Tag Archives: fears

Fears grow that more than 1,000 still missing in Indonesia disaster

Fears grow that more than 1,000 still missing in Indonesia disasterMore than a thousand people could still be missing after Indonesia’s devastating quake-tsunami, officials said Friday, drastically upping the number of people unaccounted for a week after the disaster. Palu city on Sulawesi island has been left in ruins after it was hit by a powerful quake and a wall of water which razed whole neighbourhoods to the ground, with the official death toll now 1,571. “Maybe more than 1,000 people are still missing,” Yusuf Latif, a spokesman for Indonesia’s search and rescue agency, told AFP.



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Iran fears plot by US and its Gulf allies as pressure grows

Iran fears plot by US and its Gulf allies as pressure growsDUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — On the same day Arab separatists killed at least 25 people in an attack targeting a military parade in southwestern Iran, President Donald Trump's lawyer mounted a stage in New York to declare that the government would be toppled.



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Korea summit economic pledge raises sanctions-busting fears

Korea summit economic pledge raises sanctions-busting fearsSpeaking at a joint news conference in Pyongyang on Wednesday, South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said he and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to the normalization of the Kaesong joint border industrial park and tours to North Korea’s Mount Kumgang. The two projects, which were suspended amid tensions between the rivals under Moon’s two conservative predecessors, had been lucrative sources of cash for the impoverished North. Moon said the steps were part of an agreement to turn the Korean peninsula into a “land of peace without nuclear weapons and nuclear threats”.



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Leading Brazil candidate says he fears electoral fraud

Leading Brazil candidate says he fears electoral fraudSAO PAULO (AP) — The man leading Brazil's presidential election polls says he is worried that fraud could cost him victory in October, raising questions about whether he would accept defeat.



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China raises fears of 'new colonialism' with $60 billion investment across Africa

China raises fears of 'new colonialism' with $  60 billion investment across AfricaChinese President Xi Jinping on Monday pledged $ 60 billion in financing for projects in Africa in the form of assistance, investment and loans, as China furthers efforts to link the continent's economic prospects to its own. Speaking to a gathering of African leaders in Beijing, Mr Xi said the figure includes $ 15 billion in grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, $ 20 billion in credit lines, $ 10 billion for "development financing" and $ 5 billion to buy imports from Africa. In addition, he said China will encourage companies to invest at least $ 10 billion in Africa over the next three years. China's outreach to Africa aims to build trade, investment and political ties with a continent often seen as overlooked by the US and other Western nations. That has provided lucrative opportunities for Chinese businesses, while African nations are often happy to accept China's offers that come without demands for safeguards against corruption, waste and environmental damage. President Xi told African leaders that China's investments on the continent have "no political strings attached" Credit: AFP China has denied engaging in "debt trap" diplomacy, and Mr Xi's offer of more money comes after a pledge of another $ 60 billion at the previous summit in South Africa three years ago. Mr Xi earlier said the money came with "no political strings attached".  No details were given on specific projects, although Mr Xi said China was planning initiatives in eight areas, including providing $ 147 million in emergency food aid, sending 500 agricultural experts to Africa, and providing scholarships, vocational training and trade promotion opportunities. During a speech at the summit South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday delivered a stinging rebuttal to criticism of China's development aid in Africa. Mr Ramaphosa said the meeting "refutes the view that a new colonialism is taking hold in Africa, as our detractors would have us believe". China's latest pledge comes on top of a 2015 promise to provide African countries with $ 60 billion in funding that Mr Xi said had either been delivered or arranged. Also Monday, Mr Xi promoted Beijing's initiative to build ports and other infrastructure as a tool for "common prosperity" in a world facing challenges from trade protectionism. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa rejected charges of a "new colonialism" Credit: Getty Addressing businesspeople prior to the formal opening of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Mr Xi said the "Belt and Road" initiative will expand markets. He tried to mollify concern that Beijing wants to build strategic influence, promising Chinese investment comes with "no political strings attached." "Unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. Economic growth lacks robust drive," Mr Xi said in a speech. "China-Africa cooperation under the BRI is a way to common prosperity that brings benefits to both our peoples." African and other Asian leaders have welcomed "Belt and Road" but some projects have prompted complaints about debt and other problems. The initiative involves hundreds of projects, most of them built by Chinese contractors and financed by loans from Chinese state-owned banks, across an arc of 65 countries from the South Pacific through Asia to Africa and the Middle East. In a major blow to China's ambitions, Malaysia recently canceled Chinese-financed projects worth more than $ 20 billion, saying they were unnecessary and would create an unsustainable debt burden. Deeply indebted Pakistan is also reportedly reconsidering some projects in the multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that is a key link in the BRI. The Beijing forum brings together leaders from China and more than 50 African countries. Dozens of African leaders met with Mr Xi ahead of the conference. Mr Xi made no mention of the political and debt concerns that overshadow some BRI projects. But Chinese officials previously have rejected accusations that projects leave host countries too deeply indebted to Chinese lenders. "China's investment in Africa comes with no political strings attached," Mr Xi said. "China does not interfere in Africa's internal affairs and does not impose its own will on Africa." 



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U.N. fears chemical weapons in Syria battle with '10,000 terrorists'

U.N. fears chemical weapons in Syria battle with '10,000 terrorists'The United Nations called on Russia, Iran and Turkey on Thursday to forestall a battle in Syria’s Idlib province which would affect millions of civilians and could see both militants and the government potentially using chlorine as a chemical weapon. U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said there was a high concentration of foreign fighters in Idlib, including an estimated 10,000 fighters designated by the U.N. as terrorists, who he said belonged to the al-Nusra Front and al Qaeda.



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UN fears 800,000 could be displaced in Syria's rebel-held Idlib

UN fears 800,000 could be displaced in Syria's rebel-held IdlibAn expected government assault on Syria’s last rebel-held province, Idlib, and surrounding areas could displace as many as 800,000 people already in a dire humanitarian situation, the UN warned Wednesday. In an interview with AFP, a representative of the United Nations Humanitarian Coordination Office (OCHA) in Damascus said an attack could be catastrophic. “We fear that — should there be an increased escalation of hostilities in that area — up to 800,000 people could be displaced and that the number of people who are in need of humanitarian assistance, which is already high, could increase dramatically,” said Linda Tom.



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Australia bans China's Huawei from mobile network build over security fears

Australia bans China's Huawei from mobile network build over security fearsAustralia’s government on Thursday banned major Chinese telecoms firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from supplying equipment for its planned 5G mobile network, citing risks of foreign interference. Huawei’s involvement in the network rollout, and resistance to it from Australia’s security agencies, has become a flashpoint between the trading partners in recent months as a row over alleged Chinese meddling in Australian politics deepened. Australia’s stance resembles the position of the United States, which has largely shut out Huawei from the lucrative U.S. market over national security concerns.



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Rush to bring aid to 2 million homeless as fears grow over spread of disease after floods in Kerala

Rush to bring aid to 2 million homeless as fears grow over spread of disease after floods in KeralaA deluge in India's flood-stricken southwestern state of Kerala finally let up on Sunday, giving some respite for thousands of marooned families, while authorities feared an outbreak of disease among over 200,000 people crammed into relief camps. Incessant rains since August 8 have caused the state's worst floods in a century, and at least 186 people have perished, many of them killed by landslides. The beaches and backwaters of Kerala are top destinations for domestic and international tourists, but far fewer visit during the monsoon season. The India Meteorological Department forecast heavy rainfall only at one or two places of Kerala on Sunday and withdrew a red alert in several districts. Flood waters too began to recede from several places. Using boats and helicopters, India's military has led rescue efforts to reach people in communities cut off for days by the floods, with many trapped on roof tops and the upper floors of their homes, and in desperate need of food and potable water. Rescue teams were focused on the town of Chengannur on the banks of the Pamba River, where some 5,000 people are feared to be trapped, officials said. Volunteers reach out to stranded people with food supplies in a flooded area in Chengannur in the southern state of Kerala Credit: Aijaz Rahi/ AP More than 200,000 families have taken refuge at relief camps set up across the state, an official at the Kerala State Disaster Management office said. Kerala's chief minister had earlier said over 200,000 people had taken shelter in camps since the monsoon rains began three months ago. Anil Vasudevan, who handles disaster management at the Kerala health department, said authorities had isolated three people with chickenpox in one of the relief camps in Aluva town, nearly 250 km (155 miles) from state capital Thiruvananthapuram. He said the department was preparing to deal with a possible outbreak of water-borne and air-borne diseases in the camps, where an estimated two million people have taken shelter since the monsoon rains began three months ago. Kerala, which usually receives high rainfall, has seen over 250 percent more rain than normal between August 8 and August 15, causing the state authorities to release water from 35 dangerously full dams, sending a surge into its main river. As the rain abated on Sunday morning, one resident in Cheranelloor, a suburb of Kochi situated on the banks of the Periyar river, visited his home to see when he and his family could return. "The entire house is covered with mud. It will take days to clean to make it liveable. All our household articles, including the TV and fridge have been destroyed," 60-year-old T P Johnny told Reuters. Kochi's airport is closed due to waterlogging, and Jet Airways has arranged additional flights from Thiruvananthapuram for passengers holding confirmed tickets from Kochi.



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Fears over twin of collapsed Genoa bridge in Venezuela

Fears over twin of collapsed Genoa bridge in VenezuelaVenezuelans are concerned over the safety of a “twin” viaduct of the collapsed Morandi bridge in Genoa, Italy, after a fire on the concrete structure caused a major blackout. Designed by Italian structural engineer Riccardo Morandi, it predates by five years his 1967 bridge in Genoa that collapsed this week causing the death of 39 people.



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