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News24.com | at Least 7 People Killed, Dozens Injured As 6.2-magnitude Quake Strikes Indonesia’s Sumatra

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A woman tries to save her goods among the ruins of her damaged house after the 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Pasaman, Indonesia on 25 February 2022.

PHOTO: Adi Prima/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A 5.0-magnitude tremor was followed by a much worse 6.2-magnitude earthquake on Indonesia’s Sumatra island.So far, seven people died and 85 were injured in West Pasaman and Pasaman, and at least 5 000 people were evacuated.Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, causing it to experience frequent earthquakes.

Padang – Seven people died and dozens more were injured when a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked Indonesia’s Sumatra island on Friday, with residents shuttling loved ones to safety as buildings crumbled around them.

The quake came just minutes after a less violent tremor, as terrified residents had begun evacuating their houses.

“We all fled our home (after the first quake),” Yudi Prama Agustino, 36, told AFP. “I have a one-year-old baby, so in panic, I pushed the stroller out of the house.”

The quake hit the island’s north at a depth of 12km, about 70km from the town of Bukittinggi in West Sumatra province, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Agustino’s hometown in Agam district is another 40km from Bukittinggi.

“I noticed there was an earthquake because my kids’ toys fell over. I panicked because my in-laws were also in the house and they are quite old and sick,” Agustino said of the first tremor that was recorded at 5.0 by the USGS.

He added:

Once we were outside, a much stronger 6.2 quake happened and everybody panicked.

Seven people died and 85 were injured in West Pasaman and Pasaman – about 17km and 20km respectively from the epicentre – according to Abdul Muhari, spokesperson for the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB).

At least 5 000 people in the two districts have been evacuated.

Indonesian meteorological agency BMKG warned people to stay away from slopes over fears of landslides at the peak of the rainy season.

The quake was felt in the neighbouring provinces of Riau and North Sumatra and as far away as Malaysia and Singapore. No tsunami warning has been issued.

Collapsed homes

Images shared with AFP from Pasaman city, near the quake’s epicentre, showed partially collapsed houses with bricks lying on the ground and holes in the walls.

The town mayor’s residence also suffered damage, with shattered glass all over the floor, according to BNPB head Suharyanto, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

Television footage showed patients being wheeled out of a hospital in West Sumatra’s provincial capital Padang.

Alim Bazar, head of Pasaman’s disaster mitigation agency, told AFP some buildings suffered cracks.

“The mayor called and ordered that all second and third floors in every building should be vacated,” he said.

Irpanda, a resident of Pasaman, told Metro TV he felt both the first and second tremors.

“At first, the quake only lasted for a few seconds. People fled their homes and buildings nearby were swaying,” he said.

“But then another quake happened and it was so strong. More people fled their houses,” he said, adding patients at a local hospital were also moved outside.

Singapore, Malaysian tremors

Tremors were also felt in Singapore, witnesses and police said.

“Earth tremors were… felt in certain parts of Singapore at about 09:45,” the police said in a statement.

The police and emergency services “have received several calls from the public reporting these tremors”, they added.

One Singapore resident told AFP he felt a slight shake at home that left him dizzy, while state broadcaster CNA showed a video of ceiling lamps swaying at a high-rise apartment.

Malaysia’s meteorological department said in a tweet that “vibrations” were felt on the peninsula’s western states.

“Wow #earthquake in Kuala Lumpur,” wrote one Twitter user. “Building is swaying!!”

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, causing it to experience frequent earthquakes.

In 2004, a 9.1-magnitude quake struck the coast of Sumatra and triggered a tsunami that killed 220 000 people throughout the region, including about 170 000 in Indonesia.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire”, causing it to experience frequent earthquakes.

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News24.com | Thousands Protest in Madrid Against NATO Summit

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A crowd demonstrates against NATO.

Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto

Carrying the hammer and sickle flags of the former Soviet Union, thousands protested in Madrid on Sunday against a NATO summit which will take place in the Spanish capital next week.

Amid tight security, leaders of the member countries will meet in Madrid between 29-30 June as the organisation faces the unprecedented challenge of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

NATO is expected to consider the bid, opposed by alliance-member Turkey, for Finland and Sweden to join.

The Nordic nations applied in the wake of the Russian assault on Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war a special military operation he says in part responds to the accession to NATO of other countries near post-Soviet Russia’s borders since the 1990s.

READ | Biden said Putin’s goal of weakening NATO by invading Ukraine backfired spectacularly

“Tanks yes, but of beer with tapas,” sang demonstrators, who claimed an increase in defence spending in Europe urged by NATO was a threat to peace.

“I am fed up (with) this business of arms and killing people. The solution they propose is more arms and wars and we always pay for it. So, no NATO, no (army) bases, let the Americans go and leave us alone without wars and weapons,” said Concha Hoyos, a retired Madrid resident, told Reuters.

Another protester, Jaled, 29, said NATO was not the solution to the war in Ukraine.

Organisers claimed 5,000 people joined the march, but authorities in Madrid put the number at 2 200.

READ | Pandor says Finland’s bid to join NATO indicates a decline in international security

Spain’s Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said in a newspaper interview published on Sunday that the summit would also focus on the threat from Europe’s southern flank in Africa, in which he said Russia posed a threat to Europe.

“The foreign ministers’ dinner on the 29th will be centred on the southern flank,” he told El Pais newspaper.

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News24.com | Turkey Police Break up Istanbul Pride March, Detain Dozens: AFP

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Hakan Akgun/dia images

Turkish police on Sunday forcibly intervened in a Pride march in Istanbul, detaining dozens of demonstrators and an AFP photographer, AFP journalists on the ground said.

The governor’s office had banned the march around Taksim square in the heart of Istanbul but protesters gathered nearby under heavy police presence earlier than scheduled.

Police detained protesters, loading them into buses. AFP journalists saw two buses of people who had been held, including AFP’s chief photographer Bulent Kilic, who had been handcuffed from the back.

Kilic, who was also detained last year during the Pride march, is currently in police custody.

Hundreds of protesters carrying rainbow flags pressed ahead with the rally in defiance of police.

Although homosexuality has been legal throughout the period of the modern Turkish republic, LGBTQ individuals point to regular harassment and abuse.

Istanbul Pride has taken place every year since 2003.

The last march which took place without a ban – in 2014 – drew tens of thousands of participants in one of the biggest LGBTQ events in the majority Muslim region.

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News24.com | NASA Blasts Off From Australian Outback in ‘historic’ Launch

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NASA’s first-ever launch from a commercial site outside of the United States blasted off from Australia’s Outback late Sunday, in a “historic” moment for the country’s space industry.

In the first of three planned launches from the Arnhem Space Centre, the rocket, carrying technology likened to a “mini Hubble” telescope, lifted off — blasted about 350 kilometres (218 miles) into the night sky.

“It is a momentous occasion for us as a company in particular, but it’s historic for Australia,” Equatorial Launch Australia CEO Michael Jones told AFP ahead of the lift-off.

Jones, whose company owns and operates the launch site in the far north of Australia, described it as a “coming out” party for the country’s space industry and said the chance to work with NASA was a milestone for commercial space firms in the country.

After a series of rain and wind delays, the suborbital sounding rocket soared into the sky to study x-rays emanating from the Alpha Centauri A and B systems.

After reaching its apogee, the rocket’s payload was to capture data on the star systems before parachuting back to earth.

READ | NASA is slowly powering down the Voyager probes. Here are 18 photos from its 45-year mission.

According to NASA, the launch offers a unique glimpse of the distant systems and unlocked fresh possibilities for scientists.

“We’re excited to be able to launch important science missions from the Southern Hemisphere and see targets that we can’t from the United States,” Nicky Fox, NASA’s Heliophysics Division director in Washington, said on announcing the mission.

Jones said the unique location had made preparations hard, with years of work to get regulatory approval and the need to haul rockets on barges to the launch site – about 28 hours drive from Darwin in northern Australia.

“I think for the team, it’s gonna be, you know, a huge relief that it’s done,” he said.

READ | ‘Giant leap forward’ – South Korea space rocket launch puts satellites in orbit

But with the next launch already looming on July 4, the break would be short-lived.

“We need to, you know, dust ourselves off, take a day off and then get back into it in readiness for the next launch because it’s just as important.”

It is the first NASA rocket to launch from Australia since 1995, and the project was hailed as the start of a “new era” for the country’s space industry by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.

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