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Buildings shake as 7.5-magnitude quake kills 4 in Mexico

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New Delhi, A powerful earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale hit the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, killing four people and injuring four others, the National Civil Protection Coordination (CNPC) said Wednesday.

A tsunami warning was sounded on the Oaxaca coast. The country’s seismological service recommended that residents move away from the coastline.

The epicentre of the quake, which hit at 10.29 a.m. here Tuesday, was located 23 km south of La Crucecita, a Pacific Coast village in southern Oaxaca state, the National Seismological Service (SSN) said via Twitter.

Two men and a woman were among the dead in separate incidents as a result of damage to roofs and walls. The fourth victim was a male employee of the state oil company Pemex, who fell from a structure during the quake and died from his injuries in the hospital, Xinhua news agency reported.

The strong quake was felt in 12 south and central states, and by 2.30 p.m. over 447 aftershocks had been reported. Some structures, including houses, markets, schools, churches and four hospitals at different locations, sustained damage, according to the CNPC.

In Mexico City, 32 buildings in the downtown area, near the National Palace, sustained damage to their facades, but only one already condemned building had structural damage, the CNPC said.

Mexico’s oil refinery in Salina Cruz, some 143 km from La Crucecita, briefly suspended operations as a precaution, and restarted again.

Mexico is located above various fault lines. In the past 35 years there were several powerful quakes in the southern and central parts of the country, which caused wide-scale destruction and heavy casualties.

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Prachanda faction expels Prime Minister Oli from party

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Discord and division continue inside the Nepal Communist Party, which has not split formally but has virtually fallen apart after Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli unilaterally decided to dissolve the House of Representatives on December 20 without the party’s consent.

Since then, the Nepal Communist Party is acting like two parties — one headed by Oli himself and the other led by former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal. Both sides are running separate programmes across the country under the same banner as they await official recognition from the Election Commission.

Amid this row, the Prachanda-Nepal faction has taken disciplinary action against Oli.

A Standing Committee meeting of the faction held on Sunday decided to expel Oli from the party, its spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the media.

The dissident faction has alleged Oli breached the party discipline and is liable to expulsion from the party. It had earlier relieved him from the post of party Chairman.

According to Pampha Bhusal, leader of the dissident faction, Sunday’s meeting decided to expel Oli even from the general membership, accusing him of violating the party statutes.

“He (Oli) is not even an ordinary member of the party now,” Bhusal said.

The faction had earlier asked Oli to furnish, within three days, an explanation why not action should be not taken against him for anti-party activities.

The faction had handed over this notice to the Prime Minister’s residence. However, Oli did not respond to the letter. Sunday’s meeting also reviewed the protest programme and discussed a new protest plan.

The faction had taken to the streets against the dissolution of the House of Representatives, terming the move unconstitutional and undemocratic.

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Pak okays Russian vaccine for ’emergency use’

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The Sputnik V has become the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in the country — the first one being the Oxford University-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and the second one by Chinese state-owned firm Sinopharm. 

“In a meeting conducted by the registration board of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (Drap), another vaccine has also been given EUA which was developed with the backing of Russian Develop­ment Investment Fund,” Dawn news reported on Sunday citing the official as saying. 
“Russia’s state-owned Sputnik-V has developed a double-dose vaccine, which is administered by syringes,” said the official. 

A local pharmaceutical AGP, he said, had been authorised as the sole importer and distributor of the Russian vaccine. 
The development comes as Pakistan’s overall coronavirus caseload has increased to 532,412 as of Sunday, while the death toll stood at 11,295.

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Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over Uyghur tweet

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Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

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