Gas explosion in New Zealand’s Christchurch injures several people

In this image made from video, people bring their guns to exchange for money in Christchurch, New Zealand on July 13, 2019, months after a deadly terrorist attack on two mosques in the city. A suspected gas explosion in the city on Friday has caused jitters among still jittery residents. (TVNZ via AP)
Updated 19 July 2019

Gas explosion in New Zealand’s Christchurch injures several people

  • Christchurch remains on edge a terrorist attack on two mosques that killed 51 people and wounded dozens
  • Police were investigating the cause of Friday's explosion

WELLINGTON: New Zealand emergency services evacuated residents near what they said was a suspected gas explosion in the South Island city of Christchurch on Friday that left a house on fire and several people injured.
The city remains on edge four months after a lone gunman killed 51 people and wounded dozens in attacks on two Christchurch mosques in New Zealand’s worst peacetime mass shooting.
There was no indication that Friday’s blast had any wider security implications.
“Fire and Emergency New Zealand was called to a house on fire ... at about 10.15 a.m. after reports of a large gas explosion,” a spokeswoman for New Zealand’s fire service said.
Four fire engines, a specialist command unit and a fire investigator were at the scene, she said.
Police said in a statement initial reports suggested a number of people had been injured in the incident in the residential suburb of Northwood. Media reports said six people had been taken to hospital.
A house was on fire and police had closed roads and were carrying out evacuations following what they described as a “serious incident.”
A Christchurch hotel worker, who was not identified, told the New Zealand Herald newspaper that a sound like an explosion had shaken nearby buildings.
“It was more than an earthquake, you’d think a bomb had gone off,” the newspaper quoted the worker as saying.
Police did not identify the cause of the incident. A Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said a fire investigator was at the scene but did not yet have any official information about the cause.

 


Trump says terminating US relationship with WHO over coronavirus

Updated 29 May 2020

Trump says terminating US relationship with WHO over coronavirus

  • Trump said the WHO had failed to make reforms to the organization that the president had demanded earlier this month
  • “China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying,” he said

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump on Friday said he is terminating the US relationship with the World Health Organization over its handling of the coronavirus, saying the WHO had essentially become a puppet organization of China.
Appearing in the White House Rose Garden, Trump went ahead with repeated threats to eliminate American funding for the group, which amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Trump said the WHO had failed to make reforms to the organization that the president had demanded earlier this month. He said Chinese officials “ignored their reporting obligations” about the virus to the WHO and pressured the WHO to “mislead the world” when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities.
“China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying which is approximately $450 million a year. We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engaged with them directly but they have refused to act,” said Trump.
“Because they have failed to make the requested and greatly needed reforms, we will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs,” he said.
Trump has long questioned the value of the United Nations and scorned the importance of multilateralism as he focuses on an “America First” agenda. Since taking office, Trump has quit the UN Human Rights Council, the UN cultural agency UNESCO, a global accord to tackle climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.
The World Health Organization is a UN specialized agency — an independent international body that works with the United Nations. The WHO and a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Trump’s decision.