Peru’s Vizcarra flies over Amazon area where quake hit, humble residents lament losses

Robie de Guzman   •   May 27, 2019   •   864

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra (center) | (c) 2019 Thomson Reuters (c) 2019 Thomson Reuters

A magnitude 8 earthquake killed one person, destroyed dozens of homes and disrupted some oil operations as it rocked Peru early on Sunday (May 26), authorities said.

The quake – the biggest to hit Peru since 2007 – was felt across the country and in neighboring Ecuador and Colombia after striking the sparsely-populated region of Loreto in Peru’s northern Amazon.

Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra said the hardest hit areas were the towns of Yurimaguas and Tarapoto. He flew over large swaths of jungle.

A 48-year-old man was killed in the region of Cajamarca after a boulder struck his home, emergency officials said.

Peru’s National Emergency Centre (COEN) said there were at least 11 people injured and more than 50 homes destroyed. Several schools, churches, hospitals, and clinics were also damaged.

TV images showed large fissures in a highway in Cajamarca and piles of mud and debris that had swept onto other roads.

Peru sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where the majority of the world’s seismic activity occurs. (REUTERS)

Afghan president marks Independence Day, vows revenge on wedding attack

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani (Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday (August 19) vowed that they will “avenge” the killing of innocent Afghans, following a suicide blast at a wedding that killed 63 people over the weekend.

Leading an official ceremony held on the Defence Ministry compound in Kabul to mark the country’s 100th Independence Day, Ghani called the attackers cowardly and weak.

“They targeted a completely civilian place and attacked our children and women. And in a brutal way they shed the blood of our countrymen,” Ghani said.

The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the suicide blast at a wedding reception that killed 63 people and wounded nearly 200, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees to a pact with the United States.

While never part of the British empire, Afghanistan gained complete independence from Britain on Aug. 19, 1919. (Reuters)

(Production: Sayed Hassib, Hameed Farzad)

Hong Kong doesn’t need “suggestions” after Trump Tiananmen comments – China

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang (Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

China’s foreign ministry said on Monday (August 19) that Hong Kong doesn’t need “suggestions” after U.S. President Donald Trump told media that a “Tiananmen”-style crackdown on Hong Kong’s recent anti-government protests would harm trade talks between the two countries.

“President Trump has previously said that Hong Kong is part of China and they must solve their problem by themselves. They don’t need any suggestions. We hope the U.S. side can live up their word,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told media in Beijing.

In recent weeks U.S. President Donald Trump has made a series of comments on Hong Kong via twitter, one of which urged Chinese President Xi Jinping to meet with protesters to diffuse weeks of tensions.

Hundreds of China’s People’s Armed Police (PAP) continue to be stationed at a sports stadium in Shenzhen that borders Hong Kong.

The U.S. State Department has said it was “deeply concerned” about the movements, which have prompted worries that the troops could be used to break up protests. (Reuters)

(Wang Shubing, Irene Wang, Joseph Campbell)

Evacuees fleeing Canary Islands wildfire rise to 8,000

Robie de Guzman   •   August 19, 2019

(Image grabbed from Reuters footage)

Around 8,000 people have been evacuated as firefighters battle an out-of-control wildfire in the Spanish island of Gran Canaria, regional authorities said on Monday (August 19).

The blaze, which began on Saturday (August 17) near the town of Tejeda, is advancing on several fronts, propelled by a combination of high temperatures, strong winds and low humidity.

So far, the fire is affecting the mountainous central part of the island rather than coastal areas busy with tourists in the summer months.

A spokeswoman for emergency services in the region told Reuters the fire was very serious and remained out of control.

Sixteen planes and helicopters, as well as more than 700 firefighters, are currently working to contain flames as high as 50 meters, authorities said.

More than 3,400 hectares have burned so far and the fire is moving aggressively towards the northwestern Tamadaba natural park, home to some of the island’s oldest pine forests.

The regional president of Gran Canaria said it was impossible to use airborne means to extinguish the fire in areas where the flames were 50 meters high.

Some 400 firefighters spent the night battling the fire’s flanks, hoping to choke it off as it moved towards more populated areas.

The blaze marks the second time that Tejeda has been evacuated this month due to wildfire. (Reuters)

(Production: Borja Suarez, Catherine Macdonald)

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