Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing

Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP)
Update In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP)
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In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a partially collapsed building is seen in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP)
Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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This photo taken and released by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) on April 3, 2024 shows commuters on a Taipei Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) platform as transport was temporary stopped following a 7.4 magnitude earthquake that hit Taiwan's east. (AFP)
Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a man checks a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP)
Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, residents rescue a child from a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP)
Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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In this image taken from a video footage run by TVBS, a woman stands near a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP)
Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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A view from behind a window as debris falls from a building, during an earthquake just off the eastern coast of Taiwan, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Administration, in New Taipei City, Taiwan, April 3, 2024, in this still image obtained from a social media video. (REUTERS)
Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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People evacuate to higher ground after a tsunami warning following a powerful earthquake in Naha, Okinawa prefecture, Japan, Wednesday, April 3, 2024. (AP)
Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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A view of a damaged apartment following an earthquake offshore, in New Taipei City, Taiwan April 3, 2024. (REUTERS)
Update Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
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A view of a damaged apartment following an earthquake offshore, in New Taipei City, Taiwan April 3, 2024. (REUTERS)
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Updated 03 April 2024
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Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing

Taiwan’s strongest earthquake in 25 years kills 9 people, 50 missing
  • The city’s mayor, Hsu Chen-Wei, said all residents and businesses in buildings that were in a dangerous state had been evacuated
  • Video showed rescuers using ladders to help trapped people out of windows

HUALIEN, Taiwan: Taiwan’s biggest earthquake in at least 25 years killed nine people on Wednesday and injured more than 900, while 50 workers traveling in minibuses to a hotel in a national park were missing.
Some buildings tilted at precarious angles in the mountainous, sparsely populated county of Hualien, near the epicenter of the 7.2 magnitude quake, which struck just offshore at about 8 a. m. (0000 GMT) and triggered massive landslides.
Linda Chen, 48, said her apartment in downtown Hualien city had been so badly damaged in an earlier earthquake in 2018 that they had to move house. But her new apartment block was damaged too in the latest earthquake.
“We worry the house could collapse anytime. We thought we had already experienced it once in Hualien and it would not hit us again, because God has to be fair,” she said.
“We are frightened. We are so nervous.”
The city’s mayor, Hsu Chen-Wei, said all residents and businesses in buildings that were in a dangerous state had been evacuated. Demolition work was beginning on four buildings, the mayor said. The power of the quake was captured live as news anchors delivered their bulletins, steadying themselves against giant screens as their sets swayed and lighting rigs rocked back and forth overhead. The earthquake hit at a depth of 15.5 km (9.6 miles), as people were headed for work and school, setting off a tsunami warning for southern Japan and the Philippines that was later lifted.
Video showed rescuers using ladders to help trapped people out of windows. Strong tremors in Taipei forced the subway system to close briefly, although most lines resumed service.
Fire authorities said they had already evacuated some 70 people trapped in tunnels near Hualien city, including two Germans.
But they had lost contact with 50 workers aboard four minibuses heading to a hotel in a national park, Taroko Gorge, they said, and rescuers were looking for them. Another 80 people are trapped in a mining area, though it was not immediately clear if they were inside a mine. On a highway through the mountains, huge boulders from a landslide were strewn across the road. The Fire Bureau of Taichung City Government said it rescued a man in his 50s who was unconscious in a truck.

FIGHTER JETS
A woman who runs bed-and-breakfast accommodation in Hualien city said she scrambled to calm her guests who were scared by the quake.
“This is the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced,” said the woman, who asked to be identified only by her family name, Chan.
The government put the number of injured at 946.
“At present the most important thing, the top priority, is to rescue people,” said President-elect Lai Ching-te, speaking outside one of the collapsed buildings in Hualien.
The rail link to the area was expected to re-open on Thursday, Lai, who is set to take office next month, told reporters.
The White House said the US stood ready to provide any assistance necessary.
Taiwan’s air force said six F-16 fighter jets had been slightly damaged at a major base in the city from which jets are often scrambled to see off incursions by China’s air force, but the aircraft are expected to return to service very soon.
In Japan, the weather agency put the quake’s magnitude at 7.7, saying several small tsunami waves reached parts of the southern prefecture of Okinawa, while downgrading its tsunami warning to an advisory.
In the Philippines, seismology officials warned coastal residents in several provinces to move to higher ground.
Chinese state media said the quake was felt in the southeastern province of Fujian, while a Reuters witness said it was also felt in the commercial hub of Shanghai.

CHIP SUPPLIES
Aftershocks could still be felt in Taipei, with more than 50 recorded, weather officials said.
Most power has been restored after the quake, electricity utility Taipower said, with the island’s two nuclear power stations unaffected.
Taiwan’s high-speed rail operator said no damage or injuries were reported on its trains, although services would be delayed as it made inspections.
A major supplier of chips to Apple and Nvidia , Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, said it had evacuated some fabrication plants and safety systems were operating normally.
It said later its workers were safe and had returned to their workplaces shortly after the earthquake. It said impacted facilities were expected to resume production during the night.
TSMC’s Taipei-listed shares ended down 1.3 percent, but the benchmark index largely brushed off the quake’s impact to close down 0.6 percent.
The official central news agency said the quake was the biggest since one of magnitude 7.6 in 1999 that killed about 2,400 people and damaged or destroyed 50,000 buildings.
Taiwan weather officials ranked Wednesday’s quake in Hualien as “Upper 6,” or the second-highest level of intensity on a scale ranging from 1 to 7.
Such quakes collapse walls unless they are made of reinforced concrete blocks, while people cannot stand upright and must crawl in order to move, experts say.


Google fires at least 20 more workers who protested its $1.2bn contract with Israel

Google fires at least 20 more workers who protested its $1.2bn contract with Israel
Updated 6 min 17 sec ago
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Google fires at least 20 more workers who protested its $1.2bn contract with Israel

Google fires at least 20 more workers who protested its $1.2bn contract with Israel

NEW YORK: Google fired at least 20 more workers in the aftermath of protests over technology the company is supplying the Israeli government amid the Gaza war, bringing the total number of terminated staff to more than 50, a group representing the workers said.

It’s the latest sign of internal turmoil at the tech giant centered on “Project Nimbus,” a $1.2 billion contract signed in 2021 for Google and Amazon to provide the Israeli government with cloud computing and artificial intelligence services.

Workers held sit-in protests last week at Google offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California. The company responded by calling the police, who made arrests.

The group organizing the protests, No Tech For Apartheid, said the company fired 30 workers last week — higher than the initial 28 they had announced.

Then, on Tuesday night, Google fired “over 20” more staffers, “including non-participating bystanders during last week’s protests,” said Jane Chung, a spokeswoman for No Tech For Apartheid, without providing a more specific number.

“Google’s aims are clear: the corporation is attempting to quash dissent, silence its workers, and reassert its power over them,” Chung said in a press release. “In its attempts to do so, Google has decided to unceremoniously, and without due process, upend the livelihoods of over 50 of its own workers.”

Google said it fired the additional workers after its investigation gathered details from coworkers who were “physically disrupted” and it identified employees who used masks and didn’t carry their staff badges to hide their identities. It didn’t specify how many were fired.

The company disputed the group’s claims, saying that it carefully confirmed that “every single one of those whose employment was terminated was personally and definitively involved in disruptive activity inside our buildings.”

The Mountain View, California, company had previously signaled that more people could be fired, with CEO Sundar Pichai indicati ng in a blog post that employees would be on a short leash as the company intensifies its efforts to improve its AI technology.


Britain’s home secretary touts UK-Rwanda migrant deportation deal during visit to Italy

Britain’s home secretary touts UK-Rwanda migrant deportation deal during visit to Italy
Updated 40 min 4 sec ago
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Britain’s home secretary touts UK-Rwanda migrant deportation deal during visit to Italy

Britain’s home secretary touts UK-Rwanda migrant deportation deal during visit to Italy
  • Deal, in which Britain will pay Rwanda to process the migrants, is aimed at deterring people from crossing the English Channel from France
  • It is similar in some basic aspects to Italy’s controversial pact to outsource the processing of asylum-seekers to Italian-run centers in Albania

ROME: Britain’s home secretary on Tuesday touted Britain’s migrant deportation deal with Rwanda as a “new and creative” deterrent to an old and growing problem. But he said he took seriously criticism by the UN refugee agency that it violates international law.
Home Secretary James Cleverly visited Italy, ground zero in Europe’s migration debate, hours after the UK Parliament approved legislation to enable the government to deport some people to Rwanda who enter Britain illegally.
The deal, in which Britain will pay Rwanda to process the migrants, is aimed at deterring people from crossing the English Channel from France. It is similar in some basic aspects to Italy’s controversial pact to outsource the processing of asylum-seekers to Italian-run centers in Albania.
Human rights groups have said both deals, forged by conservative governments amid anti-migrant sentiment among voters, violate the rights of migrants that are enshrined in international refugee conventions.
On Tuesday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees said the UK-Rwanda deal is “not compatible with international refugee law” because it uses an asylum model “that undermines global solidarity and the established international refugee protection system.”
Cleverly defended the deal as a necessary response to a problem that has outgrown the international institutional way of processing migrants. He said Britain will not tolerate people smugglers determining who arrives on British soil.
“People-smuggling mass migration has changed (and) I think demands us to be constantly innovating,” he told a gathering at the Institute of International Affairs, a Rome-based think tank.
He said he took seriously the UNCHR criticism and said Britain was a law-abiding country.
“Of course we will respect the UN enormously,” he said when asked about the UNHCR criticism. “We take it very, very seriously. Doesn’t mean to say we always agree with their assessment. But we will, of course, look at that.”
Cleverly visited the Italian coast guard headquarters on Tuesday and on Wednesday is to visit the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, where tens of thousands of migrants have arrived after crossing the Mediterranean Sea on boats setting off from northern Africa.
Lampedusa is closer to Africa than the Italian mainland and is often the destination of choice for migrants, whose numbers reached 157,652 new arrivals in Italy last year.
The numbers arriving in Italy so far this year are actually way down, presumably thanks to Italy’s European Union-endorsed agreement with Tunisia to stem departures. As of Tuesday, 16,090 migrants had arrived by sea in Italy so far this year, compared to 36,324 in this period last year.
Spain has actually outpaced Italy so far this year in terms of migrant sea arrivals, with 16,621 arriving this year as of April 15, the last available date.
In Britain, the numbers pale in comparison to the southern Mediterranean, even during peak periods: In 2022, the number of people arriving in Britain from across the Channel reached 45,774, though last year the number dropped to 29,437.


Ukraine suspends consular services abroad for men of fighting age

Ukraine suspends consular services abroad for men of fighting age
Updated 23 April 2024
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Ukraine suspends consular services abroad for men of fighting age

Ukraine suspends consular services abroad for men of fighting age
  • Ukraine’s foreign affairs ministry “announced a temporary suspension of accepting new applications for consular services” for men between 18 and 60
  • It made an exception for documents allowing Ukrainians to return to Ukraine

KYIV: Ukraine authorities on Tuesday suspended consular services for men of fighting age living abroad, after announcing measures to bring them home amid manpower shortages in the army fighting Russia.
Ukraine’s army has been struggling to hold frontlines, partly due to a lack of soldiers over two years into Russia’s invasion.
Ukraine’s foreign affairs ministry “announced a temporary suspension of accepting new applications for consular services” for men between 18 and 60.
It made an exception for documents allowing Ukrainians to return to Ukraine.
The move would likely oblige Ukrainian men to return from abroad to undergo administrative procedures that were previously available abroad.
The government has already adopted a mobilization law, due to come into force on May 18, that toughens penalties against draft dodgers and obliges men to keep their military registration up-to-date.
The ministry said men would be able to access consular services once the law came into force and “after updating their military registration.”
“Male citizen of Ukraine aged 18 to 60 with valid military registration documents will have full access to consular services,” the ministry said.
Ukrainian men have been forbidden to leave the country since the invasion began, apart from a few exceptions.
But some lived away before the war began, and Ukrainian media estimates that thousands more illegally fled the country.


Major arrests at NYU campus as Gaza protests spread

New York University students set up a
New York University students set up a "Liberated Zone" tent encampment in Gould Plaza at NYU Stern School of Business.
Updated 23 April 2024
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Major arrests at NYU campus as Gaza protests spread

New York University students set up a "Liberated Zone" tent encampment in Gould Plaza at NYU Stern School of Business.
  • Some of America’s most prestigious universities have been rocked by protests in recent weeks
  • On Tuesday, the New York Police Department said 133 people had been arrested at NYU and released after being issued with court summons

NEW YORK: More than 130 people were arrested overnight during pro-Palestinian protests at the New York University campus, as student demonstrations gather pace in the United States over the Israel-Hamas war.
Some of America’s most prestigious universities have been rocked by protests in recent weeks as students and other agitators take over quads and disrupt campus activities.
The demonstrations come amid sweeping debates over Israel’s assault on Gaza, following Hamas’s deadly invasion on October 7.
Such bastions of higher education — Harvard, Yale, Columbia and others — are grappling for a balance between students demanding free speech rights and others who argue that campuses are encouraging intimidation and hate speech.
On Tuesday, the New York Police Department told AFP that 133 people had been arrested at NYU and released after being issued with court summons, as protests also intensify at Yale, Columbia University and other campuses.
As the holiday of Passover began Monday night, police began detaining demonstrators at an encampment at NYU who had earlier refused orders to disperse.
A New York University spokesman said the decision to call police came after additional protesters, many of whom were not thought to be affiliated with NYU, suddenly breached the barriers erected around the encampment.
This “dramatically changed” the situation, the spokesman said in a statement on the school’s website Monday, citing “disorderly, disruptive and antagonizing behavior” along with “intimidated chants and several antisemitic incidents.”
“Given the foregoing and the safety issues raised by the breach, we asked for assistance from the NYPD. The police urged those on the plaza to leave peacefully, but ultimately made a number of arrests.”
The spokesman said the school continues to support freedom of expression and the safety of students.
But protests have grown large and disruptive enough — New York Police Department spokesmen have spoken of their officers facing violence when confronting protesters at NYU — to draw the attention of President Joe Biden and his administration.
“Anti-Semitic hate on college campuses is unacceptable,” US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona posted on X on Tuesday, expressing concern about the unrest.
The protests began last week at Columbia University, also in New York, with a large group of demonstrators establishing a so-called “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” on school grounds.
But more than 100 protesters were arrested after university authorities called the police onto Columbia’s campus Thursday, a move that seemingly escalated tensions and sparked a greater turnout over the weekend.
Social media images late Monday appeared to show pro-Palestinian Jewish students holding traditional seder meals inside the protest areas on campuses including at Columbia.
There were also demonstrations at MIT, the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley and Yale, where at least 47 people were arrested Monday after refusing requests to disperse.


France arrests eight in PKK financing probe

France arrests eight in PKK financing probe
Updated 23 April 2024
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France arrests eight in PKK financing probe

France arrests eight in PKK financing probe
  • The arrests took place in the Paris region and in southern France, the PNAT anti-terror unit said
  • French prosecutors suspect the eight of preparing and financing terrorist acts

PARIS: French police arrested eight men on Tuesday as part of an investigation into the finances of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), banned as a terror organization by Turkiye and its Western allies, anti-terrorism prosecutors told AFP.
The arrests took place in the Paris region and in southern France, the PNAT anti-terror unit said.
The PKK has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkiye, the United States and the European Union.
French prosecutors suspect the eight of preparing and financing terrorist acts, and of conspiring to extort, or attempt to extort, funds to finance a terrorist organistion between 2020 and 2024, the PNAT said.
Investigators believe the eight to be connected to a campaign to collect funds from Kurdish business people and other Kurds in France, a source close to the case added.
Police can hold the suspects for up to 96 hours for questioning, the source said.
Another source said the funds were destined for use in Belgium, where police on Monday raided Kurdish-run media as part of a probe undertaken at the request of a French anti-terror judge, the PNAT said.
The PKK has waged a decades-long insurgency for greater autonomy for the Kurdish minority of Turkiye in the southeast of the country, in a standoff with the Ankara government that remains unresolved to this day.