Wednesday 12 August 2020
News ID: 75133
Publish Date: 15 January 2020 - 22:07
MANILA (AFP) -- Philippine authorities were struggling Wednesday to keep thousands of evacuees from returning to homes in areas threatened by a feared massive eruption of Taal volcano. Some 40,000 people have taken refuge in shelters since the volcano let loose a towering burst of ash and jets of lava on Sunday. Police subsequently set up no-go zones and mandatory evacuations in at-risk towns around Taal, which is about 65 kilometres (40 miles) south of Manila. But days later locals are losing patience and demanding access, even as the nation’s seismological agency warns the volcano could unleash a more powerful eruption at any time. Melvin Casilao said he and his neighbors in the town of Talisay need to feed their livestock, remove the thick ash from their roofs and pull their boats from the water.

BEIJING (AP) — The possibility that a new virus in central China could spread between humans cannot be ruled out, though the risk of transmission at the moment appears to be low, Chinese officials said Wednesday. Forty-one people in the city of Wuhan have received a preliminary diagnosis of a novel coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both the common cold and more serious diseases. A 61-year-old man with severe underlying conditions died from the coronavirus on Saturday. While preliminary investigations indicate that most of the patients had worked at or visited a particular seafood wholesale market, one woman may have contracted the virus from her husband, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a public notice. The commission said the husband, who fell ill first, worked at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market. Meanwhile, the wife said she hasn’t had any exposure to the market.

MADRID (Reuters) -- Firefighters have found the body of a second victim following a massive explosion and fire at a chemical factory in northeastern Spain, they said on Wednesday. The explosion in Tarragona a day earlier left another eight injured, rescue officials said, and the fire continued to burn on Wednesday. While the blaze has been brought under control, local authorities said on Twitter they had yet to identify the second victim: "There is structural risk in the area and work is being done to stabilize the area and safely reach the victim.” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s office said he was in touch with Catalan authorities and that Madrid was ready to "provide the necessary support due to this serious event, which has caused several injuries and substantial material damage.” The plant is operated by petrochemicals firm Industrias Quimicas del Oxido de Etileno (IQOXE), a producer of ethylene oxide, a highly flammable gas used to make, among other things, ethylene glycol used in computers and vehicles.
TOKYO (Reuters) -- Russian authorities have seized a Japanese cod fishing boat and taken it to a Russian-controlled island claimed by Japan, media reports and a fishermen’s association said on Wednesday. Six fishermen were on the boat but further details were not known, an official at Habomai fishermen’s cooperative association in Japan’s northern region of Hokkaido, said. The boat was inspected by Russian border guards and was taken to a port at Kunashiri island, Kyodo news agency and public broadcaster NHK reported. There was no immediate comment from Russian authorities. Kunashiri island is one of the four Russian-held islands off Hokkaido, which Japan calls the Northern Territories, known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia. The seizure of the Japanese vessel came after Russia last month released five Japanese fishing boats detained near Russian-held islands claimed by Japan.

CARACAS (Dispatches) -- Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro says he welcomes international observers to monitor the country’s elections due to be held later this year. Maduro said the "European Union, the secretary general of the United Nations” and "all the international organizations” are welcome to observe the legislative elections. "Open doors for international accompaniment, Welcome! Welcome!,” Maduro told the ruling Constituent Assembly. The president, however, said head of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Almagro would never be allowed for the elections. The OAS has recognized opposition figure Juan Guaido as "interim president” after he declared himself such early last year.

TOKYO (Reuters) -- Tokyo-based human rights activists on Wednesday decried recent remarks by Japan’s ambassador to Yangon, who told local media he did not think the Myanmar military committed genocide on the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country. More than 730,000 Rohingya fled the Southeast Asian nation to Bangladesh in 2017 after a military-led crackdown. The United Nations has said the campaign was executed with "genocidal intent” and included mass killings and rape. The military offensive has sparked a series of ongoing legal cases filed in recent months at courts across the globe, including the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ), both based in the Hague. Zaw Min Htut, vice president of an advocacy group, Burmese Rohingya Association in Japan, said the ambassador’s remarks were "disturbing”. "I am very disappointed and appealing again to the Japanese government. Please try to help Rohingya people and don’t side with criminals,” Zaw Min Htut told foreign correspondents in Tokyo.

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