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2 missing in central China’s gas factory blast

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Two persons are missing after an explosion at a gas plant workshop in the city of Yima in the Henan Province of China on Friday, local authorities said.

The explosion happened around 5:45 p.m. in the air separation unit of the Yima gas factory of the Henan Coal Gas (Group) Co., Ltd.

The explosion did not occur in the gas tank areas and production has been stopped, according to a source in the Yima city government.

The explosion caused multiple injuries and the injured were sent to the hospital, said the source.

The exact number of casualties remains unknown.

 

 

Foreign

Riga considers charging tourist tax of one euro per night

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Riga considers charging tourist tax of one euro per night

Tax

Riga (Latvia), Aug. 21, 2019 (Xinhua/NAN) The local authority of Latvian capital city Riga is considering introducing a tax on the nights spent by each tourist in the city’s hotels and guest houses.

The city council’s financial and administrative affairs committee announced the measure on Wednesday.

According to the proposal, all hotels and other tourist facilities would have to pay one euro per overnight stay of each tourist.

The maximum rate charged on tourists staying for more than 10 days would be 10 euros and no tax would be charged on Zero to 12-year-old children.

Hospitality services providers will be required to submit monthly reports on the number of guests accommodated and the amount payable in tourist tax.

The city council believes the tourist tax will help develop tourism and increase the number of visitors in Riga.

Rough estimates suggest that the new tourist tax may bring around 3.5 million euros into Riga’s budget annually.

According to the data of the national statistics office, the time both foreign and local tourists spend in Riga’s hotels and guest houses tends to be growing. (Xinhua/NAN)

HLM/DCU

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Former Zimbabwe Vice President Mphoko appears in court

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Mphoko

Mphoko had been on the run after fleeing from Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officers at a Bulawayo police station on Monday.

The former VP was remanded out of custody, granted 1,000 Zimbabwe dollars bail and ordered to report to the police once a week.

He was also ordered to surrender his passport, not interfere with state witnesses and reside at his given address until the matter is finalised as part of his bail conditions.

Mphoko, who on Saturday refused to cooperate with ZACC officers and instructed them to leave his home after they tried to arrest him, is being accused of criminal abuse of office.

He allegedly instructed junior police officers to free the then Zimbabwe National Road Administration acting Chief Executive, Moses Juma.

Juma had been arrested on criminal abuse of office charges and was being held at Avondale Police Station in Harare.

Mphoko allegedly committed the offence in 2016 when he was still vice president of Zimbabwe.

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Indonesia sends police reinforcement to unrest-stricken province

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Indonesia sends police reinforcement to unrest-stricken province

 

Reinforcement

According to police spokesman Muhammad Iqbal protesters set a market on fire and threw stones at buildings following a series of violent rallies in the province over perceived discrimination.

“The extra police personnel will be deployed to major towns following information and prediction of intelligence.

“We are giving top priority to a persuasive approach and communication with community and religious leaders. The situation in the province has been under control,“ Iqbal said.

Thousands of people took to the streets in West Papua province and torched several government buildings following arrest of Papuan students in East Java province.

According to media report, a prison was also stormed that led to the escape of no fewer than  250 inmates.

West Papua is home to insurgency of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) which emerged since 1960s.

However, the OPM’s emergence sought an independent state through guerrilla war while civilians, soldiers and foreign firms had been targeted by the separatist group.(Xinhua/NAN)

YI/DCU

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Zimbabwe’s monthly inflation fell in July

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Inflation

The monthly inflation rate, at 4.4 per cent in March, rose to 5.5 per cent in April, 12.5 per cent in May and then shot up to 32.96 per cent in June.

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, on Aug. 1, suspended the publication of annual inflation figures until February 2020 to avoid miscalculation of the country’s inflation.

He said the suspension was done due to the changes in functional currency from the U.S. dollar to Zimbabwe dollar in June.

In June, Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rose to 175.66 per cent, the highest in a decade. (Xinhua/NAN)

HLM/IS

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Portuguese fuel tanker drivers threaten new strike in September

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Threat

The Hazardous Material Drivers’ Union (SNMMP), issued a notice of the workers’ scheduled strike, saying that it would be a standstill overtime, weekends and holidays.

The president, SNMMP, Francisco Sao Bento, told newsmen that with the strike, it had become clear that companies were built on top of these workers overtime work.

Bento added that some of the drivers already summed up to 500 hours of extra work in 2019 alone.

The development came after Tuesday’s failure over pay rise in negotiations between SNMMP and the National Association of Public Road Hauliers (Antram) under the first meditation of the Portuguese government.

SNMMP, however, commenced a nationwide strike for indefinite period on Aug. 12, but later terminated the action on Aug. 18.

YI/AIB

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