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Seven dead, hundreds injured in most powerful Taiwan quake in 25 years

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By Francesca Hangeior

At least seven people were killed and more than 700 injured Wednesday by a powerful earthquake in Taiwan that damaged dozens of buildings and prompted tsunami warnings that extended to Japan and the Philippines before being lifted.

Officials said the quake was the strongest to shake the island in decades, and warned of more tremors in the days ahead.

“The earthquake is close to land and it’s shallow. It’s felt all over Taiwan and offshore islands,” said Wu Chien-fu, director of Taipei’s Central Weather Administration’s Seismology Center.

Strict building regulations and widespread public disaster awareness appear to have staved off a major catastrophe for the earthquake-prone island, which lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

Wu said the quake was the strongest since a 7.6-magnitude struck in September 1999, killing around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.

Wednesday’s magnitude-7.4 quake hit just before 8:00 am local time (0000 GMT), with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) putting the epicentre 18 kilometres (11 miles) south of Taiwan’s Hualien City, at a depth of 34.8 kilometres.

Three people among a group of seven on an early-morning hike through the hills that surround the city were crushed to death by boulders loosened by the earthquake, officials said.

Separately, the drivers of a truck and a car died when their vehicles were hit by tumbling boulders, while another man died at a mine.

The National Fire Agency said all the deaths occurred in Hualien county, and that so far 736 people had been injured in the quake, without specifying how seriously.

Social media was awash with shared video and images from around the country of buildings swaying as the quake struck.

“It was shaking violently, the paintings on the wall, my TV and liquor cabinet fell,” one man in Hualien told broadcaster SET TV.
Dramatic images were shown on local TV of multi-storey structures in Hualien and elsewhere tilting after the quake ended, while a warehouse in New Taipei City crumbled.

The mayor there said more than 50 survivors had been successfully plucked from the ruins of the structure.

Local TV channels showed bulldozers clearing rocks along the main route to Hualien, a mountain-ringed coastal city of around 100,000 people that has been cut off by landslides.

The main roads leading to the city pass through an extensive series of tunnels — some of them kilometres long — and officials said many people and vehicles could be trapped inside.

“We must carefully check how many people are trapped and we must rescue them quickly,” president-elect and current Vice-President Lai Ching-te told reporters in Hualien.

President Tsai Ing-wen called for local and central government agencies to coordinate with each other, and said the military would also be providing support.

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Protesters Seek Enforcement Of Benue’s Anti-Open Grazing Law

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The people of Gwer West LGA of Benue State have staged a protest ON the Makurdi-Naka road to demand en-forcement of the state’s anti-open grazing law following the killing of 28 people in some communities in the Gyaru-wa axis by armed men on Sunday night.

During the protest, Mbapuun Fabian, who is the Secretary of Gyaruwa Forum (GAF), said that villagers in farming communities of Gwer West LGA were gruesomely murdered.

A former Chairman of Gwer West, Francis Ayagah, called on the federal government to ensure the safety of his people as he noted that the renewed insecurity in the area was occasioned by the failure of the Governor Hyacinth Alia administration to enforce the Open Grazing Prohibition and Ranches Establishment Law of Benue State.

Ayagah expressed worry that the non-implementation of the grazing law had allowed herders to move freely with their cows and arms which they used to attack villagers.

Another protester, Titus Numzua, who hails from Segev/Yegev Council Ward where all the attacks occurred, said that the influx of herdsmen in the area had complicated the security situation of many communities.

He also called on the federal government to ensure the safety of the people, and particularly called on Governor Alia to provide logistical support to security agencies, the Benue State Livestock Guards and the Community Vol-unteer Guards to ensure peace returned to the area.

Meanwhile, the Senator representing Benue North West, Titus Zam, while sympathising with the victims, con-demned the attacks which led to the death of many people, including women, children and the elderly.

In a statement signed by his Personal Assistant (PA) on Media, Terungwa Nunde, Zam prayed to God to continue to protect his people, and called on Governor Alia to come to their aid.

Similarly, the Member representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency, Arc. Asema Achado, condemned the murder of his constituents and called on the state government to enforce the law prohibiting open grazing and also ensure the perpetrators of the dastardly act were brought to book.

It would be recalled that the state government assured in March, this year of implementing the grazing law at the expiration of a two-week ultimatum handed to herders who flocked the state with their animals to vacate.

It was gathered that the delay in the implementation was, however, due to the transfer of the Force Commander of Operation Whirl Stroke (OPWS), Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, who headed the security network saddled with the responsibility to enforce the law.

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I’m Still In Love, Man Begs Divorce Seeking Wife

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A housewife, Lawal Modupe Lawal, has approached an Upper Area Court in Kubwa, Abuja seeking the dissolution of her 17-year-old marriage to her husband, Ismaila on grounds of “lack of love and affection.”

Modupe told the court that she got married to Ismaila, according to Islamic laws on October 24, 2007.

The mother of three, said that her husband sent her out of her matrimonial home on June 17, 2023.

”I do not love him anymore and I want the court to dissolve the marriage, ” she said.

The husband, however, said that he still loves his wife and would not grant her a divorce.

He pleaded with court to call for a mediation with members of his family and his wife’s family.

The Judge, Mohammed Wakili, however advised the respondent to make efforts to win his wife’s love back.

Wakili also urged Modupe to give her husband a chance.

The judge gave the couple two weeks to settle their differences and report back to the court on May 2.

(NAN)

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House of Representatives shifts resumption date to April 30

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The House of Representatives has announced the further rescheduling of the resumption date from the ongoing recess. According to a release signed by Hon Akin Rotimi Jr. the House Spokesperson, the new resumption date is now set for Tuesday, April 30, 2024, at 11:00 a.m.

“This adjustment, as communicated by the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Dr. Yahaya Danzaria, Esq., in an internal correspondence to Honourable Members on Wednesday, is aimed at giving Honourable Members more time for constituency outreach to secure adequate input in the constitution review process.

“The extension follows the earlier decision by the House Committee on Constitution Review to extend the deadline for submission of memoranda to April 30, 2024.

“Additionally, the extended timeline will allow for more concerted preparation for the legislative summits on State Police, as well as the one on Tax Reforms, Revenue Enhancement, and Digital Transformation coming up in the next 2 weeks.

“All inconveniences arising from this rescheduling are regretted. In line with the Legislative Agenda of the 10th Assembly, the House remains committed to being accountable and providing timely communications to all stakeholders”.

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