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Ecuador earthquake kills at least 12, causes wide damage




Quito, Ecuador –

A powerful earthquake struck southern Ecuador and northern Peru on Saturday, killing at least a dozen people, trapping others under rubble and sending rescue teams onto streets littered with debris and downed power lines.

The US Geological Survey reported an earthquake with a magnitude of about 6.8 that was concentrated just off the Pacific coast about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, Ecuador’s second-largest city.

Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso said in a televised address to the nation that the earthquake killed 12 people.

One victim was a passenger in a vehicle that was crushed by debris from a house in the Andean community of Cuenca, according to the Risk Management Secretariat, the South American country’s emergency response agency.

In the coastal state of El Oro, three people died and several were trapped under debris, the agency reported. In the community of Machala, a two-story house collapsed before people could evacuate, a pier gave way and the walls of a building collapsed, trapping an unknown number of people.

The agency said firefighters were working to save people while the National Police surveyed the damage. Their work was complicated by downed wires that disrupted phone and electricity service.

In Guayaquil, about 270 kilometers southwest of the capital Quito, authorities reported cracks in buildings and houses and some collapsed walls. Authorities ordered the closure of three vehicle tunnels in Guayaquil, which anchor a metropolitan area of ​​over 3 million people.

Videos shared on social media show people gathered on the streets of Guayaquil and in surrounding communities. People reported objects falling into their homes.

A video posted online showed three anchors of a show dart from their studio table as the set wobbled. They initially tried to shake it off as a slight tremor, but soon fled the camera. One host hinted that the show would be going on a commercial break, while another reiterated, “My god, my god.”

A report by Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate ruled out a tsunami threat.

The earthquake was also felt in Peru, from the northern border with Ecuador to the central Pacific coast. No dead or injured were immediately reported. In the northern region of Tumbes, the old walls of an army barracks collapsed, authorities said.

Ecuador is particularly prone to earthquakes. In 2016, an earthquake concentrated farther north on the Pacific coast in a sparsely populated area of ​​the country killed more than 600 people.


Associated Press writers Regina Garcia Cano in Caracas, Venezuela and Franklin Briceno in Lima, Peru contributed to this report.


Violent French pension protests erupt as 1 million demonstrate : Reported Medias




Demonstrators run amid tear gas during a demonstration in Lyon, central France, on Thursday, March 23, 2023. French unions are holding their first mass demonstrations on Thursday since President Emmanuel Macron inflamed public anger by forcing a higher retirement age through parliament without a vote.

Laurent Cipriani/AP

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Demonstrators run amid tear gas during a demonstration in Lyon, central France, on Thursday, March 23, 2023. French unions are holding their first mass demonstrations on Thursday since President Emmanuel Macron inflamed public anger by forcing a higher retirement age through parliament without a vote.

Laurent Cipriani/AP

PARIS — More than 1 million people demonstrated across France on Thursday against unpopular pension reforms, and violence erupted in some places as unions called new nationwide strikes and protests next week linked to the planned visit of King Charles III. coincided in France.

The Interior Ministry said the march in Paris – like numerous demonstrations elsewhere marred by violence – drew 119,000 people, a record for the capital during the pension protests. According to polls, most French people oppose President Emmanuel Macron’s bill to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, which he says is necessary to keep the system afloat.

Building on the strong turnout, unions were quick to call for fresh protests and strikes on Tuesday, when Britain’s king is due to visit Bordeaux on the second day of his trip to France. The heavy wooden door of Bordeaux’s elegant town hall was set on fire by members of an unauthorized demonstration on Thursday night and quickly destroyed, Sud Ouest newspaper said.

Nationwide, more than a million people took part in protest marches in cities and towns across the country on Thursday, the ministry said.

Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin, who visited police headquarters on Thursday evening as fires were still burning in some parts of Paris, assured that security “is not an issue” and that the British monarch would be “welcomed and well received”.

He said there was a “tremendous deterioration” in public buildings and commerce on Thursday, “far more significant than at previous demonstrations.”

“There are troublemakers, often from the extreme left, who want to overthrow the state and kill the police and eventually take over the institutions,” the minister said.

The demonstrations came a day after Macron further angered his critics by campaigning heavily for the retirement bill that forced his government through parliament without a vote.

“As the (President) tries to turn the page, this social and union movement confirms … the determination of the working class and youth world to secure the rollback of reform,” the eight unions that organized protests said in a statement. It called for localized measures this weekend and new nationwide strikes and protests on Tuesday.

Demonstrators march during a rally in Paris, Thursday March 23, 2023.

Aurelien Morissard/AP

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Demonstrators march during a rally in Paris, Thursday March 23, 2023.

Aurelien Morissard/AP

Strikes have upended travel as protesters blocked train stations, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, refineries and ports.

In Paris, street fighting between police and black-clad, masked groups who attacked at least two fast-food restaurants, a supermarket and a bank reflected the escalating violence and drew attention away from the tens of thousands of peaceful protesters.

Police, pelted with Molotov cocktails, objects and firecrackers, attacked several times and used tear gas to disperse rioters. A fog of tear gas fumes covered part of the Place de l’Opera where protesters gathered at the end of the march. According to Darmanin, there were about 1,500 radicals.

Violence marred other marches, particularly in the western cities of Nantes, Rennes and Lorient – where an administrative building was attacked and the police station courtyard burned and its windows broken – and in Lyon in the south-east.

Thursday’s nationwide protests were the ninth union-led demonstrations since January, when opponents hoped Parliament would reject Macron’s measure to raise the retirement age. But the government enforced it with a special constitutional measure.

In an interview on Wednesday, Macron refused to back down from his position that a new law was needed to fund pension funds. Opponents proposed other solutions, including higher taxes on the wealthy or corporations, which Macron said would hurt the economy. He insisted the government’s draft law raising the retirement age must be implemented by the end of the year.

Now the Constitutional Council has to approve the measure.

“We’re trying to say before the law comes into effect … that we have to find a way out, and we keep saying that the way out is to withdraw the law,” moderate CFDT union leader Laurent Berger said The Associated Press.

High-speed and regional trains, the Paris Metro and public transport systems in other major cities have been disrupted. Around 30% of flights at Paris Orly Airport have been cancelled.

The Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles, where the British monarch is to dine with Macron, were closed on Thursday due to strikes.

Violence, a recurring theme at protests, has increased in recent days. Darmanin said there were 12,000 security forces on French streets as of Thursday, including 5,000 in Paris.

The Education Ministry said in a statement that about 24% of teachers in elementary and middle schools quit their jobs on Thursday and 15% in secondary schools.

At Paris’s Gare de Lyon train station, several hundred strikers took to the tracks to stop trains moving, waving flares and chanting “and we will go, and we will go to the point of retreat” and “Macron, go away.”

“This year our holidays might not be great,” said Maxime Monin, 46, who stressed that workers like him who work in public transport don’t get paid on strike days. “But I think it’s worth the sacrifice.”

In the northern Paris suburbs, several dozen union members blocked a bus depot in Pantin, preventing about 200 vehicles from getting off during rush hour.

Nadia Belhoum, a 48-year-old bus driver who took part in the campaign, criticized Macron’s decision to push through the higher retirement age.

“The President of the Republic … is not a king and he should listen to his people,” she said.

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Trump mugshot: What is the process for indicting Donald Trump on hush money charges




A threatening criminal accusation are now generally expected come down on Donald Trump’s shoulders Many are wondering what to expect when and if he is arrested.

The authorities have erected barricades outside Manhattan CouReported Mediashouse where Mr Trump’s indictment would take place.

A Grand jury could indict him for alleged hush money payments made for porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign. Trump has denied having an affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Several questions remain the step-by-step process for criminally indicting a former president, including the logistics to actually carry out the task of getting Mr Trump into the couReported Mediasroom. Of course, some decisions are still in the stars: “We will discuss how we can bring Trump in,” said one of the planning paReported Mediasicipants Politically this week, adding cryptically, “No decisions have been made yet.”

Many of these questions likely revolve around how much of this process will be conducted in person, a time-consuming and complicated endeavor given Mr. Trump’s continued Secret Service protection and his status as an active candidate for the 2024 GOP nomination.

Will Donald Trump surrender or fight extradition?

His lawyers have cautioned that the former is the most likely outcome if charges are indeed filed. There have been whispers (and very public urging from his suppoReported Mediasers) in favor of the president doing the latter, but such an effoReported Medias would likely be unsuccessful and would only add more public spectacle to the already humiliating drama. In most white-collar crime cases, the defense attorney comes to an agreement with the prosecutor, and the two paReported Mediasies agree on a date for the accused to appear.

Will he be tied up?

Almost ceReported Mediasainly not. The crime(s) he could be charged with are not considered violent crimes and the former president is not considered a risk of absconding. District Attorney Alvin Bragg has also repoReported Mediasedly spoken out about the optics of Mr Trump’s indictment. So don’t expect attention-grabbing moves like beating Mr Trump in handcuffs. In contrast, The New York Times repoReported Mediass that Mr Trump hopes Mr Bragg will actually take the step, as he hopes to ignite a media frenzy over photos of a former US President being “perp-walked”.

What about fingerprints and a mugshot?

Yes and yes. These are standard paReported Mediass of the booking process and not just skipped because of Mr Trump’s celebrity status.

Karen Agnifilo, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan Attorney’s Office, told the Wall Street Journal that Trump would then also be questioned and arrested by detectives.

“And he would be issued with a criminal record reflecting that arrest, like any other person who is arrested and fingerprinted in this country,” Ms Agnifilo said.

She added that like most defendants awaiting trial, Trump would likely be spared being held in a holding cell.

Does he have to appear in person?

For the first booking procedure yes; that doesn’t work remotely. What is still under consideration is whether Mr Trump will need to be physically present at his indictment, which he has repoReported Mediasedly discussed as a cheap option, but it is very possible that Mr Trump’s lawyers will push for the indictment hearing to be postponed takes place remotely.

Will he be forced to post bail?

Probably not. Should he be formally charged without conflict, a judge will likely release him at his discretion.

when will it happen

While Mr Trump predicted he would be arrested on Tuesday, March 21, the day came and went without charges. The grand jury trial was then dismissed on Wednesday, March 22, and postponed the following day, delaying an eventual indictment.

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North Korea tests underwater attack drone that can generate ‘radioactive tsunami’ | World News




North Korea has tested a new underwater attack drone capable of generating a radioactive tsunami, the country’s state media have claimed.

The nuclear-capable drone was launched off the coast of Riwon County in South Hamgyong Province this week.

It reached its target off Hongwon Bay, where it detonated its test warhead, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), after cruising underwater at depths of 80 to 150 m for more than 59 hours.

The drone is called the Unmanned Underwater Nuclear Attack Craft “Haeil”. Haeil means tsunami.

It is designed to sneak up on enemy fleets and ports before triggering an underwater explosion that creates a radioactive wave.

The test “verified [the drone’s] reliability” and “validated his ability to deliver the fatal blow,” KCNA said.

Also tested were four “strategic cruise missiles” that flew over the sea for more than two hours.

“Respected comrade Kim Jong Un was very pleased with the results,” KCNA said.

Trace of an alleged underwater drone
The trail of an alleged underwater drone
Kim Jong Un and senior officials observe drills
Kim Jong Un and senior officials observe drills

It comes as the US and South Korea completed an 11-day exercise that included extensive field training and as the US reportedly prepared to send an aircraft carrier to the area for more military exercises.

North Korea described the exercises as “deliberate, persistent and provocative” and said they had taken them to “an irreversibly dangerous point”.

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Kim Jong Un’s sister warns against using the Pacific Ocean as a shooting range

It described the US as “imperialists” and South Korea as “a puppet regime of traitors” and said the two countries had “launched a large-scale dangerous exercise, an actual exercise to occupy the DPRK”.

South Korea’s Defense Minister Lee Jong-Sup said Thursday that the North probably hasn’t mastered the technology to arm its most advanced weapons, although it has made “significant advances”.

North Korean military drone in flight
A North Korean drone in flight
Kim Jong Un at a weapons testing facility
Kim Jong Un visited a weapons testing center

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said: “Pyongyang’s recent claim of having a nuclear-capable underwater drone should be viewed with skepticism.

“But it is intended to show unequivocally that the Kim regime has so many different means of nuclear attack at its disposal that any pre-emptive or decapitation strike against it would fail catastrophically.”

North Korea has fired more than 20 ballistic and cruise missiles this year after firing a record more than 70 last year.

Mr Kim wants to negotiate a lifting of Western sanctions but refuses to initially agree to US demands for a cut in its nuclear programme, saying it is necessary for the North to defend itself.

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