Jorge Mesa

Jorge Mesa

47 Dead, 640 Injured In Chemical Plant Explosion In China

YANCHENG, China: An explosion at a pesticide plant in eastern China has killed 47 people and injured as many as 640, the state media said on Friday, the latest casualties in a series of industrial accidents that has angered the public.

The blast occurred on Thursday at the Chenjiagang Industrial Park in the city of Yancheng, in Jiangsu province, and the fire was finally brought under control at 3.00 a.m. on Friday (1900 GMT), state television said.

Survivors were taken to 16 hospitals with 640 people being treated for injuries. Thirty-two of them were in a critical condition, it said.

The fire at a plant owned by the Tianjiayi Chemical Company spread to neighbouring factories. Children at a kindergarten in the vicinity were also injured in the blast, media reported.

The cause of the explosion was under investigation, but the company - which produces more than 30 organic chemical compounds, some of which are highly flammable - has been cited and fined for work safety violations in the past, the China Daily said.

Police, some wearing face masks, sealed off roads to the plant. The power of the blast smashed windows in the village of Wangshang two kilometres away, and shocked villagers likened it to an earthquake.

"There have been little accidents before but nothing like this," one resident, who gave his family name as Wang, told Reuters.

"There was one loud bang followed by a long rumble. All the windows were smashed. I went to have a look. Near the site there was blood everywhere. People were crushed," he said.

The village, overlooking a murky mildewed pond, has not been evacuated despite its proximity to the blast site.

President Xi Jinping, who is in Italy on a state visit, ordered all-out efforts to care for the injured and to "earnestly maintain social stability", state television said.

Authorities must step up action to prevent such incidents from happening and find out the cause of the blast as quickly as possible, Xi added.

"There have recently been a series of major accidents, and all places and relevant departments must fully learn the lessons from these," the report cited Xi as saying.

The Jiangsu environmental protection bureau said in a statement late Thursday that the environmental monitoring station in the area had found no abnormal concentrations of toluene, xylene or benzene.

Concentrations of acetone and chloroform outside the perimeter of the explosion zone were also within normal limits, it added.

Jiangsu will launch inspections on chemical producers and warehouses, according to an emergency notice published by official media on Friday.

The notice, published on the news website of Jiangsu province's Communist Party, said the government would shut down any chemical firms found not complying with regulations on dangerous chemicals.

Public anger over safety standards has grown in China over industrial accidents ranging from mining disasters to factory fires that have marred three decades of swift economic growth.

In 2015, 165 people were killed in a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in the northern city of Tianjin.

The explosions at Tianjin, one of the world's busiest ports and not far from the capital, Beijing, were big enough to be seen by satellites and register on earthquake sensors.

Despite repeated pledges by the government to tighten safety, chemical plants in particular have been plagued by disasters.

In November, a series of blasts during the delivery of a flammable gas at a chemical manufacturer killed 23 people.

  • Published in World

Secretary of Council of State says Cubans see themselves reflected in new Constitution

Havana, February 23(RHC)-- Homero Acosta, Secretary of the Council of State, said the people see themselves reflected in the country’s new Constitution, which they helped to write.

More than eight million Cubans are called to the polls this Sunday, February 24th to either ratify or reject the country’s new Magna Carta, which was approved by the National Assembly of People’s Power in late December.

Acosta, who is also a Cuban deputy, insisted that if ratified by the people, the new Magna Carta would be enforced, replacing the one enacted since 1976.

Nearly nine million Cubans on the island -- those serving abroad and Cubans residing abroad participated in the public debates -- contributed more than 700 thousand proposals for modifications, additions or eliminations, most of which were later included in the final version that will be submitted to Sunday’s referendum.

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares

 

  • Published in Cuba

Trump calls Omarosa 'a lowlife' after memoir claims racial slurs

Donald Trump has called Omarosa Manigault Newman “a lowlife” in his first public response to the former White House aide’s tell-all book.

In excerpts from the book entitled Unhinged, which were first reported by the Guardian, Manigault Newman claimed the president had used the “N-word” repeatedly, and also used racial slurs to refer to George Conway, the half-Filipino husband of the top White House aide Kellyanne Conway.

Manigault Newman, who had previously appeared with Trump on his reality television show The Apprentice, also said in the book that she believed he was “a racist, a bigot and a misogynist”.

The remarks were a break with comments made during the campaign when the former reality television celebrity vowed that those who had criticized Trump would bend the knee to him. “Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump,” Manigault Newman said in an interview with PBS in 2016. “It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

Asked about the allegations at a photo-op with the group Bikers for Trump on Saturday in Bedminster, New Jersey, the president said: “Lowlife ... She’s a lowlife.”

Manigault Newman was dismissed from the White House in December, 2017. At the time, a source familiar with her departure told the Guardian that she had long been uncomfortable defending the Trump administration as the most prominent African American woman in the White House. Her tenure culminated when the chief of staff, John Kelly, summoned her to the White House situation room to fire her.

Afterwards, Trump praised Manigault Newman on Twitter, saying: “Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success.”

On Friday, the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, issued a statement on the book, saying it was “riddled with lies” and condemning Manigault Newman for not praising Trump.

“Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations,” said Sanders.

 

  • Published in World

A look at Vietnam’s ‘Golden Bridge,’ a colossal pair of hands lifting a golden walkway

In the mountains of central Vietnam, a colossal pair of hands lifts a golden thread of walkway high above the clifftops, as if the mountain itself has sprouted limbs.

“I feel like I’m walking on clouds,” said Vuong Thuy Linh, a tourist from Hanoi. “It’s so unique”.

Cau Vang or the “Golden Bridge” in Vietnam’s Ba Na Hills has attracted scores of tourists since it opened in June, eager to see a novel piece of architecture famed for its unusual design.

The pedestrian walkway, designed by TA Landscape Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City, sits at over 1,000 meters (3,280 feet) above sea level and extends over the treetops from the edge of a leafy cliff face, offering tourists uninterrupted views of the majestic landscape beneath.

The Ba Na Hills, a popular getaway for the French during the colonial occupation of Vietnam, received over 2.7 million visitors last year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

But it is the Golden Bridge and its supports – two huge stone-colored human hands styled in such a way that it looks as if the jungle is struggling to reclaim them – which have garnered the most attention from visitors.
 
“The two, smooth, giant hands look real,” said Truong Hoang Linh Thuy, another tourist.
 
  • Published in World
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