Archive for: ‘May 2019’

Romanian nightclub fire kills 27

19/05/2019 Posted by admin

In one of the capital’s worst disasters in decades, up to 500 people, mostly young adults, stampeded for the only available exit as the club in the basement of a Communist-era sport-shoe factory filled with smoke.

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Officials and witnesses said fireworks were used inside the club, while Colectiv Club’s Facebook page advertised pyrotechnic effects at the show.

Deputy Interior Minister Raed Arafat said 17 of the 27 dead had yet to be identified and 146 people remained in hospital. He said no fire permit was requested by the club nor granted to them by the Bucharest firefighting department.

“Unfortunately, the death toll may change taking into account the severity of their injuries,” Arafat said after an emergency meeting early on Saturday.

President Klaus Iohannis toured Bucharest hospitals to visit the victims and also lit a candle at the club, while some 600 people queued to donate blood.

“I’ve got strong clues the law was broken in this case. I’m revolted that such a tragedy happens in downtown of the capital and innocent youngsters are perished,” Iohannis said.

A pillar covered with foam panels and the club’s ceiling went up in flames, followed by an explosion and heavy smoke, the witnesses said. Many people admitted to 12 hospitals had suffered burn, smoke inhalation injuries or were trampled.

TV footage showed police officers and paramedics trying to resuscitate young people lying on the pavement while sirens wailed with more ambulances deployed to the scene.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta, just back from an official visit to Mexico, ordered checks on clubs across the country to see whether safety and firefighting norms are being observed.

“There was a stampede of people running out of the (Colectiv) club,” a man who escaped without shoes told Reuters.

A young woman who was released from the hospital after minor injuries described the club bursting into flames.

“In five seconds the whole ceiling was all on fire. In the next three, we rushed to a single door,” she told television station Antena 3.

Deputy Prime Minister Gabriel Oprea said a criminal investigation into the causes of the incident was already under way at the General Prosecutor’s office on suspicion of murder and destruction crimes, but no accusations were yet pressed.

Any open fire displays and fireworks in Romania require special authorization if used in a public indoor place. Such permits may be granted if the venue is assessed to be safe and equipped with extinguishers, and the fire department deploys several firefighters to the place.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker sent a message of condolences: “I am greatly saddened to see so many young lives ending so tragically. My thoughts are with the grieving families and friends as well as with all those working hard in rescuing and in assisting the victims.”

Some of the deadliest nightclub disasters in the world have been caused by fireworks.

In the southern Brazilian college town of Santa Maria in 2013, a musician lit an outdoor flare inside the Kiss nightclub and started a fire that killed at least 241 people.

Fireworks were also blamed for nightclub fires in Russia’s Perm that killed 156 people in 2009 and in Argentina’s Buenos Aires in 2004 that killed 194.

Hansen hails classy All Blacks

19/05/2019 Posted by admin

New Zealand coach Steve Hansen has expressed his deep satisfaction at guiding the All Blacks to back-to-back World Cup triumphs but stopped short at calling his side the greatest ever.

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Hansen became the third New Zealander to mastermind a successful World Cup campaign after Sir Brian Lochore in 1987 and Graham Henry in 2011 with a 34-17 win over Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

“Whether they are the greatest team of all time that is for others to decide,” Hansen said.

“But I can say this team is not about one player it’s about 23 guys and they have all been fantastic over the last six weeks.”

Hansen replaced Henry at the helm following the emotion-charged 8-7 win over France at Eden Park four years ago and said the key to winning in 2015 was putting that drought-breaking triumph quickly behind them.

It saw them team raise the bar again from 2012 with a record-equalling 17 straight wins that included victory in every Test match played in 2013.

“It’s massively satisfying, we set out four years to do something special and had to put a full stop on what happened in 2011 in 2012,” Hansen said.

“We had to rebuild the team so we could come here in 2015 with the right experience but also with some young players who had experience.

“The pleasing thing is that we have a massive group of players that have between 20 and 40 Test matches that can take this team forward once the other guys decide to move on.”

Hansen was also full of praise for the Australia’s performance and admitted Michael Cheika’s side had his side concerned as they staged a second half fightback.

“On a night like this it’s extremely tough for the loser but I thought Australia were magnificent in the way they approached the game, they never laid down,” he said.

“At 21-3, you could be fooled into thinking the game was over but at 21-17 they could easily have come back.

“Whilst we are very proud of what we have achieved as a group we would like to say well done to Australia as well.”

Key confident in All Black victory

19/05/2019 Posted by admin

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key is on the hunt for some shorter companions to accompany him into the All Blacks changing room after what he is confident will be a victorious World Cup final for New Zealand.

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A photo of the prime minister shaking hands with towering lock Sam Whitelock following New Zealand’s semi-final win over South Africa became an internet sensation, but Mr Key was quick to shout down the accuracy of the picture.

“He is not that tall, and I am not that short, OK?” Mr Key told reporters in London on Friday.

While the prime minister has been criticised by some for his dressing room visit, he looks set to return to the players’ quarters after Saturday’s decider.

“I’m going to have to get a few dwarfs in, get them to come in with me,” he joked.

“Aaron Smith, he’s not that tall either, I’ll have to restrict my photos to shorter people.”

With regards to the outcome of the match, Mr Key remains confident he will come out on top in his wager with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The pair have agreed that the leader of the losing country will wear a tie in the other country’s colours in parliament during question time.

“This All Blacks side has a point to prove, that they can win back-to-back cups. They desperately want to beat Australia, the record shows that they can,” Mr Key said.

“It’s sport and anything can happen, but my money’s on the All Blacks.”

He also noted the contribution of a number of retiring players, including Richie McCaw, saying their contribution to the game and as ambassadors for New Zealand had been enormous.

While McCaw had previously turned down the offer of a knighthood, Mr Key indicated that was something that could be revisited if the long-serving player wanted it.

“For our country, it does matter whether we win the game or not, but, win or lose, we’ll know that the All Blacks will have given 110 per cent,” Mr Key said.

“I have no doubt there’ll be a lot of lights on at three o’clock in the morning New Zealand time watching the game.”

Qld shouldn’t drop cyclone defence: expert

19/05/2019 Posted by admin

Forecasts for a quieter cyclone season shouldn’t stop Queenslanders preparing for the worst, an expert warns.

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The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted fewer cyclones this season, running from November to April next year, because of a strong El Nino effect.

But Dr David Henderson says residents should remember a single storm cell could still do significant damage.

The James Cook University’s Cyclone Testing Station director said well-prepared homes – that have been well maintained and regularly checked by a builder or certifier – are less likely to lose a roof in high winds.

Dr Henderson said this was even more important for older homes which can often have just two nails holding the battens to the rafters.

Homeowners need to take responsibility for updating their properties regularly, he said.

“We’re used to our cars, driving and being serviced every couple of years,” he said.

“Our houses are no different. They sit around for thirty, forty years and we expect it to work.”

“But we’ve got to put the maintenance in.”

The bureau’s outlook predicts about four tropical cyclones to form along Australia’s east coast this season, with one likely to make landfall.

It comes after Queenslanders received a battering from Cyclone Nathan and Cyclone Marcia this year.

An average cyclone season sees about 11 tropical systems eventuate, four of which cross the coast.

HOW TO GET YOUR HOME READY FOR CYCLONE SEASON:

– Get builder or certifier to inspect home for corrosion, termites

– Follow storm preparation guidelines of emergency services, local council

– Prune trees and take down shadecloths at property

– Clean gutters

– Invest in window protection

(Source: JCU Cyclone Testing Station)

Stopping childcare price hikes: Sinodinos

19/05/2019 Posted by admin

Price gouging by childcare centres will be restrained under planned federal government changes to the childcare rebate.

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Senior Liberal Arthur Sinodinos said in the past parents were directly subsidised for childcare, but this coincided with an increase in daily fees.

The new plan, which has not yet been finalised, aims to constrain centres from hiking up daily charges, Senator Sinodinos said.

“We are putting some processes in place to also constrain price increases,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

His comments come after a News Corp report that families earning a combined income of over $230,000 will pay more for childcare.

They will also face cuts to the childcare rebate from 50 per cent to 30 per cent, while increased assistance will be given to help low and middle-income families.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said he was making no apologies for working out ways to help low and middle income earners so they can work and increase their hours.

But the detail of any changes to the original package had not yet been finalised.

“Average Australian families who work, study or volunteer will be significantly better off under these reforms,” Senator Birmingham said in a statement on Sunday.

Labor’s childcare spokeswoman Kate Ellis said 21 months and three ministers after launching a Productivity Commission review, the Liberals still can’t tell Australian families what is happening with their childcare changes.

“The Liberals promised more affordable and accessible childcare, but so far all they have delivered is confusion,” Ms Ellis said in a statement.