Pow­er­ful earth­quake strikes Tai­wan

CityPress - - News -

A pow­er­ful earth­quake struck Tai­wan early yes­ter­day, killing at least eight peo­ple, most of whom were in a 17-storey apart­ment build­ing that col­lapsed. By late yes­ter­day, peo­ple were still miss­ing in the ru­ins of the com­plex.

As res­cuers searched for sur­vivors, ques­tions were raised about the con­struc­tion of the Weiguan Golden Dragon Build­ing in the south­ern city of Tainan – when the 6.4 mag­ni­tude tremor hit, the floors pan­caked down on each other.

Six of the dead, in­clud­ing a 10-day-old girl, were from the apart­ment build­ing.

Res­cuers mounted hy­draulic lad­ders and a crane to scour the ru­ins, pluck­ing more than 220 sur­vivors to safety, and dozens were taken to hos­pi­tal, a fire brigade of­fi­cial said.

Build­ings in nine other lo­ca­tions in the city of 2 mil­lion peo­ple col­lapsed, and five were left tilt­ing at alarm­ing an­gles.

City mayor Wil­liam Lai told re­porters five peo­ple were still miss­ing in the Golden Dragon apart­ment build­ing.

The fire depart­ment said 115 peo­ple had been taken to hos­pi­tal from around Tainan.

City of­fi­cials said it was too early to de­ter­mine if poor con­struc­tion was a fac­tor in the col­lapse of the apart­ment build­ing.

– Reuters

– Reuters

– Reuters Peace talks with Tal­iban con­tinue

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Pak­istan, Afghanistan, the US and China met in Is­lam­abad yes­ter­day to con­tinue work on a road map for peace talks with Tal­iban in­sur­gents, who have in­creased their vi­o­lent cam­paign against the govern­ment in Kabul.

The talks are part of the lat­est ef­fort to find a ne­go­ti­ated end to nearly 15 years of war in Afghanistan, a con­flict that has killed thou­sands of civil­ians and crip­pled the na­tion’s econ­omy.

Sar­taj Aziz, for­eign affairs ad­viser to Pak­istan’s prime min­is­ter, said he hoped the group would fi­nalise a road map to out­line a way for­ward for di­rect di­a­logue be­tween the Afghan govern­ment and Tal­iban groups.

“We are con­fi­dent that the process will lead to a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in vi­o­lence [in Afghanistan],” Aziz said. “We have to ex­ert all our en­ergy to keep the process on track.”

Peace ef­forts broke down last year af­ter it was re­vealed that the Tal­iban move­ment’s founder and leader, Mul­lah Mo­ham­mad Omar, who sanc­tioned the talks, had been dead for two years, ex­pos­ing deep fis­sures within the in­sur­gency.

Last month, the group made a raft of de­mands to be met as a pre­con­di­tion to join­ing talks, in­clud­ing the re­moval of the group from a UN black­list.

Aus­tria asks for more money for refugees

Aus­tria’s Fi­nance Min­is­ter, Hans-Jo­erg Schelling, had asked the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion to pro­vide €600 mil­lion (R10.7 bil­lion) to cover the costs of tak­ing in ad­di­tional refugees, a min­istry spokesper­son said yes­ter­day.

Aus­tria bud­geted for 35 000 asy­lum seek­ers an­nu­ally at a cost of €11 000 per per­son, but in­stead took in about 90 000 peo­ple last year, the spokesper­son quoted Schelling as say­ing in a let­ter to the head of the EU ex­ec­u­tive, Jean-Claude Juncker.

“Con­cern­ing the mi­gra­tion cri­sis, it is high time the com­mis­sion re­turned to its nor­mal func­tion as an in­de­pen­dent in­sti­tu­tion rep­re­sent­ing the gen­eral com­mu­nity, and start act­ing as such,” Schelling said in the let­ter.

Aus­tria and neigh­bour­ing Ger­many threw open their bor­ders last year to hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple pour­ing into Europe, many of whom were flee­ing con­flicts in Syria and else­where.

De­spite an ini­tial out­pour­ing of sym­pa­thy for the mi­grants, pub­lic con­cern about the in­flux has fu­elled a rise in sup­port for the far right in Aus­tria. Last week, Vi­enna said it would step up de­por­ta­tions of mi­grants to coun­tries it deems safe.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.