Your weekly round up of some of the main news stories from around the world this week:
The last seven days have seen two major earthquakes that have caused death and destruction in Japan and Ecuador. Japan experienced a 7.3 magnitude quake on Saturday, the epicentre near the southern city of Kumamoto. The aftershocks since Saturday have caused landslides and further damage to bridges, roads and tunnels. There are at least 100,000 people living in temporary accommodation around the affected area, most without running water, electricity or gas. Aid workers are doing their best to support those worst affected however they have been delays in aid reaching isolated areas due to the damaged infrastructure. Around 40 people have been killed and a further 998 injured, a devastating figure; however, the building regulations in Japan have meant that most buildings were able to withstand the quake, saving countless lives.
Ecuador has been hit hard also, by their own devastating Earthquake. The Earthquake they experienced on Saturday has killed 413 people and the death toll still rising, thousands more are injured. The buildings in Ecuador, especially in rural areas, are not built to withstand earthquakes as they are in Japan; buildings have collapsed, crushing and entrapping people. Looting has broken out, especially in Pedernales, a city that has been all but destroyed. …
The looting and chaos in the wake of the Earthquake has led to the deployment of the armed forces in order to maintain control. The authorities in Ecuador are struggling to cope with the urgent needs of the displaced people; hospitals are overflowing with the injured and thousands of people are without shelter, running water or sanitation. More than 135,000 aid workers have been deployed and aid has been sent to help those worst affected.
Elsewhere in South America, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff is facing impeachment following allegations of breaking budgetary laws back in 2014. Impeachment is a decision made by Brazil’s Congress and Senate whether to remove Rousseff from office permanently or to re-instate her with no further trial. The scandal has caused conflict in the streets of Brasilia (Brazil’s capital) between her supporters and those who want her removed from office. In general it has been younger people and the working class in opposition to the impeachment and older people and middle classes in favour of Rousseff’s removal. If Rousseff is impeached, Brazil will have difficulty replacing her; the people 1st, 2nd and 3rd ‘in line’ to the presidency are all also facing trial over corruption. The trial will continue over the coming month and will likely have huge repercussions both inside and outside Brazilian politics, especially in the run up to the Summer Olympics.
Johnny Depp and his wife Amber Heard have released this slightly bizarre video in recompense for not declaring their two dogs to quarantine authorities on a recent trip to Australia. The couple’s video has gone viral; here’s an amusing analysis from the Guardian :http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/apr/18/johnny-depp-amber-heard-video-dogs-australia-state-mind-control
There has been a suicide bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan today, at least 28 people have been killed and 329 injured according to latest figures. The bomb was detonated in a busy neighbourhood, close to the Ministry of Defence. The explosion was followed by an exchange of gunfire between military forces and another of the attackers. The Taliban have claimed it was behind the attack; it marks the beginning of what they have announced as the ‘spring – offensive’ and have warned the government to expect more large scale attacks such as today’s.
Finally, the US Presidential Campaign reaches a climax today as the New York Primary gets under way. New York is seen to be a crucial Primary and all candidates are trying to win over voters by placing a personal claim. Hilary Clinton, New York’s former Senator, looks likely to win this Primary over rival Bernie Sanders in the Democratic Party contest. Donald Trump is hoping for a victory in New York too, a win here would reduce the potential of him having to face a contested nomination at the Republican Party convention later this summer.
GOOD NEWS: ‘It’s not all doom and gloom’
Researchers are proceeding with “cautious optimism”(BBC) after results have shown that the dementia threat may not be as severe as was originally feared. Rates of dementia diagnosis are no longer following trends predicted previously. Researchers believe there to be 40,000 fewer cases of the disease in the UK than was estimated 20 years ago. The findings have been put down to improvements in health, particularly in men; the drop in the amount of smokers along with a greater emphasis on managing healthy blood pressure and the importance of exercise. Scientists hope that this will only improve and so we will see further reductions in dementia cases in the years to come.
(Resources: BBC News, YouTube, The Guardian)