Connect with us


At least 58 killed in devastating forest fire in Portugal



Lisbon, June 18: An out-of-control forest fire in central Portugal has killed at least 58 people and injured 54, according to updated figures provided on Sunday by the government.

Secretary of State for Internal Administration Joao Gomes reported that the number of deaths had risen as a result of the devastating wildfires that erupted on Saturday in the vicinity of Pedrogao Grande, a small rural town near the city of Coimbra, reports Efe news.

“The latest victim was found in the countryside,” said Gomes, who was tasked with delivering the latest information available to authorities on the site, located some 190 km to the northeast of Lisbon.

Gomes said at least 30 victims, including entire families, were found dead in their vehicles on two roads in the Leiria district that were blocked by the flames’ advance, trapping motorists in the inferno.

Another 17 bodies were found next to the roads and 10 were recovered from the rural areas surrounding them.

Gomes said eight firefighters were among the injured – four in serious condition.

Meanwhile, teams of psychologists have been deployed to attend to survivors, who were reportedly “in shock” and in many cases had lost relatives in the tragedy.

The wildfire was still active on four separate fronts and had cut off several roads to Pedrogao Grande, added Gomes.

In addition to the Portuguese rescue teams that arrived from the cities of Coimbra, Setubal and Lisbon, two Spanish aircraft were aiding extinction efforts while the arrival of French support was also expected.

The flames spread during Saturday afternoon in a way that “has no explanation”, Gomes said, after strong winds turned a low-scale fire into an uncontrollable wildfire.

“Unfortunately, this seems to be the greatest tragedy we have seen in recent years in terms of forest fires,” said Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

Sources from Portugal’s Judicial Police told EFE that the likely cause of the fire was a bolt of lightning that struck a dry tree in the heavily-forested area.

High temperatures and a lack of rainfall were major factors that allowed the flames to spread very quickly, trapping many of the people attempting to flee Pedrogao by car.



Industries face challenges in digital era: Merkel

We see that the rapid digitization of all areas of life, the increasing commitment of the economy, and the growing economies of the emerging economies



Angela Merkel

Berlin, March 22 : German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned German industries on Wednesday about losing competitiveness in the time of digitalisation.

As good as the German economy is at present, Merkel said there would be great changes in the German economy due to digitisation and globalisation, Xinhua quoted a statement as saying.

“We see that the rapid digitization of all areas of life, the increasing commitment of the economy, and the growing economies of the emerging economies,” said the Chancellor, referring to China.

“It is not guaranteed that Germany will be as economically prosperous in five or 10 years as it is today. After all, the drivers of digitisation would not be in Germany or Europe, but in the United States and Asia,” she added.

The economic framework has changed rapidly, the world economy is closely intertwined, and the world is quickly changing. The leading German industries have all been affected, said Merkel, who cited former telecom giant Nokia as a warning to German industries about falling behind the market.

“The social market economy must pass a new test,” said the Chancellor.

Politics must create a new framework for the challenges of the digital age, in which data is the raw material of the future, she added.

Continue Reading


25 dead in Kabul bombing



Kabul, March 21: At least 25 people lost their lives and 18 wounded in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan’s capital on Wednesday as people were celebrating Nawroz or New Year in the country, authorities said.

The incident happened near Kabul University in the afternoon, Tolo News reported.

The death toll could rise as emergency personnel were attending to the victims on the scene. Witnesses said they saw many casualties on the ground soon after the explosion, which is believed to have been a car bomb.

Continue Reading


Myanmar president U Htin Kyaw quits



Yangon, March 21: Myanmar President U. Htin Kyaw has stepped down according to an official release of the President Office on Wednesday.

He will take rest, Xinhua quoted the release as saying.


Continue Reading

Most Popular