with--over-Khashoggi-murder Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:45:51 +0530 ]]>A key US senator on Saturday said the Saudi crown prince was responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's murder and must be "dealt with", as he threatened new sanctions. Ankara | A key US senator on Saturday said the Saudi crown prince was responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's murder and must be "dealt with", as he threatened new sanctions.

Republican Lindsey Graham, an influential ally of President Donald Trump, has previously said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the grisly killing of Washington Post contributor Khashoggi in October.

"I have concluded that the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States cannot move forward until MBS has been dealt with," Graham said, using the initials for the crown prince.

Graham also threatened new sanctions against those suspected of involvement in the murder during a press conference in Ankara.

Western countries including the US, France and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals as the case has tarnished Riyadh's international reputation.

"We will start sanctioning those involved in the killing of Mr Khashoggi. We'll make a definitive statement that MBS knew about it and is responsible for it and come up with a series of sanctions," the South Carolina lawmaker said.

Turkey says Khashoggi was killed by a team of 15 Saudis who strangled him during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain paperwork ahead of his upcoming marriage.

The remains of the insider turned critic of the kingdom have yet to be found, three months after this murder.

Riyadh has denied any claims of the crown prince's involvement but the case has caused strains with Washington.

Earlier this month the trial of 11 accused opened in Saudi Arabia with the attorney general seeking the death penalty for five defendants.

Graham acknowledged that he had been "enthusiastic" in his support of Prince Mohammed but accepted he had been "wrong".

"What has transpired in the last couple of years is unnerving to say the least," he said.

Graham said the sanctions were intended to send the message that the murder was "not what you do if you're an ally of the United States".

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Citizenship Bill: Protests rage on in Assam http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10654/Citizenship-Bill--Protests-rage-on-in-Assam http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10654/Citizenship-Bill--Protests-rage-on-in-Assam Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:33:08 +0530 ]]>Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill showed no sign of waning in Assam on Saturday as agitators staged semi-clad protests in Texpur, took out women's rally in Tinsukia, and organised citizen's meeting in Guwahati. Guwahati | Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Bill showed no sign of waning in Assam on Saturday as agitators staged semi-clad protests in Texpur, took out women's rally in Tinsukia, and organised citizen's meeting in Guwahati.

In Tezpur town of Sonitpur district in lower Assam, activists of the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) staged a semi-clad protest. Shirtless male members of the organisation demonstrated with messages painted on bare bodies as they took out a massive rally through the main thoroughfares demanding the Bill be scrapped immediately.

Protesting in front of the deputy commissioners office, the demonstrators raised slogans against Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and state Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

They also demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi explain to them how the people of Assam and the country benefited from demonetisation.

In Tinsukia district of upper Assam, women came together to take out a protest rally and also blocked National Highway 37 for some time.

In Guwahati, a citizens' protest meeting was organised in which prominent personalities from the Assam Sahitya Sabha, AJYCP, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), among others, spoke against the Bill and demanded that it be scrapped.

The controversial bill, passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.

 

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Vibrant Gujarat: India reaches out to African countries http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10653/Vibrant-Gujarat--India-reaches-out-to-African-countries http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10653/Vibrant-Gujarat--India-reaches-out-to-African-countries Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:27:07 +0530 ]]>External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Saturday assured African nations that India will continue to be their trusted partner and work closely for the economic and social empowerment of Africans. Gandhinagar | External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Saturday assured African nations that India will continue to be their trusted partner and work closely for the economic and social empowerment of Africans.

Addressing ministers and representatives of around 50 African nations to mark the first-ever 'Africa Day' at the ongoing Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit here, Swaraj said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared Africa as the "top priority" in India's foreign and economic policy.

"As Africa marches in its journey towards security, renewal and prosperity, India will remain a trusted partner, working closely with Africa for the economic and social empowerment of its people," Swaraj said.

The minister said India dedicating a day to an entire continent for the first time during the investors' meet underlined the importance it accords to the African economies "in the development and growth map of the contemporary world".

Speaking before Swaraj, Uganda Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Okello said that due to stagnation in relationship between India and Africa, China has realised the potential of the continent and came out in a big way.

"Everybody knows that relations between India and Africa were very robust in the past, but in recent times they became stagnant. In the meantime, China realised the potential and came in a big way. Now, it should be set on the right track," Okello said.

Underlining the significance of the African Day event, Swaraj said it was held during 150th birth anniversary year of Mahatma Gandhi and the 100th birth anniversary of iconic African leader Nelson Mandela.

India has always shared a special bond with the people of Africa and supported their liberation from colonialism and apartheid (a system of institutionalised racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until the early 1990s), the minister said.

She said PM Modi has declared Africa as the "top priority" in the foreign and economic policy of India.

"In the last four years, our long-standing ties with Africa have acquired vibrancy and dynamism. There has been unprecedented intensification of our political engagement with Africa, with 29 visits to African countries at the level of President, Vice President and Prime Minister, apart from several ministerial visits," the minister said.

Swaraj also said that Africa has emerged as an important trade and investment partner of India.

"The trade between India and Africa stood at USD 62.66 billion for 2017-18 which reflects a nearly 22 per cent increase over the previous year. India is ranked as the third largest export destination in Africa," the minister said, adding that as many as 38 African countries are now enjoying the benefits of India's Duty Free Tariff Preference (DFTP) Scheme.

She exuded confidence that the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement will boost trade and economic ties with Africa.

"In recent years, there has been a surge in Indian investment in Africa. India is the fifth largest investor in Africa with cumulative investments of USD 54 billion," she noted.

Swaraj identified minerals and mining, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, high-technology manufacturing and information and communication technology as the areas having a considerable potential to boost investment ties with African countries.

"Currently, 189 projects in 42 African countries for nearly USD 11.4 billion are being implemented under the Indian Line of Credits (LoCs). These projects have had a positive impact in many African countries and are changing the lives of its people by covering a range of sectors," she said.

The minister also touched upon the issue of terrorism, and called for a greater engagement to deal with it.

"One of the most serious challenges toward international peace and security is the menace of terrorism. Like India, many of the African countries are the victims of terrorism. Consequently, preserving peace and security, countering terrorism and extremism is an important element of our engagement," she said.

Underlining that India's relationship with Africa is on upswing, the minister also acknowledged that maintaining this momentum, building the foundation of security, and ensuring development and growth for the benefit of people are the major challenges.

"Strong relations between India and Africa will go a long way in redefining the contours of the international order on more egalitarian lines," she said.

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We must defeat the corrupt Modi govt to save country and democracy: Hardik Patel http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10652/We-must-defeat-the-corrupt-Modi-govt-to-save-country-and-democracy--Hardik-Patel http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10652/We-must-defeat-the-corrupt-Modi-govt-to-save-country-and-democracy--Hardik-Patel Sat, 19 Jan 2019 17:23:14 +0530 ]]>Lauding Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee for her clarion call to defeat BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Saturday called upon people to fulfil her desire in its true spirit to save the country and democracy. Kolkata | Lauding Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee for her clarion call to defeat BJP in the coming Lok Sabha elections, Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Saturday called upon people to fulfil her desire in its true spirit to save the country and democracy.

Addressing a huge rally at the historic Brigade Parade Ground here, Patel said that all non-BJP parties have united here to defeat the BJP government.

"We must save our country and democracy for the welfare of the nation," he said.

Stating that the opposition parties are fighting against "thieves", Patel said while Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had given a call to fight against the 'goro' (Britishers), "we are fighting against choro (thieves)."

The young Gujarat leader thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for bringing all major opposition leaders on one platform and pointing towards 'jansalab' (mass gathering) at the grounds said it was an indication that BJP is on its way out of power.

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BJP spoke of fighting corruption and resorted to horse-trading the same day: Kumaraswamy http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10651/BJP-spoke-of-fighting-corruption-and-resorted-to-horse-trading-the-same-day--Kumaraswamy http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10651/BJP-spoke-of-fighting-corruption-and-resorted-to-horse-trading-the-same-day--Kumaraswamy Sat, 19 Jan 2019 16:58:33 +0530 ]]>Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Saturday hit out at BJP for speaking about fighting corruption and resorting to horse-trading on the same day in the southern state. Kolkata | Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy Saturday hit out at BJP for speaking about fighting corruption and resorting to horse-trading on the same day in the southern state.

Kumaraswamy was referring to a recent political situation in Karnataka when two independent MLAs announced on January 15 they were withdrawing support to his government, leading to the ruling Congress-JD(S) coalition and the BJP trading charges against each other of poaching their MLAs.

The move had reduced the ruling coalition's strength to 118, but still it was in the safe zone in the 224-member assembly.

"Democracy is being reduced to a number game ... Legislators are being treated as commodity," Kumaraswamy said the united opposition rally of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee here.

"The BJP talked about its fight against corruption in its (January 11-12) national executive (national convention in Delhi) and on the same day it resorted to horse-trading in Karnataka, revealing its double standards," he said.

Stating that India is one of the strongest democracies in the world, the Karnataka chief minister said, "but today we are witnessing a day where the democratic government (at the Centre) is led by some undemocratic persons." "India is at a crossroads. Unity in diversity is our strength which is protected by our Constitution. But the present government at the Centre is trying to destroy it," he said.

Kumaraswamy said that demonetisation has taken a toll on the poor and those in rural areas have been affected the most.

"It is unfortunate that the Union government has turned deaf and mute to the needs of people ... It is turning a blind eye to the plight of people," Kumaraswamy said.

The present government at the Centre gives incentives, tax rebates and subsidies to industries, but farmers are treated differently, he added.

Kumaraswamy said the country has seen emergence of strong regional parties since Independence and they have played important roles to protect the interest of their states and their peoples.

M. Karunanidhi had done a lot to protect the interest of Tamil Nadu, in Uttar Pradesh SP and BSP are doing a "great job", N Chandrababu Naidu has done a lot for Andhra Pradesh, he said.

Mamata Banerjee is a role model for the women of the country, Kumaraswamy said, adding, she has empowered those in her state.

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Leh emerging favourite destination for foreign tourists, nearly 50k visited in 2018 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10650/Leh-emerging-favourite-destination-for-foreign-tourists--nearly-50k-visited-in-2018 http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10650/Leh-emerging-favourite-destination-for-foreign-tourists--nearly-50k-visited-in-2018 Sat, 19 Jan 2019 16:39:00 +0530 ]]>Jammu and Kashmir's Leh district has emerged as a favourite destination for foreign tourists as nearly 50,000 people from abroad visited the land of high passes last year, tourism officials said Saturday. The overall tourist arrivals in 2018 in the district, located at an altitude of 3,524 metres (11,562 ft), also crossed three lakh mark for the first time, setting a new record, the officials said. Jammu | Jammu and Kashmir's Leh district has emerged as a favourite destination for foreign tourists as nearly 50,000 people from abroad visited the land of high passes last year, tourism officials said Saturday. The overall tourist arrivals in 2018 in the district, located at an altitude of 3,524 metres (11,562 ft), also crossed three lakh mark for the first time, setting a new record, the officials said.

"A total of 3,27,366 tourists, including 49,477 foreigners, visited Leh in 2018, marking an increase of over 50,000 compared to the previous year," a senior official of the state Tourism Department told PTI. He said the tourist arrivals in the district first touched the six-figure mark in 2011 when 1,79,491 tourists, including 36,662 foreigners, visited the district. The feat was achieved a year after sudden floods in August - considered as the peak tourist season - caused by a cloudburst heavily damaged the town.

In 2014, the record number of 59,305 western backpackers flocked the area along with over 1.21 lakh domestic tourists.

The number of tourist arrivals, however, dropped to 1.46 lakh in 2015 but picked up again next year, crossing 2.33 lakh, including 37,497 foreigners, the official said, adding the figures reached 2,77,255 in 2017, including 46,593 foreigners in 2017.

also known as the cold desert, usually remains cut off from rest of the country owing to heavy snowfall which blocks 434-km Srinagar-Leh and 490-km Manali-Leh highways for months together owing to heavy snowfall along the high passes. Last year, the Centre had approved the construction of the 14.2-km long tunnel project, Asia's longest bi-directional Zojila Pass tunnel at an estimated cost of Rs 6,089 crore, to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil, and Leh which, when completed, will further give a boost to the tourism sector in the region.

"The tourist arrivals by road remain restricted between April and October, as a result of which other months of the year record a very low turnout," the official said. Last year, he said that 5,665 tourists arrived in January followed by 1,136 in February, 1,298 in March and 11,277 in April when the road connectivity to the region was restored.

As many as 44,583 tourists visited Leh in May followed by 77,041 in June, 70,139 in July, 53,621 in August, 38,049 in September, 20,784 in October, 2,416 in November and 1,357 in December, the official said. The highest number of 13,033 foreign tourists visited Leh in August followed by 12,226 in July, 7,355 in September and 6,209 in June, the official said adding only 421 foreigners visited the region in January, 476 in February, 523 in March, 2,678 in April, 2,785 in May, 3,223 in October, 286 in November and 262 in December. "Leh district possesses immense tourism potential and the Governor's administration is keen to upgrade its tourism-related infrastructure to attract increased tourist footfall to the region," Chief Secretary B V R Subramanyam, who visited Leh on Friday and held a series of meetings, said. Expressing happiness over the increasing trend of tourist inflow to Leh, the chief secretary stressed on Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Leh, to work out a master plan for guiding tourism sector towards inclusive and sustainable development of the district.

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Kohli meets Roger Federer, finishes Australian summer in style http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10649/Kohli-meets-Roger-Federer--finishes-Australian-summer-in-style http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10649/Kohli-meets-Roger-Federer--finishes-Australian-summer-in-style Sat, 19 Jan 2019 15:07:35 +0530 ]]>After leading India to two historic series victories Down Under, India skipper Virat Kohli wrapped up his Australian summer in "style" by meeting legendary tennis star Roger Federer at the Rod Laver Arena here Saturday. Melbourne | After leading India to two historic series victories Down Under, India skipper Virat Kohli wrapped up his Australian summer in "style" by meeting legendary tennis star Roger Federer at the Rod Laver Arena here Saturday.

Kohli, who donned the spectator's hat alongside wife Anushka Sharma, watched defending champion Novak Djokovic beat Denis Shapovalov in the men's singles third-round match and Serena Williams storm into the fourth round of women's singles.

Kohli took to social media to post a picture of Federer, himself and Anushka.

"What a day at the Australian open. An amazing way to finish the Australian summer. Forever grateful #ausopen," Kohii tweeted.

The official twitter handle of the Australian Open also tweeted a picture of the trio, who were all smiles captioning it as "three legends, one photo." Federer, who is the defending champion at the Australian Open, has already sealed a place in the last 16 of the competition with a win against American Taylor Fritz on Friday.

Kohli on Friday led India to a 2-1 over Australia, their first against the hosts in a bilateral ODI series Down Under.

India also became the first country to return from Australia without losing a single series, having won the Test series 2-1 and drawn the T20 Internationals 1-1.

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JNU sedition case: Court questions Delhi Police for filing chargesheet without procuring requisite sanctions http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10648/JNU-sedition-case--Court-questions-Delhi-Police-for-filing-chargesheet-without-procuring-requisite-sanctions http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10648/JNU-sedition-case--Court-questions-Delhi-Police-for-filing-chargesheet-without-procuring-requisite-sanctions Sat, 19 Jan 2019 14:13:14 +0530 ]]>A court here questioned the Delhi police on Saturday for filing a chargesheet against former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in a 2016 sedition case without procuring requisite sanctions. New Delhi | A court here questioned the Delhi police on Saturday for filing a chargesheet against former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and others in a 2016 sedition case without procuring requisite sanctions.

Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat granted police time till February 6 to procure requisite sanctions after they told the court they will get the approvals within 10 days.

"Why did you file (the chargesheet) without approval? You don't have a legal department," the court said.

The court is likely to resume hearing on the matter soon.

Police on January 14 filed the chargesheet at a city court against Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported seditious slogans raised on the varsity campus during an event in February 2016.

Police also charged former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during the event held on February 9, 2016, to mark the hanging of Parliament-attack mastermind Afzal Guru.

Earlier, they had claimed before the court here that Kumar had raised anti-India slogans in 2016 "to incite hatred and disaffection towards the government".

Police cited statements of various witnesses in its chargesheet to state that Kumar was walking along with the protesters where a number of unidentified persons were raising slogans during the event.

The evidence listed by the agency include report of JNU's high-level committee, statement of varsity's registrar Bhupinder Jutshi and the mobile phone recordings in which Kumar was seen arguing with him over cancellation of the programme.

Police said a video shot by a news channel and clips shot by students present at the spot show that Khalid, Bhattacharya and Ashutosh were raising slogans.

It, however, added that the slogans raised by Ashutosh were not anti-national, unlike those by Khalid and Bhattacharya.

Khalid raised slogans as shown in the videos and mobile clips, police said, citing a video which shows him saying, "The programme is against occupation of Kashmir by the Indian State. I am making it very apparent that I am not from Kashmir but I believe that what is happening in Kashmir is Indian occupation of Kashmir..." Regarding Rama Naga, whose name appears in column 12, the chargesheet said that he delivered speech with contents against the RSS.

On 36 others listed in column 2 of the chargesheet, including Ashutosh, Rama Naga, Banojyotsana, Shehla Rashid and Aparajitha Raja, police said that they were not seen raising anti-India slogans.

A case was registered on February 11, 2016 under sections 124A and 120B of the IPC against unidentified persons at Vasant Kunj (North) police station, following complaints from BJP lawmaker Maheish Girri and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

The event had taken place despite the university administration cancelling the permission, following a complaint from ABVP, which had termed it "anti-national".

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Fuel pipeline blaze in Mexico kills 21, injures dozens http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10647/Fuel-pipeline-blaze-in-Mexico-kills-21--injures-dozens- http://www.english.metrovaartha.com/news/10647/Fuel-pipeline-blaze-in-Mexico-kills-21--injures-dozens- Sat, 19 Jan 2019 13:58:25 +0530 ]]>A massive fire broke out at an illegal pipeline tap in central Mexico on Friday, killing at least 21 people and injuring 71 more, just as the government wages a major crack-down on fuel theft. Mexico | A massive fire broke out at an illegal pipeline tap in central Mexico on Friday, killing at least 21 people and injuring 71 more, just as the government wages a major crack-down on fuel theft.

Scores of locals with jerry cans and buckets had been collecting gasoline that was gushing from a leaking pipeline when an explosion occurred, according to witnesses.

Video taken in the aftermath showed desperate people fleeing the scene, screaming for help, as the enormous fire lit up the night sky in Tlahuelilpan, in Hidalgo state, about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Mexico City.

"I went just to see what was happening, and then the explosion happened. I rushed to help people," said Fernando Garcia, 47. "I had to claw through pieces of people who had already been burned to bits," he told AFP.

The tragedy comes as the federal government is waging a highly publicized war on fuel theft, a problem that cost Mexico an estimated $3 billion in 2017.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador traveled to the scene in the early hours of Saturday.

"I am deeply saddened by the suffering in Tlahuelilpan caused by the explosion of a pipeline," the leftist leader earlier wrote on Twitter.

"I call on the whole government to assist people there." Federal and state firefighters and ambulances run by state oil company Pemex rushed to help victims with burns and take the wounded to hospitals.

The flood of patients overflowed local clinics and hospitals, said AFP correspondents at the scene.

Security Minister Alfonso said around midnight that the fire had been brought under control.

Pemex said it was also responding to another fire at a botched pipeline tap in the central state of Queretaro, though in that case there were no victims.

Mexico is regularly rocked by deadly explosions at illegal pipeline taps, a dangerous but lucrative business whose players include powerful drug cartels and corrupt Pemex insiders.

The tragedy comes as anti-corruption crusader Lopez Obrador presses implementation of a controversial fuel theft prevention plan.

The government has shut off key pipelines until they can be fully secured and deployed the army to guard Pemex production facilities.

But the strategy to fight the problem led to severe gasoline and diesel shortages across much of the country, including Mexico City, forcing people to queue for hours -- sometimes days -- to fill up their vehicles.

The president, who took office on December 1, has vowed to keep up the fight and asked Mexicans to be patient.

At the scene, some locals blamed the shortages for the tragedy.

"A lot of people arrived with their jerry cans, because of the gasoline shortages we've had," said Martin Trejo, 55, who was desperately searching for his son, one of those who had gone to collect the leaking fuel.

Under Lopez Obrador's crackdown, authorities have opened 1,700 individual investigations for fuel theft and related money laundering.

Tanker trucks are being used to deliver fuel, but experts say there are not nearly enough of them.

Mexico City residents faced a second week of fuel shortages this week, though lines at service stations were shorter than the previous week.

Mexican bank Citibanamex estimated Wednesday that the shortages would cost Latin America's second-largest economy around $2 billion, "if conditions return to normal in the coming days." The roots of the fuel theft problem run deep in Mexico, where the practice -- known locally as "huachicoleo," or moonshining -- is big business for some communities.

Lopez Obrador so far retains broad support: 89 percent of Mexicans back his crackdown, and his approval rating has even ticked up slightly, to 76 percent, according to a poll published Monday by newspaper El Financiero.

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