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Landslide Buries Mountain Village in SW China, Fears for 100 People

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(Last Updated On: June 24, 2017)

A landslide on Saturday morning in China’s southwestern Sichuan province has buried the homes of around 100 people, according to the official Xinhua news agency, citing local authorities.

Xinhua did not give an estimate of the number killed or injured, but it said the landslide had covered 40 homes in Xinmo village in Maoxian county, a remote mountainous area of north Sichuan close to the region of Tibet.

The landslide blocked a two-kilometer (1.24 miles) stretch of a nearby river, according to Xinhua.

State television reports showed villagers and rescuers scrambling over piles of mud and rocks that had slid down a long steep slope. Xinhua said there were 400 people involved in the rescue effort and 6 ambulances were at the scene, and more were on their way.

Police have closed roads in the county to all traffic except for emergency services, the news agency said

There is an extensive network of dams in the region, including two hydropower plants in Diexi town near the buried village.

The area is prone to earthquakes, including one in 1933 that resulted in parts of Diexi town becoming submerged by a nearby lake, and an 8.0 magnitude tremor in central Sichuan’s Wenchuan county in 2008 that killed nearly 70,000 people.

Written by: Reuters

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Australia ousts conservatives after nine years, Albanese to be PM

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(Last Updated On: May 22, 2022)

Australia’s Labor Party was set to end almost a decade of conservative rule as the government was swept away in Saturday’s election by a wave of support for candidates who campaigned for more action on climate change and may hold the balance of power.

Partial results showed that while Labor had made small gains, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s Liberal-National coalition had been punished by voters in Western Australia and affluent urban seats in particular, Reuters reported.

“Tonight, I have spoken to the leader of the opposition and the incoming prime minister, Anthony Albanese. And I’ve congratulated him on his election victory this evening,” said Morrison.

Albanese, speaking as he headed to his party celebrations, said he wanted to unite the country and “end the climate wars”.

“I think people want to come together, look for our common interest, look towards that sense of common purpose. I think people have had enough of division, what they want is to come together as a nation and I intend to lead that.”

Albanese said he aimed to be sworn in swiftly so he could attend a meeting of the Quad security grouping in Tokyo on Tuesday. He promised constitutional recognition and parliamentary representation for Indigenous Aboriginals, as well as the establishment of an anti-corruption commission.

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Almost 60 million people displaced worldwide, study finds

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(Last Updated On: May 21, 2022)

The number of people displaced within their own borders rose to an all-time high by the end of last year, with a total at least 59.1 million people having left their homes, a new study has shown.

According to data collated by the internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC), this has been as a result of violence or disasters.

This is up from the 55 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) recorded in the IDMC’s previous annual world survey and includes high numbers of new IDPs in Afghanistan, Burkino Faso, Ethiopia and Yemen, the IDMC said.

More than half of all IDPs are now under the age of 25, while 25.2 million of this group are under the age of 18, raising significant questions about the effects of global instability on younger generations.

Of all the internal displacements driven by conflict and violence last year, 80 per cent of them occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa due to fighting in places including the Central African Republic, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Commenting on the report, Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, which set up the IDMC 24 years ago to document IDPs who would otherwise go “unseen”, said the findings showed the world was in a state of ill health.

“The world is falling apart, too many countries are falling apart,” he said. “2021 was, as we documented here, a very bleak year and 2022 is proving to become even worse,” he said, adding that the war in Ukraine would lead to a new record this year.

These figures don’t include the millions displaced in the past two months in Ukraine.

Between the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion on 24 February and 5 May, the UN estimates that more than 6 million people fled Ukraine, while another 7.7 million people had become internally displaced.

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Blinken accuses Russia of using food as a weapon in Ukraine

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(Last Updated On: May 20, 2022)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia on Thursday of using food as a weapon in Ukraine by holding “hostage” supplies for not just Ukrainians, but also millions around the world.

A senior official in Moscow later rejected the allegations, saying Russians were “not idiots” and would not export food while being subject to tough sanctions.

Addressing the United Nations Security Council, Blinken appealed to Russia to stop blockading Ukrainian ports.

“The Russian government seems to think that using food as a weapon will help accomplish what its invasion has not – to break the spirit of the Ukrainian people,” he said.

“The food supply for millions of Ukrainians and millions more around the world has quite literally been held hostage.”

The war in Ukraine has caused global prices for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer to soar.

Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies. Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, while Russia and Belarus – which has backed Moscow in its war in Ukraine – account for more than 40% of global exports of potash, a crop nutrient.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said Russians were skilled at producing food needed throughout the world under the right circumstances.

“Everything turns out to be illogical – on the one hand, crazy sanctions are introduced while on the other hand there are demands to supply food,” wrote Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council.

“Things don’t work like that. We are not idiots.”

Medvedev said producing harvests required people skilled in agriculture, as well as proper equipment and fertilizer.

“Russia knows how to do this,” he wrote. “We have all the opportunities to ensure there is food in other countries, so that there are no crises. Just don’t prevent us from working.”

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, dismissed as “absolutely false” any suggestion that Russia was to blame for a global food crisis that had been brewing for several years.

He accused Ukraine of holding foreign vessels in its ports and mining the waters.

“The decision to weaponize food is Moscow’s and Moscow’s alone,” Blinken said.

“Some 20 million tons of grain sit unused in Ukrainian silos as global food supply dwindle (and) prices skyrocket.”

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is trying to broker a deal allowing Ukraine to resume food exports and revive Russian food and fertilizer production to world markets.

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