Gas explosion in New Zealand’s Christchurch injures several people
Robie de Guzman • July 20, 2019 • 1043
New Zealand emergency services evacuated residents near what they said was a suspected gas explosion in the South Island city of Christchurch on Friday (July 19) that left a house on fire and several people injured.
The city remains on edge four months after a lone gunman killed 51 people and wounded dozens in attacks on two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand’s worst peacetime mass shooting.
There was no indication that Friday’s blast had any wider security implications.
Police said in a statement that initial reports suggested that a number of people had been injured in the incident in the residential suburb of Northwood. Media reports said six people had been taken to hospital.
A house was on fire and police had closed roads and were carrying out evacuations following what they described as a “serious incident.” (REUTERS)
G7 leaders joined in a family photo on Sunday (August 25) at the French resort hosting the summit which has been troubled by differences between U.S. President Donald Trump and Western allies over a raft of issues.
Trump, a turbulent presence at last year’s G7 gathering, insisted on Sunday that he was getting along well with other leaders of a group that also includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.
But rifts emerged on issues from his intensifying trade war with China to the nuclear ambitions of both Iran and North Korea, and the question of whether Russian President Vladimir Putin should be readmitted to the group.
While the transatlantic rift is the most stark, there are also deep divisions within the European camp, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson making his G7 debut at a time when he is struggling to persuade EU capitals to renegotiate Britain’s exit from the bloc, which Johnson has said will happen on October 31 come what may.
The G7 leaders were joined in the family photo by several African leaders as well as leaders from India, Australia, Chile and Spain, whom Macron invited to the Sunday dinner to broaden the scope of debate.
In the front row, Trump, Macron stood alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, while Johnson stood at the end of the row. (Reuters)
The government of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on early Monday morning condemned the violent acts by protesters in Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan and other districts on Sunday.
Protests turned violent in Tsuen Wan, in the western New Territories of Hong Kong, as radical protesters hurled petrol bombs at police officers and brutally assaulted them.
In response to the violence on Sunday, a Government spokesman said the following:
In the procession and assembly in Kwai Tsing and Tsuen Wan yesterday, despite that a Letter of No Objection had been issued following discussion between the Police and the organizer, some protesters deviated from the original route during the procession, blocked roads, confronted the police, wantonly attacked police officers with things like bricks and iron rods, and hurled petrol bombs at police vehicles and officers many times, seriously breaching the public peace and posing a grave threat to the safety of police officers on duty as well as the members of the public at the scene.
Some protesters removed a national flag at Kwai Chung Sports Ground, the assembly venue, and trampled on it. The act challenges the national authority and allegedly violates the National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance.
At night, some radical protesters vandalized with violence a number of shops in Tsuen Wan. The police officers attending the scene were attacked by a number of violent protesters at one point and, with the officers’ lives under threat, an officer fired a warning shot into the air. The radical protesters’ violent acts later also spread to various areas including Sham Shui Po, Tsim Sha Tsui and the Kowloon entrances of the Cross-Harbor Tunnel.
The escalating illegal and violent acts of radical protesters are not only outrageous, they also push Hong Kong to the verge of a very dangerous situation. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government severely condemns these acts and the Police will strictly follow up on them.
The HKSAR Government appeals to members of the public to combat violence and uphold the rule of law together so that order can be restored in society as soon as possible. (Reuters)
Firefighters battled wildfires raging through Bolivia’s Robore region and the town of San Lorenzo on Sunday (August 25) that have engulfed rural villages and doubled in size since Thursday (August 22).
Bolivian President Evo Morales on Sunday said he was now open to international aid to fight the blazes that have burned unabated across vast swaths of hilly tropical forest and savannah near Bolivia’s border with Paraguay and Brazil. At least 1 million hectares, or approximately 3,800 square miles, have been impacted by the fires, officials said.
Video filmed by firefighter David Nina showed crews extinguishing fire in bushland, and walking through burnt out forest areas. In another video filmed by evangelical church volunteer David Ortiz, volunteers are seen helping people in a town and residents fleeing from impending danger.
Bolivia late last week contracted a Boeing 747 “Supertanker” from the United States to help with the fire-fighting, and has mobilised more than 2,000 firefighters, as well as small aircraft and helicopters. But the area affected by wildfire has nonetheless nearly doubled since Thursday.
Thousands of wildfires are also decimating the neighbouring Brazilian Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest.
The blazes have nearly doubled this year compared with the same period in 2018, prompting global outrage. (Reuters)
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