BRCKO, Bosnia-Herzegovina – Floodwaters triggered more than 3,000 landslides across the Balkans on Sunday, laying waste to entire towns and villages and disturbing land mines left over from the region’s 1990s war, along with warning signs that marked the unexploded weapons.
The Balkans’ worst flooding since recordkeeping began forced tens of thousands of people from their homes and threatened to inundate Serbia’s main power plant, which supplies electricity to a third of the country and most of the capital, Belgrade.
Authorities organized a frenzied helicopter airlift to get terrified families to safety before the water swallowed up their homes. Many were plucked from rooftops.
Three months’ worth of rain fell on the region in three days. At least two dozen people have died, with more casualties expected.
Minimum wage hike fails in Swiss vote
Swiss voters overwhelmingly rejected a referendum proposal Sunday to create the world’s highest minimum wage, according to Swiss TV projections.
The idea of creating the world’s highest minimum wage of $24.70 an hour was criticized by government and business leaders as likely to drive Switzerland’s high costs even higher.
Trade unions backed it as a way of fighting poverty in a country that, by some measures, features the world’s highest prices and most expensive cities. Switzerland currently has no minimum wage, but the median wage is about $37 an hour.
2 dozen detained in mine accident study
Two dozen people, including company executives, have been detained as Turkish officials investigate the mining disaster that killed 301 people, a domestic news agency reported Sunday.
The Dogan news agency said Ramazan Dogru, general manager of the mine owned by Soma Holding, and its operations manager, Akin Celik, were among the 24 detained. It said prosecutors were weighing charges of negligence and contributing to the deaths of more than one person.
Air defense chief in Syria killed
The head of Syria’s air defenses was killed in clashes with rebels near the capital, Damascus, a government official and activists said Sunday.
Lt. Gen. Hussein Ishaq was one of the highest-ranking members of the Syria’s army, said military analyst Hisham Jaber.
Ishaq died Saturday after rebels attacked a Syrian air defense base near the town of Mleiha, said the government official.
S. Korea head urges end to coast guard
South Korea’s president said Monday she will push to disband the coast guard in the wake of last month’s ferry disaster that left more than 300 people dead or missing, calling its rescue operations after the disaster a failure.
Park Geun-hye said she will push for legislation to transfer the coast guard’s responsibilities to the National Police Agency and a new government body.