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Magnitude 7.5 quake shakes Australian City

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

Evacuated people standing outside | Courtesy : Reuters

A deep earthquake of magnitude 7.5 struck off the coasts of East Timor and Indonesia on Monday (June 24) with the shaking felt in Australia’s northern city of Darwin, about 700 km (435 miles) from the epicenter, but no damage was reported.

Witnesses in Darwin told of shaking and trembling, as they were evacuated out of buildings in the city center.

The quake, initially recorded at a magnitude of 7.2, hit out at sea at a depth of 220 km (136 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

There is no tsunami threat because of the quake’s depth, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said in a statement. (REUTERS)

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Lawmakers call Trump’s attack as attempt to distract from his policies

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Four minority U.S. congresswomen, known as the “the squad”, accused President Donald Trump of trying to sow division and distract attention from what they characterized as failed policies on immigration, health care and taxation on Monday (July 15).

“This president does not know how to make the argument that Americans do not deserve health care. He does not know how to defend his policies. So, what he does is attack us personally and that is what this is all about,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York – Democrat) said.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts – Democrat) urged the public to “not take the bait” following Trump’s Twitter messages on Sunday (July 14) that said the lawmakers should go back to “the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

All four of the first-term House members are U.S. citizens and all but one were born in the United States.

The president’s remarks were widely derided and some, though not many, of his fellow Republicans spoke out against them.

Trump did not identify the lawmakers by name in his Sunday tweets, but he appeared to refer to representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

“This is not the first, nor will it be the last time we hear disgusting, bigoted language from the president,” Rep. Rashida Tlaib (Michigan- Democrat) said.

Omar said Trump’s remarks were rooted in the “agenda of white nationalists.”

Tlaib and Omar repeated their calls for Trump to be impeached. (REUTERS)

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Trump tells Democratic congresswomen to ‘go back’ to ‘fix’ countries they came from

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

(L-R) Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts | Courtesy: Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday (July 14) told a group of mostly American-born Democratic congresswomen to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” a comment that was condemned by Democrats as racist.

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe… viciously telling the people of the United States… how our government is to be run,” Trump said in a series of three comments on Twitter.

While he did not mention names, Trump appeared to be referring to first-year Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan – a group known as “the squad” that has been very critical of Trump and also of the current Democratic leadership of the House.

Only Omar, whose family left Somalia as refugees and arrived in Minneapolis in 1997, was born outside the United States.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, has feuded with the group in an increasingly bitter intra-party fight, but came to their defense Sunday along with other Democratic colleagues. She called Trump’s comments “xenophobic.”

“When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again,” she said on Twitter. (REUTERS)

(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)

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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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