Ghana building collapse traps dozens, kills 4

Updated 10 November 2012
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Ghana building collapse traps dozens, kills 4

ACCRA, Ghana: Authorities on Thursday blamed faulty construction for the collapse of a five-story building in Ghana’s capital that killed at least four people and trapped dozens of others until they were freed by crews picking through broken concrete with axes.
The five-story structure housing a popular home goods store crumbled early Wednesday, just nine months after it was built in a working-class neighborhood.
Kate Adobaya, a spokeswoman for Ghana’s National Disaster Management Organization, blamed the building collapse on structural weakness.
“The foundation was not good enough,” she said, adding that crews worked in shifts through the night to search for other possible victims.
President John Dramani Mahama toured the scene Wednesday and told reporters those responsible for the building’s collapse would be punished. The building was being leased by Melcom Ltd., but the retail company did not construct the building, according to the chief operating officer of Melcom Group of Companies.
Ghanaian Information Minister Fritz Baffour says four people are confirmed dead. Accra’s mayor, Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye. said Thursday that 68 people had been pulled from the rubble.
An 18-man team from Israel was expected in Accra later in the day to help locate any remaining survivors.
“The team will make an initial assessment of the site using special equipment and sniffer dogs that will help identify the locations of possible survivors or corpses,” according to a statement signed by the president’s spokesman.
FROM: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS


US targets airlines in latest Iran sanctions move

Updated 10 min 7 sec ago
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US targets airlines in latest Iran sanctions move

WASHINGTON: The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on several Iranian and Turkish companies and a number of aircraft in a move targeting four Iranian airlines.
The companies targeted were linked to Mahan Air and Meraj Air, the US Treasury Department said in a statement. It also said it was targeting a number of their aircraft, as well as aircraft from Caspian Airlines and Pouya Air.
The United States said the two airlines had ferried weapons, fighters and money to proxies in Syria and Lebanon. Washington also threatened sanctions for others granting landing rights and providing services to the aircraft.
"The deceptive practices these airlines employ to illegally obtain services and US goods is yet another example of the duplicitous ways in which the Iranian regime has operated," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
The sanctions were the latest in the United States' efforts to economically strangle Iran with the hopes of blocking the country's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
Earlier this month, the United States withdrew from a 2015 nuclear accord that had lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for curbs to its nuclear program, dismaying US allies.
On Tuesday, the United States imposed sanctions on five Iranians it said had provided Yemen's Houthi movement with weaponry and expertise to launch missiles at cities and oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia.