Citizens' Issues
Evacuation of stranded pilgrims begins in Uttarakhand
The Uttarakhand government on Friday began rescue and evacuation measures for the stranded pilgrims hit by inclement weather during the annual Char Dham Yatra, officials said.
 
The state has received heavy rainfall in the last 24-hours from Thursday morning and the meteorological department has indicated no sign of respite from the monsoon showers. 
 
While five Indian Air Force (IAF) choppers have been pressed into service to help and evacuate stranded pilgrims on various routes of the pilgrimage, many army personnel have also been sent to repair bridges that have been swept away or damaged in the downpour.
 
Rescue operations by the State Disaster Relief Force (SDRF) also began at Govindghat, Ghangharia, Guptkashi and many other places in Chamoli district, district officials told IANS.
 
The Laxman Ganga bridge in Chamoli has suffered extensive damage and efforts are on to repair it. 
 
The Alaknanda river, which caused maximum damage in the flash floods of 2013, is once again in spate.
 
Hundred metres of Badrinath highway has been washed away in Lambagad and thousands of pilgrims, tourists and locals are stranded on the route. 
 
Besides, 1,500 people were halted in Badrinath while over 800 pilgrims are caught in inclement weather en route to Hemkund Saheb.
 
The motor bridge at Soneprayag has also been washed away in the torrential downpour and Gangotri highway has also been closed, informed the officials. 
 
The officials also said that Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat was personally monitoring the situation and added that the first priority of the state government was to ensure the pilgrims' safety.

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Hot new trend: A massive lawsuit against yourself! (The Funny Side)
I'm always a little disappointed when I see a moving train and there aren't two men fighting on top. Aren't you? Not that I watch too many movies.
 
But talking of fighting, this writer has been advised to take out a massive lawsuit against a vile individual who has fouled up my whole life. I refer, of course, to myself. Suing yourself is all the rage these days, I hear from a reader who works as a paralegal ("lawyer who leaps from planes").
 
He told me that last year in the US state of Minnesota, a government van crashed into a parked car owned by one Megan Campbell. She took out a lawsuit against the van driver, a government staffer named, yes, Megan Campbell. This meant her employer had to pay for repairs, so everyone was happy. Except for the poor old taxpayer. But come on, we all know by now that allowing himself to be robbed every day of the year is the taxpayer's reason for existing, right?
 
The report reminded me of China's State Religious Affairs Bureau Order No.5 that specifies that people who have been reincarnated as elite masters of wisdom must have had their names previously recorded on a Reincarnation Application Form. (This is not a joke.) Clearly my current pitiful existence is a direct result of the total hash I made of form-filling in an earlier life, so that incarnation of me deserves to be sued for every penny he has, as soon as I can work out how to do it.
 
Regular contributors to this page added examples. A US jailbird named Brock sued himself for millions of dollars for giving himself alcohol which caused him to commit crimes. He argued that since he was a ward of a prison, the authorities would have to pay this huge sum to the victim - him. However, the US legal system refused to support this utterly ridiculous lawsuit, which is odd, because I thought supporting utterly ridiculous lawsuits was their main activity.
 
The most convoluted case was sent in by reader Sunita Chau and came from the London borough of Islington. An authority employee gave a parking ticket to an authority vehicle, the driver of which filed an appeal to the authority, which rejected it, causing the authority to file a second appeal which the authority accepted, inspiring the authority to demand costs from the authority which the authority rejected on the grounds that it was just too absurd. Well, they would know.
 
Earlier this year, the chief prosecutor of the Zambian government was accused of shocking irregularities in the way he ran his office. He referred the case to himself for judgment and dismissed it. His critics said that by finding himself not guilty he proved he was guilty. This is the sort of circular paradox that causes philosophers to suffer cranial short-circuits, so hide this page from any who might be passing.
 
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to fill in a Reincarnation Application Form so that I am reborn as an elite master of wisdom. Not that you'll notice any difference. But anything's better than my current role in life: taxpayer.

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