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New York City apartment building fire kills 19, including 9 children

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(Last Updated On: January 10, 2022)

Nineteen people were killed, including nine children, and dozens were injured from an apartment building fire in The Bronx borough of New York City on Sunday (January 9), according to city officials.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams confirmed 19 people had died from the blaze that broke out around 11 a.m. in a 19-floor affordable housing development.

“The numbers are horrific,” he said. “This is a painful moment for us and the men and women who live here, not only in the Bronx but throughout this city, this is going to be one of the worst fires that we have witnessed during modern times here in the city of New York.”

Earlier on Sunday, officials said 32 people had been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries and some 60 people were injured in total.

A Reuters photographer at the scene on Sunday saw emergency responders performing CPR on at least eight people in front of the building. Firefighters with hose lines were working to push smoke out of the building, and one of them was seen breaking a window on an upper floor to release the fumes.

The cause of the blaze was still under investigation, the city’s fire department commissioner Daniel Nigro told reporters at a news briefing.

U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres, a Democrat whose district includes the building, told MSNBC “decades of disinvestment” in affordable housing developments such as this one poses safety risks to residents and leaves such buildings “wide open to catastrophic fires that can cost people their lives.”

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said the smoke had spread to every floor of the building, likely because the door to the apartment where it started was left open, and that victims had suffered from significant smoke inhalation.

“Members found victims on every floor in stairwells and were taking them out in cardiac and respiratory arrest,” he said.

Some 200 firefighters helped put out the blaze, and some ran out of oxygen in their tanks but pushed through anyway to rescue people from the building, Adams told CNN on Sunday.

This was the second major deadly fire in a residential complex in the U.S. this week after twelve people, including eight children, were killed early on Wednesday when flames swept through a public housing apartment building in Philadelphia.

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More than 100 million people forcibly displaced in the world: UN refugee agency

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(Last Updated On: May 23, 2022)

More than 100 million people have been driven from their homes around the world, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Monday, citing new data about those escaping violence, conflict, persecution and human rights violations.

The war in Ukraine has been one of the factors propelling millions of people to flee, the UNHCR said, adding that protracted conflict in places like Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo were other factors behind the high numbers.

“It’s a record that should never have been set,” said U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi in a statement sent to journalists. “This must serve as a wake-up call to resolve and prevent destructive conflicts, end persecution, and address the underlying causes that force innocent people to flee their homes.”

The UNHCR data includes refugees, asylum seekers and those displaced within their own countries. Last week, an humanitarian body said those displaced within their own countries had reached a record of close to 60 million people by the end of last year.

Grandi urged action to address the causes of displacement, saying humanitarian aid was only treating the consequences.

“To reverse this trend, the only answer is peace and stability so that innocent people are not forced to gamble between acute danger at home or precarious flight and exile,” he added.

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Biden supports Japan becoming permanent member of UNSC

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(Last Updated On: May 23, 2022)

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that he supports Japan becoming a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, NHK public television said on Monday.

Calls have been rising recently for reform of the United Nations Security Council, where both Russia and China are permanent members.

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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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