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August 24, 2016

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake hits central Italy

6.2 Magnitude Earthquake hits central Italy

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

At 3:36am this morning, local time a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck about 10 kilometres southeast of Norcia, Italy. The quake hit at a depth of 10 kilometres, and was felt all the way to Rome, about 100 miles (150 km) away from the town of Norcia.

120 or more people are dead, officials have said, including children, and around 100 people are reported missing. The death toll has risen over the course of the day, and is expected to rise further as scores of people remain unaccounted for. The 6.2 magnitude quake has effected the central towns of Norcia, Pescara del Tronto, Accumoli and Amatrice. Sergio Pirozzi, Amatrice’s mayor, remarked, “Half the town no longer exists”, as most of it has been reduced to rubble. Mayor Pirozzi went on to say rescue teams were digging with the “[hope] that most people were alive.”

File photo of a church in Norcia, Italy, 2003.
Image: Starlight.

After hearing about the devastating effects of the earthquake, Pope Francis postponed a weekly address on religious teachings, instead dedicating a prayer session in Saint Peter’s Square for those effected by the disaster. “[L]earning that there are children among the victims, I am deeply saddened,” Pope Francis told his public.

Authorities have compared today’s earthquake in central Italy to the 2009 earthquake that killed over 300 people in Abruzzo, Italy. Italy’s Civil Protection agency characterized the earthquake as “severe”.



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August 19, 2016

United Nations admit role in Haitian cholera outbreak of 2010

United Nations admit role in Haitian cholera outbreak of 2010

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Friday, August 19, 2016

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For the first time, the United Nations (U.N) has acknowledged its involvement in the Haiti cholera outbreak of 2010, admitting the disease was carried by Nepalese peace workers, contracted with the earthquake relief on behalf of the U.N.. In an email sent this week, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon admitted that the U.N. played a role in the spread of the disease, which affected hundreds of thousands of Haitian people, but he stopped short of admitting sole culpability for the epidemic.

New York University law professor Philip Alston, convinced Secretary General Ban-ki Moon, that the U.N.’s operation lack of basic hygiene checks was legally indefensible: as quoted in the Washington Post.

Image of cholera bacteria though a scanning electron microscope.
Image: Ronald Taylor, Tom Kirn, Louisa Howard.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the gastrointestinal illness hadn’t been recorded on the island nation prior to this outbreak, inviting immediate speculation over how it began.

Medical researchers tracked the disease to Haiti and found that Nepalese representatives had worked for the United Nations immediately after a mission in Nepal where cholera was present.

Reports from the United Nations indicate that this admission will lead to an overhaul in approaches to peacekeeping missions. According to a statement from Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson for the Secretary General, these changes will be developed over the next two months.

The U.N. have long maintained legal immunity in national courts, resulting in the dismissal of a class-action lawsuit in the United States addressing the cholera involvement on Thursday.

The lawsuit was brought by representatives of the victims and their families and sought reparations for the damages brought by the cholera outbreak. The plaintiffs now have the option to appeal to the U.S Supreme Court to overturn this decision.



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August 13, 2016

Vanuatu coast struck by 7.2 magnitude earthquake

Vanuatu coast struck by 7.2 magnitude earthquake

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

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An earthquake, focused off the south-east coast of Vanuatu, struck at 11:26 AM Australian Eastern Standard Time. According to the U.S. Geological Survey the earthquake was first measured as a 7.6 on the Richter scale of magnitude, however after initial testing it was reduced to a 7.2 with a lessened level of potential damage. The aftershock following the initial earthquake was measured at 5.4 magnitude, with no civilian casualties for either quake.

Though the quake was 10 kilometres underwater and approximately 535 kilometres off the coast of Vanuatu, the initial quake triggered the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center to invoke a preliminary local tsunami warning (specifically in New Caledonia, coastal areas of Vanuatu and Fiji). The warning was withdrawn as the seismic activity lessened, and authorities were able to evaluate the damage.

The South Pacific Ocean region has experienced multiple earthquakes and seismic activity over the past year, with Vanuatu in an area known as the ‘Ring of Fire’ due to its position over fault lines circling the Pacific Basin. These fault lines influence the frequency of tectonic movement, tremors, earthquakes and volcanic activity. This earthquake was the second of its magnitude to hit the area in 2016, with a 7.0 magnitude quake hitting offshore in April. Neither earthquake caused large-scale damage or civilian casualties.



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August 11, 2016

Twin bombing at Thailand\’s Hua Hin resort leaves 1 dead, many injured

Twin bombing at Thailand’s Hua Hin resort leaves 1 dead, many injured

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

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On Thursday, two bombs exploded at the Hua Hin resort, in Thailand, killing one woman, and resulting in many injuries. The bombs exploded about 30 minutes apart from each other. Most of the people injured were tourists; of German, Swiss, and Italian nationalities, while the woman that died was a Thai street vendor. Suthipong Klai-udom, a Hua Hin district official, has said that the bombs were hidden inside of planters, and detonated by cellphone.

File photo of a market in Hua Hin.
Image: Jarcje.

Edwin Wiek, a 30-year resident of, claims that one bomb was near the London Bar. A video he released shows an emergency responder examining items next to the deceased woman’s food cart. In a tweet, he stated:

“Bombs in #Huahin were in plant pots, not in motorbikes. pic.twitter.com/cJcfSLDoVw”
-Edwin Wiek (@EdwinWiek) August 11, 2016

“We don’t know who is responsible for the attacks.” said Mr. Suthipong in an interview, noting that local officials had no prior information about an attack. Tawee Narissirikul, the governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, where Hua Hin is located, stated that this was the first bombing at Hua Hin, saying “Now we have to be more cautious about the situation.”

Hua Hin is a resort town on the Gulf of Thailand, 145 kilometres (90 miles) south-west from Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. Many people stayed there in preparation for a Thai holiday, marking the birth of queen Sirikit.



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Twin bombing at Thailand\’s Hua Hin resort leaves one dead, many injured

Twin bombing at Thailand’s Hua Hin resort leaves one dead, many injured

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

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On Thursday, two bombs exploded at the Hua Hin resort, in Thailand, killing one woman and resulting in many injuries. The bombs exploded about 30 minutes apart from each other. Most of the people injured were tourists of German, Swiss, and Italian nationalities, while the woman who died was a Thai street vendor. Suthipong Klai-udom, a Hua Hin district official, said the bombs were hidden inside of planters, and detonated by cellphone.

File photo of a market in Hua Hin.
Image: Jarcje.

Edwin Wiek, a 30-year resident of, claimed one bomb was near the London Bar. A video he released shows an emergency responder examining items next to the deceased woman’s food cart. In a tweet, he stated: “Bombs in #Huahin were in plant pots, not in motorbikes.”

“We don’t know who is responsible for the attacks”, said Mr. Suthipong in an interview, noting local officials had no prior information about an attack. Tawee Narissirikul, the governor of Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, where Hua Hin is located, stated this was the first bombing at Hua Hin, saying “Now we have to be more cautious about the situation.”

Hua Hin is a resort town on the Gulf of Thailand, 145 kilometres (90 miles) south-west from Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. Many people stayed there in preparation for a Thai holiday marking the birth of queen Sirikit.



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August 5, 2016

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai – Wikinews, the free news source

Emirates plane crash-lands in Dubai

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Friday, August 5, 2016

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On Wednesday, an Emirates Boeing 777 crash-landed in Dubai with 282 passengers and 18 crew on board, according to the airline. This resulted in the death of a firefighter, Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan, who died fighting the fire at the crash. The Director-General of the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority, Saif Al Suwaidi, praised Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan’s sacrifice in saving hundreds of passengers.

File photo of the aircraft involved, 2013.
Image: Aeroprints.com (flickr).

According to passenger accounts, the pilot announced an emergency landing minutes before the crash. Then the airliner, flight EK52, was engulfed in smoke at landing and soon after burst into flames. Passengers spoke of their fear.

The airport was shut down for four hours after the incident and all crew members and passengers on the flight from India were accounted for and safe, with fourteen reported hospitalised with minor injuries.

The cause of the crash has not been officially announced, however reports indicate the plane’s landing gear may not have deployed as the plane landed. An aviation safety consultant, in remarks to Australia’s ABC News, noted safely and efficiently evacuating all the passengers was a significant achievement, considering the size of the aircraft.

The airline said two people on the flight were Australian, eleven from the United Arab Emirates, 24 from the the UK, and 226 from India. The co-pilot of the crashed plane was an Australian with approximately 7,000 hours flying experience, according to Emirates chairman Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who also said the crash was not due to any fault in security.



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July 31, 2016

Italy initiates €1.5million social media campaign to discourage migrants

Italy initiates €1.5million social media campaign to discourage migrants

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Sunday, July 31, 2016

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The Italian Interior Ministry has collaborated with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to produce an on- and offline media campaign aimed at discouraging refugees from entering Europe. The campaign, titled “Aware Migrants”, was launched Thursday, exposing high levels of violence and danger in transit, and discouraging migrants from attempting passage through illegal trafficking.

File photo of Angelino Alfano, 2015.
Image: European People’s Party.

The 1.5million campaign features videos on social media to target the 16–35 age demographic, believed to be most likely to attempt the move. The videos are to include testimonials from more than 150 refugees, citing rape, child abuse, and exposure as potential threats. Each video concludes with the phrase “Be aware, brother” or “Be aware, sister”. This slogan is also thematic in Malian musician’s Rokia Traoré‘s official campaign song: “Be aware brother, be aware sister”.

Italy’s Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano, said they will still welcome refugees fleeing war, but that others may be declined. Recent large numbers of arrivals and migrant deaths has been cited as the reason behind the campaign, with the Interior Ministry recording over 70,000 refugees arriving in Italy in the first half of 2016. Federico Soda, the Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, asserts most of those migrants did not expect the level of danger involved in transit.

Migrants are invited to share their own experiences in response to the videos posted on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, in order to spread the warning to other potential migrants.



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July 15, 2016

More than 80 people killed in Nice, France attack on Bastille Day

More than 80 people killed in Nice, France attack on Bastille Day

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Friday, July 15, 2016

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Yesterday at about 10:30 pm local time (2030 UTC) in the French city of Nice, a truck killed at least 84 people and more than 100 people were injured, at least 18 critically, who were watching fireworks on Bastille Day evening, French officials reported. The attacker was later shot dead by the police.

The attacker drove for some distance — by one report as much as 2 km (more than a mile) — through the crowd along the Promenade des Anglais. The owner of the Le Queenie Restaurant near the seaport told  France Info, “People went down like ninepins”.

Agence France-Presse reported police had discovered identity papers of a 31-year old Tunisian-Frenchman along with, according to one source, fake weapons including rifles and an “inactive” grenade.

20-year-old eyewitness Fanny told Reuters the fast-approaching truck was moving in a zigzag manner, driving in the pedestrian area. Another survivor described sheltering with others in a restaurant. An eyewitness named Nader told BFM TV he thought the driver had lost control of the truck. Later, he also saw the driver taking out a gun.

European Council President Donald Tusk said, “Tragic paradox that the subject of the Nice Attack was people celebrating liberty, equality, and fraternity((fr)).

French president François Hollande tweeted, “France is tearful, sorrowful, but she is strong and will always be more than the fanatics who now want to smite her.”((fr))

A few hours before the incident, Hollande had announced the state of emergency would be lifted on July 26 after November’s Paris attack, but after this incident, he announced extending the state of emergency into October. Condemning the incident, he said, “We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria.” He also said “operational reserves” will be called up to support the armed forces in France.

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France Flag Helpline numbers:

  • 04 93 72 22 22 (Public information((fr)))
  • 01 43 17 56 46 (Interministerial aid to victims((fr)))



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June 12, 2016

At least 50 dead in shooting at Florida nightclub

At least 50 dead in shooting at Florida nightclub

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

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In the early morning hours of today, according to police, a man by the name of Omar Mateen entered Pulse Nightclub, a gay club in Orlando, Florida, and opened fire. 50 people were killed and 53 were hospitalized.

It is now the largest mass shooting in United States history, with the Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook Elementary shootings the closest behind. The shooter today used an automatic rifle according to one account; took hostages, and was eventually killed in a gun battle with SWAT units.

Mateen’s father, Mir Seddique, said in remarks to NBC News the attack was not about religion. The shooter allegedly called 911, the emergency phone number in the United States, and pledged his allegiance to ISIS. ISIS has claimed responsibility, according to a tweet from Reuters India. Reportedly, many have praised the attack on pro-ISIS forums.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has declared a state of emergency.

According to Orlando Police Chief John Mina, “It appears [Omar Mateen] was organized and well-prepared”.

“It’s just shocking […] just one after another after another […] It could have lasted a whole song”, commented Christopher Hansen, who was getting a drink when gunshots rang out.



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June 5, 2016

1 dead and 14 missing after a boat capsized in a Chinese lake

1 dead and 14 missing after a boat capsized in a Chinese lake

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Sunday, June 5, 2016

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Image: TUBS.

One child has died and fourteen others are missing after a pleasure boat capsized at Bailong Lake in Guangyuan City, Sichuan province, China on Saturday at 14:50 local time.

Strong winds at the time of the capsizing are thought to be the cause of the accident. The vessel, prepared for a capacity of 40 passengers, only had eighteen people on board according to a statement released Saturday night from the government of Guangyuan.

The report also stated that four passengers were pulled from the wreckage, but only three survived and were receiving treatment in a local hospital. The other passenger, a young child, died at the hospital after receiving emergency medical treatment.

The search for the remaining fourteen people is still ongoing.



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