Merkel pushes for 3-way “Jamaica” coalition in Germany

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a meeting of her conservative CDU’s youth organization, the Junge Union (Young Union), in Dresden on October 7. (Reuters)
Updated 07 October 2017
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Merkel pushes for 3-way “Jamaica” coalition in Germany

DRESDEN, Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged her conservatives on Saturday to try to forge a nationally untested three-way alliance with the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens, her most explicit backing yet for the so-called Jamaica coalition.
Merkel, whose conservatives won a fourth term in the September 24 election but bled support to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), needs to form a coalition, most likely a Jamaica alliance, named for the black, yellow and green party colors which match Jamaica’s flag.
Merkel said a special party meeting should be held to let members of her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) vote on any coalition deal.
“I advise everyone to concentrate on what lies ahead,” Merkel told young members of her Christian Democrats (CDU) in Dresden.
“First between the CDU and (Bavarian) Christian Social Union (CSU) then with the Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens and to understand the mandate that voters handed us,” she said.
She also said she believed agreement between her CDU and her CSU Bavarian sister party was possible even though they are at odds on migration policy. The two parties meet on Sunday.
“I will do everything I can to move forward...With good will, that should be possible,” Merkel said.


Philippine villages at risk of landslides forcibly evacuated

Updated 21 September 2018
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Philippine villages at risk of landslides forcibly evacuated

  • Authorities have limited the number of rescuers and other people inside the stricken villages
  • About 270 government troops and policemen were deployed to prevent residents from returning to high-risk villages

NAGA, Philippines: Philippine troops and police forcibly evacuated residents of five villages vulnerable to landslides after the collapse of a mountainside buried dozens of homes and killed at least 22 people in a central region.
Some residents left on their own, but the bulk of more than 1,200 people in villages adjacent or near the landslide-hit area were forcibly moved by authorities Thursday night, police Chief Superintendent Debold Sinas said Friday.
Survivors heard a thunderous roar, crashing and banging when the mountainside fell onto rural houses and shanties in two villages in Naga city on Thursday morning. Some trapped in the sludge managing to send text messages pleading for help but the messages stopped within a few hours.
Distraught relatives begged for more backhoes to be brought to the mound of earth and debris, where they hoped loved ones could be pulled out alive, but there were far too few machines to dig for the dozens of people missing.
Resident Nimrod Parba said one of his trapped relatives called for help about three hours after the landslide hit, entombing 13 of his kin. “They are still under the rubble, they are still there. They are covered in shallow earth, we need a backhoe,” Parba said.
A man embracing a child in a house was dug out by rescuers using a backhoe Thursday night in a poignant scene witnessed by journalists.
Authorities have limited the number of rescuers and other people inside the stricken villages, fearing heavy rains on the loose and soaked ground could cause new slides. Thursday’s landslide also covered part of a river, prompting officials to order a temporary canal to be dug.
About 270 government troops and policemen were deployed to prevent residents from returning to high-risk villages, Sinas said.
President Rodrigo Duterte is to visit Naga city in Cebu province later Friday as he faces his latest crisis.
The landslide in the central region occurred as parts of the far northern Philippine deal with damage from a typhoon that hit last weekend. At least 95 people were killed and more than 50 are missing, many in the gold-mining town of Itogon in the north where landslides hit houses and a chapel where people had gathered in the storm.
Cebu province was not directly hit by Typhoon Mangkhut but the storm intensified the seasonal monsoon rains that normally fall in tropical Asia.
It’s not clear what set off the landslide, but some residents blamed limestone quarries, which they suspect may have caused cracks in the mountainside facing their villages.
The Philippines is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. It is lashed by about 20 tropical storms each year and has active seismic faults where earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Poverty forces many people to live in those vulnerable areas, making natural disasters more deadly.