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Argentines struggle as ‘unprecedented’ power failure strikes country

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 17th, 2019

Courtesy : Reuters

Argentine President Mauricio Macri called the massive blackout that left tens of millions in South America without power on Sunday (June 15) “unprecedented,” and promised a thorough investigation.

Argentina’s grid “collapsed” around 7 a.m. local time (1100 GMT), leaving the entire country without power, Argentina’s Energy Secretariat said.

The outage also cut electricity to much of neighboring Uruguay and swaths of Paraguay, and shut down YPF’s La Plata refinery, Argentina’s largest.

Macri said the blackout had been prompted by a failure in the country’s coastal grid but said that officials still did not know what had caused the problem.

Half of Argentina had power by mid-afternoon, Macri said.

Energy distributors in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, whose populations total nearly 55 million, said power was being quickly restored to major cities and heavily populated coastal regions, including Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

The blackout comes amid a deepening economic crisis in Argentina that has left nearly a third of the country in poverty, pushed interest rates skyward and sent the peso tumbling against the dollar, prompting mass protests throughout the country.

The massive blackout on Father’s Day left Buenos Aires dark early this morning, hobbling public transportation, cutting off water supply and crippling phone and internet communications across the city. (REUTERS)

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Signal No. 1 raised over 3 provinces due to TD Falcon

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – State weather service PAGASA has raised cyclone warning signal No. 1 over Northern Isabela, Cagayan and Batanes on Tuesday (July 16) due to the effects of tropical depression Falcon.

This means winds of up to 60 kph may be expected in at least 36 hours or intermittent rains may be expected within 36 hours.

Residents in the affected areas are advised to take precautionary measures as landslides and flashfloods are possible due to scattered to widespread rains.

Meanwhile, cloudy skies and scattered rainshowers will affect Metro Manila and the rest of Luzon due to the southwest monsoon or habagat enhanced by the tropical depression.

Metro Manila residents especially in low lying areas are advised to prepare from flashfloods possible during severe thunderstorms.    

Monsoon rains, meanwhile, will be experienced in MIMAROPA, Western Visayas, Masbate, Albay, Catanduanes, Sorsogon and Northern Samar.

These areas will experience light to moderate with occasional heavy monsoon rains with possible landslides or flashfloods.

As of 4:00 a.m., TD Falcon was estimated at 690 km east of Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

It is moving west at 30 kph with maximum sustained winds of 55 kph and gustiness of up to 65 kph.

Fisherfolks and those with small seacrafts are advised not to venture out over the seaboards of areas under tropical cyclone warning signal #1 as well as the eastern seaboards of Southern Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

According to PAGASA, TD Falcon is less likely to make landfall but it may intensify into a tropical storm as it approaches extreme Northern Luzon tomorrow afternoon or evening.

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Death toll in Nepal floods rises to 55, thousands displaced

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

The death toll in Nepal from flash floods and landslides rose to 55 on Sunday (July 14), with dozens missing and injured, the government said.

Ten thousand people have been displaced from their homes as incessant monsoon rains pounded many areas in mostly mountainous Nepal since Thursday (July 11), submerging large areas of land, inundating homes, and destroying bridges and roads across the country.

A Home Ministry statement said 55 people had been confirmed dead and 33 injured, with 30 still missing.

India’s north eastern state of Assam has also been hard hit by the floods brought by the monsoon, with at least 1.5 million people displaced and 10 dead.

In the Chittagong division of Bangladesh there have been 10 deaths and about 500,000 displaced, with 200 villages flooded.

Officials said in some areas rains had eased but rivers in the eastern part of the country were still above flood level.

The Kosi River, which flows into the eastern Indian state of Bihar, was among those that had risen above the flood level.

The Kosi has been a serious concern for both India and Nepal since it broke its banks in 2008 and changed course, submerging large areas of land and affecting more than 2 million people in India’s Bihar state. (REUTERS)

(Production: Emily Cooper)

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Iran ready to talk to U.S. if sanctions lifted

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, July 15th, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaking at televised address | Courtesy: Reuters footage

Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday (July 14).

“When a big power that is a bully, well then we have to stand up to it. It must stop being a bully. We have always believed in talks. Always, right this hour, right this moment, if they stop the oppression, if they stop the belligerence, if they lift sanctions, return to the table, return to to logic; we are ready,” said Rouhani.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration says it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues.

But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear pact with world powers in May 2018.

Confrontations between Washington and Tehran have escalated, culminating in a plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month that Trump called off at the last minute. (REUTERS)

(Production: Vin Shahrestani)

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