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Strong Earthquake Hits The Philippines With Hefty Loss

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A Hefty earthquake of magnitude 6.4 struck the southern Philippines on Wednesday night. Dozen of peoples, along with infants, lost their lives, Numerous buildings such as college, residence areas observed cracks.

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Earthquake smacked the Philippines at 6.4 magnitudes on Wednesday night

On the island of Mindanao, where the earthquake struck, Government authorities were discovering the reports from field officials opening cracks in buildings and homes, sending residents running from shops and offices, and knocking power out.

Reuel Limbungan, mayor of Tulunan town in North Cotabato province, told the DZMM radio station, stated that  “Our hospital chief reported that a child died because of the earthquake,”  he further added that “Two more people were injured.”

Quake smacked off Davao City, the hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte, and among the most populated cities in the country.

20 people were injured by falling debris, In Magsaysay town, the nearby province of Davao del Sur, Anthony Allada, told DZMM, the municipality’s information officer,

“Many houses were damaged… Another person is in a critical condition,” Allada said.

The municipality of Malang, in Cotabato province, reported three injuries, Vice Mayor Joselito Pinol told DZMM radio.

The United States Geological Survey stated that the quake struck 69 km (43 miles) north-northwest of the city of General Santos, Mindanao, at 7:39 p.m. (1137 GMT). The epicenter was about 80 km southwest of central Davao.

“We felt a powerful jolt, and there was a blackout. I saw people rushing down. We were panicking, heading to the exit,” said Naru Guarda Cabaddu, a hotel consultant visiting Kidapawan City, between the epicenter of the quake and Davao.

The Philippines is on the geologically active Pacific Ring of Fire and experiences frequent earthquakes.

The Philippines, one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries, has frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity because it lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a seismically active arc of volcanos and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.

A magnitude 7.7 quake killed nearly 2,000 people in the northern Philippines in 1990.

“I was driving back home when I felt a mighty shake. I stopped and saw people and patients running out of the hospital,” Raprap Rafael, a resident of Kidapawan City, told Reuters. “I’m not sleeping at my home tonight.”

Renato Solidum, head of the Philippines seismic agency, told the ANC news channel there was a chance of aftershocks, which could be strong and capable of causing severe damage.

“Aftershocks can happen. Some can be felt most likely in low intensities. But we cannot remove the possibility of similar intensities that can be felt in the epicentral area,” he said.

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Headlines

Will building a 400-meter long wall hide the truth of poverty in India from President Trump?

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On February 24-25 US President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit India. He will be attending the ‘Kem Chom Trump’ (How are you, Trump) program at Ahmedabad, India. Prior to it, in terms of preparations, a 400-meter-long and seven-feet-high wall is being constructed by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation in order to prevent the US leader from getting a glimpse of a slum situated next to the road from Ahmedabad Airport to Indira Bridge. On the other hand, contrary to the situation the Corporation is also fixing the path from Ahmedabad Airport to the Sardar Patel Motera Stadium. The slum district houses an estimated 800 families.

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According to media sources, Speaking on the situation a senior government official said: “the wall is being built for security reasons, and not to conceal the slum district”. The government official also conceded that the wall was part of a “beautification and cleanliness” drive.

On the other hand, as told to Reuters the contractor said that he is building it as the government “did not want the slum to be seen” when Trump passes by on the ride in from Ahmedabad’s airport. On a condition of not revealing the name the contractor also said, “I’ve been ordered to build a wall as soon as possible, over 150 masons are working round-the-clock to finish the project,”.

Also, Mayor Bijal Patel said that “I don’t know about it”.

The new construction of the wall made People living there very angry. According to a resident, who lives in this slum, says that “till now green cloth was put here but now a wall is being built up. If the government is ashamed of the poor, then concrete steps should be taken to remove poverty and instead of building walls in order to hide the reality. Now our homes will be surrounded by this wall, due to which the air, water will stop coming. Even here there is no sewer system, nor electricity. We have to live in the dark.

Some slum-dwellers whose homes will be cordoned off by the wall in Ahmedabad also said that “the government was wasting tax-payer money to hide the poor”.

In the visit, Modi and Trump will come to Ahmedabad from Delhi. The two leaders will reach the Motera Stadium via helicopter from the airport. After the program, Trump will fly to the airport directly by helicopter. Probably from here, he will leave for America. Apart from ‘Chem Chom Trump’, Trump is also expected to visit Sabarmati Ashram. They can go to Gandhi Ashramashram by road. Chinese President Xi visited Ahmedabad in 2014. There were pictures of Modi-Jinping swinging on a single swing on the riverfront.

Ahead of the US presidential election in November, this visit provides Trump the opportunity to woo the support of hundreds of thousands of Indian-American voters. Speaking at the White House on Tuesday, Trump also quoted Modi as saying “millions and millions of people” would attend the rally.

Whatever the situation may be but handling and hiding the truth like this way doesn’t seem viable. Better would have been if the houses of these people have been built from the same construction material instead of a wall or in reality the consistent poverty-ridden status of India has been demolished totally.

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India, Portugal Signed 14 agreements to boost cooperation

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India, Portugal Signed 14 agreements to boost cooperation
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India and Portugal on Friday exchanged 14 agreements and understandings in a number of key areas, including maritime, intellectual property rights, aerospace and scientific research, as President Ram Nath Kovind hosted his Portuguese counterpart.
Kovind received Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on his first state visit to India.

Kovind said “Portugal-India relations are very special and the two countries enjoy 500 years of shared history”. “The two countries are closely tied together through Goa and Mumbai, through our culture, language and kinship,” he said.

Kovind thanked Portugal for extending its support for the commemoration of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary.

The president said the “India-Portugal bilateral agenda has expanded several folds. The two countries are collaborating in science and technology, defence, education, innovation and start-up, water and environment among other things”.

Calling terrorism a grave threat to the entire world, Kovind said, “We should deepen our cooperation further to defeat and destroy this global menace.”

India told a high-level event on peacekeeping that working in partnerships is key to successful peacekeeping, underlining that professional competence of those engaged in all aspects of this global enterprise cannot be substituted or compromised.
India along with Portugal, Senegal, Uruguay and Vietnam co-hosted the high-level event Improving peacekeeping performance: A year since UNSCR 2436′ initiated by the US here Friday.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres thanked the US and the event’s co-hosts, India, Portugal, Senegal, Uruguay and Vietnam, for convening the event and for their support to United Nations peacekeeping operations.

India believes that even while broad participation in peacekeeping is important to enhance global solidarity, there can be no substitute for professional competence of those engaged in all aspects of this global enterprise, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin said in his address at the event. Working in partnerships is key to successful peacekeeping.

He stressed that guidelines require that the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (PCRS) should be the sole mechanism for the selection of a military or police unit for deployment.

A diversity in terms of deployment needs is understandable, and some variations are inevitable. However, choices and selections need to be made from within the same spectrum of options, he said, adding that those not part of the PCRS are best avoided.

Akbaruddin also highlighted that in selection, units without caveats should have precedence over units pledged with caveats, as these will not tie down the hands of Force Commander in operational decisions.

In short, we need to have a selection policy’ that is a natural extension of the PCRS to ensure that the most ready, capable, well-equipped and willing contingents are selected for deployment, he said.

He also stressed on the need for instances of under-performance to be assessed, saying such assessment needs to examine whether there were units available at higher levels in PCRS that were overlooked during selection; whether caveats have impacted performance; whether poor performance is due to lack of resources, including equipment; or whether the mandate, including guidelines, were not clear, resulting in unsatisfactory implementation.

Honest assessment and feedback is essential to have an effective accountability system. Assessing performance without determining accountability will leave us open to repeating errors, he said.

India is among the largest troop contributors to UN peacekeeping. India has co-deployed troops from Kazakhstan as part of its battalion in the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon.

In partnership with the US, India also co-hosts the UN Peacekeeping Course for African Partners (UNPCAP), with special focus on capacity building in peacekeeping. India and the US have also deployed a joint Mobile Training Team (MTT) to Zambia for conducting training in peacekeeping.
Addressing the event, Guterres said “performance is a collective responsibility of all those involved in peacekeeping. This responsibility starts with the Security Council, and the adequate defining of mandates”.

Performance is also the responsibility of Member States as troop and police contributors, host governments, members of the General Assembly, as financial contributors and providers of capacity-building support.

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Americas

Mexico In Outrage As Picture Of Mutilated Body Of A Murdered Woman Published

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In Mexico, a 25-year-old woman was brutally killed and mutilated has sparked outrage after a leaked picture of the victim’s disfigured body gets a space in the front pages of newspapers and in digital news websites. The public has demanded the country’s laws to be changed after the picture gets leaked by media outlets.

On Sunday, authorities announced that police arrived at Ingrid Escamilla’s home in Mexico City and found her dead skinned corpse where few of her organs were missing. This was considered to be a part of the ongoing streak of violent crimes against women in Mexico. A man of 46 years was arrested as he was covered in blood was also found near the scene.

Leaked videos and photos have come up where a bloodied man was found confessing of killing the woman after a heated argument where the woman threatened to kill him. He claimed to skin her further to remove evidence. It is unclear whether the man was had legal representation.

According to the Mexico City’s mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, the prosecutors would demand maximum sentence against the alleged perpetrator who in views of the police was the woman’s husband. She says that femicide is an absolute condemnable crime where hatred reached an extreme like in the case of Escamilla.

But what sparked the actual outrage was the release of the leaked photo of the victim’s body in local tabloids and digital news websites. Pasala was one of the papers that showed the photos on the front page with a headline that said: “It was Cupid’s fault.” Several activists are on streets calling for a change in the way cases of violence is reported or handled by newspapers and media outlets. This included Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador who has remained critical over the response to the killing.

On the other hand, Mexico City Prosecutor’s office is looking to investigate civil servants over the leak and making it a crime to distribute images of victims. On Thursday, López Obrador in a press conference asked for punishment for leaking the pictures especially when the country has an increase of 137 per cent in femicides it is necessary such cases are handled sensitively.

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Africa

Nigerian Militant Attack Kills 30 Including a Pregnant Woman And Baby

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On Sunday, people in Maiduguri-Damaturu highway in Auno village, Borno state were attacked by Boko Haram insurgents around 9:30 pm. These insurgents abducted men and women and killed 30 people including one pregnant woman and baby. Drivers who were sleeping in their parked vehicles got burned to death during the attack.

In statements given by eyewitnesses, the jihadists came in with bicycles and the started to attack travellers who stayed in the town since the road was closed by the Nigerian Army. Nigerian President Mohammadu Buhari condemned the attack. he even said that the Nigerian government has severely condemned such terrorist attacks caused by people like Boko Haram and other Islamic groups.

According to Dogo who is the Special Assistant of the Borno Governor Babagana Zulum, around 18 vehicles were burnt during the attack. He even said that Zulum visited the places and expressed the state and federal government’s promise to end the insurgency.

The attacks began with a loot of the village which was followed by setting the village on fire and burning vehicles, trucks which were transporting goods and food products that would be made available in nearby markets by next day. Three buses carrying women and children were taken away by the insurgents to Maiduguri where it was parked overnight.

Boko Haram militancy led to the displacement of ten thousands of residents in 2014. One of his attacks included the kidnapping of 112 chibok schoolgirls from northeast Nigeria. On Monday, Buhari also told the African Union’s Security Council in Addis Ababa that the government is working extensively to secure the release of all children and citizens who are held captive by terrorists. The Chief of Army Staff Major Gen. Tukur also claimed that Nigeria is winning this insurgency war against Boko Haram.

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Europe

Scotland Is Walking Small Steps Towards Independence

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Scotland’s First Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Monday that Scotland is taking steps towards holding a referendum on independence stating that it is a matter of time more than whether the country is separating from rest of Britain or not. During a news conference in Brussels, she said that that they need to confirm on the process with the UK government for the referendum which would be given a clear mandate by the Scottish people.

She even adds that Scotland is taking all necessary steps to make sure that a legal and legitimate referendum could be held which would be accepted and agreed both internally and internationally. One such step would be testing the potential question to ask the voters.

Sturgeon also mentions the fact that during the British election in December, where her party the Scottish National Party won 80 per cent of seats in Scotland. They fought the whole election on a stance that was anti-Brexit and pro-independence which means that the Scottish people did not see a future as part of Britain. and if they see an increase in support for independence rise or demand of choice grow, at the end no one can stop a clear democratic decision.

But she clearly mentions that Scotland first needs a referendum before they declare independence. Even the latest opinion poll supported independence just over 50 per cent mark. In 2014 a similar referendum saw 55 per cent Scots voting to stay a part of the United Kingdom. But many supporters of independence believe that Britain leaving the EU has changed the situation as the Scots voted against the 2016 Brexit referendum.

But the First Prime Minister did not seem sure if Scotland would be allowed to hold this referendum without the British government acceptance who currently refuse another independence vote. UK’s prime minister Boris Johnson pre-Brexit promises included that Britain could control their waters and still have access to the EU market. But this is one of the thorny issues faced by British EU negotiators. But, according to Sturgeon, Scottish salmon fishers would face a burden of 8.7 million pounds($11.3 million) providing export certificated for sales to the EU.

Scotland is not the only region asking freedom fro a larger country. In October 2017, the Catalonian region in Spain declared themselves independent based on a referendum. But later this referendum was found to be illegal by courts which further led to Spain’s biggest political crisis in several years.

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