Tag Archives: collapse

Rescuers fear six trapped after Taiwan bridge collapse

Rescuers fear six trapped after Taiwan bridge collapseRescuers were scrambling on Tuesday to reach six people they feared were trapped after a bridge collapsed in Taiwan, smashing onto a group of fishing boats moored underneath. Dramatic CCTV images captured the moment the 140-metre long single-arch bridge came crashing down in Nanfangao, on Taiwan’s eastern coast. In the images, the road gives way and tumbles down onto at least three fishing boats as a petrol tanker that was crossing also plunges into the water.



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Italy and France Prepare for Imminent Collapse of Mont Blanc Glacier

Italy and France Prepare for Imminent Collapse of Mont Blanc GlacierJeffy Pachoud/GettyROME–The road that winds towards France from Courmayeur in Italy’s spectacular Aosta Valley is an Alpine paradise. In the spring and summer, the Mont Blanc foothills are covered with a carpet of wildflowers set against a backdrop of the Western Alps, which make up Europe’s highest mountain range. Some 20,000 outdoor enthusiasts come here to hike the Italian side of Mont Blanc every year. In the winter, those numbers triple as glitzy chalet resorts offer breathtaking views and some of the best ski runs in Europe. But all of that is in jeopardy due to the devastating effects of climate change. Tuesday evening, Italian civil protection authorities took the extreme measure of closing down the Italian side of Mont Blanc due to the imminent threat of around 9 million cubic feet of ice breaking away from the Planpincieux glacier on the Grandes Jorasses mountain on the Mont Blanc massif. To get an idea of how big that is, that much ice would make 67.3 million gallons of water if it melted. Courmayeur’s mayor Stefano Miserocchi called the evacuation after a damning report by the Safe Mountains Foundation that showed new fissures in the ice. The glacier has been moving at a rate of between 20 and 24 inches a day, which has authorities concerned that it could crumble at any moment. Extreme heat this summer, followed by torrential warm rains this fall, have only made matters worse. No towns are directly in the path of the glacier, but the damage to infrastructure in terms of roads, ski runs, and the landscape would be devastating to the area. “This phenomenon once again testifies that the mountain is in a phase of strong change due to climatic factors, therefore it is particularly vulnerable,” Miserocchi said in a statement. “This is a matter of public safety.”The section of the glacier at imminent risk of collapse is currently at an altitude of 12,500 feet and straddles the border between France, Switzerland, and Italy. This entire region is supposed to be a crucial venue for the 2026 winter Olympics, which was just awarded to Italy this year. The French towns affected by the closure are Saint-Gervais-les-Bains and Chamonix in France, where the first-ever Winter Olympics was held. The dire situation comes as world leaders met in New York for a Climate Action Summit this week. Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte, who attended the summit, said Wednesday that the Mont Blanc disaster is a call to action. “The news that part of Mont Blanc risks collapsing is a warning that should not leave us indifferent,” he said through his spokesman from New York. “It must shake us all and force us to mobilize.”The crisis backs up another warning issued this week by the World Meteorological Organization, which released their new report to coincide with the climate summit in New York. In it they warn that if temperatures continue to rise at current levels, the ice on the Eastern and Central Alps could disappear completely within two or three decades. They say the only ice that would remain is only in the Western Alps, where the crumbling Mont Blanc glacier is about to break down. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Man named Thomas Cook has wedding ruined by collapse of tour company Thomas Cook

Man named Thomas Cook has wedding ruined by collapse of tour company Thomas CookCook, 29, and his fiancee, 27-year-old Amelia Binch, both from Hucknall, England, have been stranded on the Greek island of Rhodes ahead of their wedding.



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Afghan president sees his chance after collapse of U.S.-Taliban talks

Afghan president sees his chance after collapse of U.S.-Taliban talksAfghan President Ashraf Ghani had no more than 20 minutes to study a draft accord between the United States and the Taliban on pulling thousands of U.S. troops out of his country, but upcoming elections could put him back at the heart of talks to end decades of war. What he read in the draft outlining the now collapsed deal left Ghani and his officials – who were shut out of the talks by the Taliban refusal to negotiate with what they considered an illegitimate “puppet” regime – badly shaken and resentful, said a senior Kabul official close to the Afghan leader. “Doesn’t this look like surrender to the Taliban?” Ghani asked Zalmay Khalilzad, the veteran Afghan-born diplomat who led negotiations for Washington, at a meeting the two held immediately afterwards, according to the source who was present.



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Afghan president narrowly avoids Taliban bomb in worst violence since collapse of US negotiations

Afghan president narrowly avoids Taliban bomb in worst violence since collapse of US negotiationsTaliban suicide bombers killed at least 48 people and wounded dozens more in two blasts Tuesday – one at a campaign rally for the president and the other in Kabul – with the insurgents warning of more violence ahead of elections. The first attack saw a motorcyclist detonate a suicide bomb at a checkpoint leading to a rally where Ashraf Ghani, the president, was addressing supporters in central Parwan province, just north of the capital, killing 26 and wounding 42. Just over an hour later another blast also claimed by the Taliban rocked central Kabul near the US embassy. Authorities initially did not give casualty figures, but later said 22 people had been killed and a further 38 wounded. The explosions came after Donald Trump, the US president, abruptly ended talks with the Taliban earlier this month over a deal that would have allowed the US to begin withdrawing troops from its longest war. One of the bombs was detonated near the US Embassy in Kabul Credit: AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi In a statement sent to media claiming responsibility for both blasts, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the attack near Mr Ghani's rally was deliberately aimed at disrupting the September 28 elections. "We already warned people not to attend election rallies, if they suffer any losses that is their own responsibility," the statement said. An image from the scene near Mr Ghani's rally, roughly an hour's drive north of Kabul, showed the remains of a burnt motorcycle, with a body on top, covered by a blanket and next to a badly damaged police car. Taliban control in Afghanistan Women and children were among the causalities, Parwan hospital director Abdul Qasim Sangin said. The president, who was speaking to his supporters at the time of the blast, was unhurt but later condemned the attack, saying the incident proved the Taliban had no real interest in reconciliation. "As the Taliban continue their crimes, they once again prove that they are not interested in peace and stability in Afghanistan," said Mr Ghani in a statement.



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Decks collapse during firefighter event; at least 22 injured

Decks collapse during firefighter event; at least 22 injuredA home’s multilevel deck collapsed Saturday evening at the Jersey Shore during an event weekend, trapping people and injuring at least 22, including some children, officials said. It was unclear how many people were on or under the decks at the time, or how many were firefighters, but authorities said those who were trapped were quickly removed. The annual convention attracts thousands of current and former firefighters to the resort town.



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'They hold our nation hostage and pay lip service to peace': Afghans respond to the collapse of US-Taliban talks

'They hold our nation hostage and pay lip service to peace': Afghans respond to the collapse of US-Taliban talksAfghans awoke on Sunday to find that months of negotiations that had electrified the country had been ended with a tweet. Over the course of three messages, the United States president halted talks between America and the Taliban after more than a year of meetings in the Gulf. Those talks, which had excluded the Afghan government, had been pored over and analysed for months by those at their mercy, but without a say. “The game is not played by Afghans,” said Ahmad Eqbal, 25-year-old medical graduate working in a Kabul private hospital. “The peace negotiation was symbolic, in which Afghan people were not involved. And now they have stopped talking.” “I feel that they play with our fates, and I feel being humiliated. But there is nothing we can do. We just watch.” The body of Sgt Elis Barreto Ortiz is repatriated to the US after he was killed in Kabul on September 5 Credit:  Cliff Owen/AP The negotiations in opulent Doha hotels had lent the Taliban credibility and legitimacy, when they were no more than a criminal group, the 25-year-old said. Ejas Ahmad Malikzada, a social activist based in Kabul, said the negotiations had been badly flawed and undermined the Afghan government, which has been cut out of talks. “[The Taliban] perceived that they were winning the war and the peace talks.” “It was the worst ever peace negotiation.” “I have mixed feelings. I am worried about the escalation of violence.” But he said he was also optimistic that presidential elections scheduled for the end of this month would now proceed, lending legitimacy to the Afghan government and strengthening its hand against the insurgents. As bombs tore through Kabul last week, it seemed difficult for many residents to believe that negotiations between American and Taliban envoys were making good progress. US military personnel in the Middle East Even as Donald Trump's lead negotiator, Zalmay Khalilzad, was last Monday telling an Afghan television channel an agreement had been finalised in principle, a truck bomb shook the capital's living rooms. That blast outside a compound housing foreign workers killed up to 30. Three days later at least 10 died when a van full of explosives detonated at a checkpoint close to Nato headquarters. Taliban fighters assaulted three provincial capitals last week and according to the New York Times, which keeps a tally of the conflict's dead, at least 179 pro-government forces and 110 civilians died over seven days. Afghan forces and civilians were being killed to strengthen the Taliban's negotiating hand said Hussain Sharifi, aged 25. “The peace process is very complicated, but Trump’s tweet raised hope for Afghans. We were the victims. It gave us hope that we enter direct talks with the Taliban with more leverage.” “We are in the worst situation. We face a dark future and everything changes so dramatically.” “They use as a political tool. When they talk, they target us.” “Like me, many people are worried about what happens next.” A market in Kabul's old city; many residents are desperate for an end to the violence Credit:  Ebrahim Noroozi/AP For Pashtana Barakzai, a 20-year-old politics student at the prestigious American University of Afghanistan, the talks had appeared to reward Taliban violence. “It's like they are holding a country hostage by gun and then they are negotiating peace,” she said. “It's basically not peace, it's the share of power that they want.” In the Afghan capital, before Mr Trump's announcement, the secrecy around talks, the fact Afghans were not present to discuss their own future, and the Taliban refusal to call a truce had fed a mixture of anxiety, anger and frustrated craving for peace. Many Kabul residents the Telegraph spoke to last week were desperate to end the violence which United Nations estimates say killed or wounded more than 11,000 civilians in 2018. They were not opposed to negotiations with the Taliban, but doubted whether the Taliban were talking in good faith. After Mr Trump's halting of talks, America's predicament remains grim however. Diplomats in Kabul said there was no prospect of a military solution to America's longest conflict. The Taliban's influence extends more widely in Afghanistan than at any time since 2001 and year-by-year the Afghan government gets weaker. Only a little over half the country's administrative districts are “controlled or influenced” by the Kabul government according to US estimates, with the rest either under the sway of the Taliban, or a contested no man's land. Under this scenario, America and Kabul's negotiating position gets weaker as time goes on. At some point the talks will have to be held again, said Graeme Smith, a consultant at International Crisis Group. “When do we get back to the negotiating table? Both sides are considering their options. It’s when, not if.”



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Chernobyl's 'sarcophagus,' which helped contain the spread of radiation, is being dismantled because it's teetering on collapse

Chernobyl's 'sarcophagus,' which helped contain the spread of radiation, is being dismantled because it's teetering on collapseThe Ukrainian company that manages the Chernobyl plant will tear down its protective "sarcophagus," which is surrounded by a 32,000-ton shell.



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With Collusion Collapse, Public Loses Interest in Mueller Theatrics

With Collusion Collapse, Public Loses Interest in Mueller TheatricsDear Sir, The public does not care.If the Trump Justice Department were to write a letter in response to House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff’s Tuesday night tirade, that’s what it would say.Well, okay, not exactly. I’m sure there’d be the obligatory “with due respect” throat clearing and whatever else decorum demands when camouflaging a flip of the middle finger. Make no mistake, though: The bird has been flipped.The night before former special counsel Robert Mueller’s much anticipated (and certain to be disappointing) appearance before two congressional committees, Chairman Schiff fired off a letter to protest limitations the Justice Department, at Mueller’s request, has imposed on his testimony.In essence, DOJ has ordered Mueller not to provide testimony outside the four corners of his report. This suits Mueller just fine since he does not want to testify at all. He made that clear in his May 29 press statement, attempting to foreclose a possible subpoena by insisting that he would have nothing to add to the two-volume, 448-page tome.Further, he gave Democrats what, from their perspective, is the best spin that could be put on the obstruction aspect of his probe: He had not “exonerated” the president, even though he neither found crimes, nor even considered whether crimes had occurred — the prosecutor’s peculiar interpretation of Justice Department guidance that forbids indictment of a sitting president.He was trying to tell them: This is as good as it gets. I am not going to say I would have indicted him if not for the guidance.But Democrats cannot leave well enough alone. They hope against hope that Mueller will break down — that Schiff, a former prosecutor, will have a Perry Mason moment, in which Mueller throws up his hands and confesses that, yes, if he could, he would throw the book at Trump.But it’s not going to happen. Mueller cannot give Democrats what they want because doing so would contradict his report. He’s not going to do that. He wanted a Justice Department directive that he not address matters outside the report so he could try to persuade Democrats not to bother asking him to explain his reasoning. Of course, they are going to ask him anyway, but he’s not going to tell them what they want to hear.In ordering Mueller to stick to the report, Justice relied on its usual rationales for denying information to Congress. This is a stew of privileges claimed to shield investigations, the deliberative process over investigative judgments, communications within the executive branch, communications with lawyers, and so on.Of course, Congress does not need to accept the executive’s privilege claims. The Justice Department is a creature of statute. It depends on Congress for its existence, funding, and lawful authority. Congress has the power to conduct oversight. If the administration does not cooperate, the Constitution gives lawmakers an array of weapons to attempt to induce compliance — control over the executive’s budget, public hearings to embarrass executive officials, contempt, censure, even impeachment.That is what Schiff’s letter to Mueller is meant to threaten. The chairman is making it clear that Congress is not bound by the executive’s claims of privilege.He has a problem, though. Disputes between the political branches are, well, political. Congress’s arsenal of powers to check executive departments is political. And to be a meaningful weapon, political power needs public support.The public was very interested in Mueller’s investigation because, for over two years, Democrats and their media collaborators assured the country that the president was complicit in a corrupt conspiracy with the Kremlin to undermine the 2016 campaign, hack Democratic email accounts, and steal the election.Once Mueller concluded that there was no “collusion” scheme, however, public interest ebbed. After finally being told that the narrative of a traitorous president in a corrupt pact with a hostile foreign power was just a political narrative, Americans were not inclined to hop aboard the Democrats’ new and improved obstruction narrative.This is not to say the conduct outlined in the obstruction volume of Mueller’s report is admirable. Some of it is disturbing. It is understandable that Democrats would want the public to focus on it. But it does not rise to the level of a prosecutable obstruction case and it did not, in any event, present to the slightest impediment to Mueller’s completion of the investigation — with which the president cooperated extensively, for all his ranting and raving about a “witch hunt.”Equivocal proof of obstruction in an investigation that was not actually impeded, into a crime that did not actually happen, is not going to grab the public’s interest – not after the collusion let down, not after Democrats and the media have convinced the country that their rabid opposition to Trump is transparently political, and not when the country is dealing with other more pressing matters and the 2020 election is looming.America has moved on. Democrats are at the point where continuing to press the Mueller probe hurts them more than it hurts the president.So Chairman Schiff and Democrats on his Intelligence Committee, and on chairman Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee, which will get the first shot at Mueller today, can rattle their sabers and threaten all sorts of sanctions. But they are not going to hold Mueller in contempt, much less impeach the president. They don’t have the public support to follow through, and they know it.Robert Mueller will stick to his report today. Democrats — and Republicans, who have lots of questions about alleged investigative abuses — will not like being stonewalled. But stonewalled they will be.We’re going through the motions. Loudly, sure, but still just going through the motions.



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Is Iran Close to Collapse? Three Things You Need To Know about the U.S.-Iran Showdown.

Is Iran Close to Collapse? Three Things You Need To Know about the U.S.-Iran Showdown.Iran and the United States are as close to direct conflict as they have been for three decades, since Operation Praying Mantis in 1988 which was, at the time, the largest surface naval engagement since World War II.A lot of ink has been spilled and oxygen expended discussing the matter, some of it good and some of it simplistic. Here a few thoughts, informed by being lucky enough to spend close to seven months studying in the Islamic Republic while finishing a doctorate in philosophy on Iranian history. I worked on the Iran desk at the Pentagon during the George W. Bush administration, frequently visit the Persian Gulf, and have followed Iran almost continuously for a quarter century.



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