Fire Shuts Kenya’s Main International Airport
A fire believed to have started at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s (JKIA) immigration zone has closed its facilities, forcing air traffic to the East African regional hub to land elsewhere in the region. Michael Kamau, cabinet secretary for transport, said the fire was “very severe” and urged travellers to stay away from the airport. “JKIA’s emergency security programme is now in full force and all responding agencies are on the ground to ensure that the situation is normalised as soon as possible. We have been able to evacuate everyone and no injuries have been reported”, he added. All passengers who arrived before the airport was shut were being held in the cargo area at a safe distance, but were unable to leave the facilities. An official interviewed by Kenya’s Nation newspaper said that fire hydrants at the airport had failed, delaying efforts to contain the fire.
First Case of Possible Human-to-Human Bird Flu Transmission Reported in China
Scientists from China’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the first possible case of human transmission of the H7N9 bird flu virus that has killed over 40 people since March. “People should not panic. The transmissibility of this novel virus was not so effective”, said epidemiologist Chang-jun Bao. The case cited by the scientist was that of a 60-year-old man who died after contracting the virus, apparently transmitted from his daughter. The 32-year-old woman also died in hospital. She had had no access to live poultry, leading researchers to conclude that her direct contact with her father while nursing him was the likely explanation for her infection with H7N9. Virus samples taken from both of them were “almost identical”. Chinese officials warn that the current lull in infections may end by the autumn.
US to Hold Talks With Russia Despite ‘Cold War Mentality’
The US has decided to host talks with Russia’s Foreign and Defence Ministers in Washington on Friday despite the Russian government’s decision to grant asylum to Edward Snowden, the US intelligence whistleblower. The US State Department said Secretary John Kerry would raise the issue with Russian officials. “We have raised Mr. Snowden with Russian officials many times in recent weeks. We expect to do so again. We would like to see Mr. Snowden return to the United States. I don’t know technically what that requires, but we know they have the capability to do that”, said spokeswoman Jen Psaki. Meanwhile, during an interview with Jay Leno in The Tonight Show, US President Barack Obama criticised Russia’s stance on the issue. “There are times when they slip back into Cold War thinking and Cold War mentality. What I continually say to them and to President Putin, ‘That’s the past. We’ve got to think about the future’”, said the president.
International Mediators Fear Failure Might Plunge Egypt into Bloodshed
International mediators from the US, the European Union (EU), Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) attempting to defuse the political crisis in Egypt said their efforts may fail, potentially plunging the country into a full-scale civil war. “I didn’t know it was this bad. These folks are just days or weeks away from all-out bloodshed. There is only one way to bring about a peaceful Egypt and that is the process of negotiation and reconciliation between the major players”, said US Senator John McCain. Meanwhile, Egyptian government spokesman Ahmed el-Muslimani said McCain’s description of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi’s ouster as a ‘coup d’etat’ was a distortion of the facts and “unacceptable in form and substance”, adding that “foreign pressure has exceeded international standards”.
Gas Explosion in Argentina Kills 12, Injures 60
A gas leak at a residential building in Rosario, Argentina’s third largest city, caused an explosion on Tuesday that killed 12 people and injured 60 residents, with another 15 victims still not located amidst the debris. The blast at the nine-storey building happened after a technician visited the site to work on a supply line and inadvertently “cause a gas leak”, according to Rosario mayor Mónica Fein. This caused “the collapse of an entire section located in the back area of the building”, according to Rosario’s civil defence director, Raúl Rainone, carrying with it nine floors and eighteen apartments. “We will assist and monitor every single family affected”, added the mayor, thanking all of those that had gathered at the site to help in the rescue efforts.