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 California wildfire leaves coastal city Santa Barbara empty with tourists

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, December 14th, 2017

Santa Barbara is located near the foot of the mountains and locals are often left with no other choice but to immediately retreat when a wildfire erupts.

In the north of Santa Barbara where the wildfire broke out on Dec 4, mountains stretch over 1,200 meters with no place for setting up any separation zone — making it rather difficult for anyone to stay in the vicinity.

Despite the ongoing winter holidays and upcoming celebrations, no one has been seen either along the west coast of the county — known for one of its popular beach resorts.

Hundred and ninety-two roads passing through Santa Barbara have been completely closed down. As of Tuesday morning, only 20 percent of the raging fire was brought under control, according to the local fire department.

But the wall of flames of the Thomas fire on Tuesday afternoon was about 200 yards away from and inching closer to expensive mansions in Montecito, one of the richest communities in the United States.

“It has burned down to some beautiful homes. We are asking residents to have defensible space, have a plan. When we ask you to evacuate it is for your own safety. We have already had one fatality very early on in the fire and we don’t want to lose any more people. I am happy to report that we haven’t had any more civilian injuries or deaths,” said California fire department spokesman Captain Steve Concialdi.

The Thomas fire, which broke out on Dec. 4 near the community of Ojai, has since spread 27 miles to become the fifth largest blaze in state history. It has blackened more than 366 square miles in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, an area larger than New York City.

“It’s pretty devastating. I mean, I’ve lived here for 25 years, been through quite a few fires, and this one I think has surpassed all those other experiences in terms of the devastation and the impact it’s had on the area. And there air, it’s just been phenomenal,” said Frank Palmieri, a bookkeeper from the city.

There’s bad stuff in the air. And, you don’t know what it’s doing to your body, so [I’m] wearing a mask now. But it feels awful, headaches, I get a little nauseous,” said Jamey Geston, a student at Santa Barbara City College.

Officials said that while the conflagration charred another 2,500 acres overnight, a break in the hot, dry Santa Ana winds on Tuesday sapped its forward momentum and allowed crews to prevent further damage to homes.

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U.S., South Korea and Japan discuss military drills, North Korea denuclearization

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attends a bilateral meeting with South Korea’s President Jae-in at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, South Korea June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-ji/Pool

SEOUL, South Korea – The top diplomats from United States, South Korea, and Japan promised on Thursday (June 14) to work together to ensure North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons programme after U.S President Donald Trump’s summit with the North’s leader Kim Jong Un.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met in Seoul two days after Trump and Kim signed a statement agreeing to pursue the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Pompeo insisted that Pyongyang was committed to giving up its nuclear arsenal but said it would “be a process, not an easy one,” while Kono said he expects arrangements to be made for a summit between Japan and North Korea to resolve long-standing issues.- Reuters

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Trump, Trudeau, and Pena Nieto celebrate 2026 World Cup bid win with tweets

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2018

The United States, Mexico and Canada will jointly host the 2026 World Cup, overwhelmingly winning a vote by soccer’s world governing body on Wednesday (June 13), even though U.S. President Donald Trump has frayed relations with his neighbors and others during his 18 months in office.

Trump, who has called for a wall to be built on the U.S. southern border and paid for by Mexico as part of a tougher immigration policy, just days ago personally criticized Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over a trade dispute.

U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro suggested to reporters on a conference call after Wednesday’s vote at FIFA’s Congress in Moscow that bringing the three countries together was more of a challenge than any Trump effect in overcoming the challenge from the competing bid from Morocco.

The North Americans pledged their tournament would generate an $11 billion profit for FIFA – greater than any previous World Cup finals – a financial shot in the arm for world soccer’s governing body, which has been rocked by a corruption and bribery scandal ensnaring top officials.

Morocco, which has now failed in five bids to host the World Cup, said their tournament would make $5 billion.

Trump praised the outcome on Twitter as the result of “a great deal of hard work.” Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted “We did it!” and Trudeau also took to Twitter to say: “Congratulations to everyone who worked hard on this bid – it’s going to be a great tournament!”

Under Trump, relations between the United States, Canada, and Mexico have plumbed new lows thanks to disputes in the renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, a $1.1 trillion trade pact that ties the three countries’ economies together and which Trump has said should be scrapped.

Although it will be the first World Cup to be hosted by three countries, most matches will be played in the United States. As part of the bid, Trump pledged that those traveling to the United States for the tournament would not be subject to stringent visa restrictions.

Even if Trump were to be elected for a second four-year term in 2020 he would not be president when the World Cup kicks off in 2026. — Reuters

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China tells U.S. ‘now is the time’ if it wants peace with N. Korea

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, May 24th, 2018

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hold a joint news conference after their meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 23, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

A senior Chinese official told the United States on Wednesday (May 23) if it wants peace with North Korea now is the time for a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“I told our U.S. colleagues that if you want to solve the problem, now is the time. If you want peace, now is the time. If you want to make history, now is the time,” Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi told a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In an unrelated incident, news an American citizen working at the U.S. consulate in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has reported suffering from “abnormal” sounds and pressure leading to a mild brain injury, the U.S. embassy said.

The embassy, which issued a health alert to Americans living in China, said it could not link the case to health issues suffered by U.S. government staff in Cuba dating back to late 2016.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was concerned about the “serious medical incident” and raised it with China’s visiting State Councillor Wang Yi.

“We notified China of what took place as best we know it and they have responded in a way that is exactly the right response,” Pompeo told a news conference with Wang. “We’re working together to resolve (this) … I hope we can figure it out.”

The unnamed American citizen assigned to the consulate in Guangzhou had reported a variety of “physical symptoms” dating from late 2017 to April this year, the U.S. embassy in Beijing said in an email.

The worker was sent to the United States for further evaluation. “The clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI),” the embassy said.

The U.S. government in October expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States for what it said was Cuba’s failure to protect staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana from mysterious health incidents at one point thought to possibly have been acoustic “attacks”. — Reuters

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