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Tragedy as 41 die, many trapped in Taiwan train accident

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At least 41 people have died, many injured and scores still trapped in a train derailment that occurred today (Friday) in an eastern Taiwan tunnel.

The eight car train carrying 490 passengers was travelling to Taitung when it came off the rails in a tunnel just north of Hualien on Friday morning, causing several carriages to hit the wall of the tunnel, the government-run Central News Agency (CNA) reported, citing the fire department.

The train driver is among the 41 dead, according to Taiwan’s Premier, Su Tseng-chang. Dozens are being treated for injuries; some severe, while an unknown number of people are still stuck in carriages that were badly damaged in the accident.

A passenger climbs out of the derailed train in Hualien County, Taiwan, on April 2.

A passenger climbs out of the derailed train in Hualien County, Taiwan, on April 2.

The derailment could have been caused by a vehicle which fell from a slope near the tunnel, and hit the moving train, according to CNA.

A video on social media showed parts of an industrial vehicle heavy equipment, along with what looks like a car door beside the derailed train.

In the video, a man can be heard saying, “Our train hit the truck. Where is this place? Qingshui Tunnel, the accident happened at Qingshui Tunnel. The train hit the truck, the truck fell off. It’s lucky that I was at the later carriage — I was at the fourth carriage.”

“Is everyone out in carriage four?” a woman is heard shouting from inside the tunnel, in videos provided by the fire department.

“In response to a train derailment in Hualien, Taiwan, our emergency services have been fully mobilized to rescue & assist the passengers & railway staff affected,” Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, said on Twitter.

He added, “We will continue to do everything we can to ensure their safety in the wake of this heartbreaking incident.”

The accident came just as a long weekend kicked off for the Tomb Sweeping Day public holiday.

One couple who were on the train told CNA they were on their way to Taitung to sweep tombs and pay their respects to deceased family members, as is traditional for the event. The train was so full that many people were standing.

The crash site is located just east of the picturesque Taroko National Park, a popular tourist destination on the country’s mountainous east coast.

In 2018, 18 people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in northeastern Taiwan, in the island’s worst rail disaster in more than three decades.

Sources: CNN and Reuters

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NURTW moves against highway crime, adopts vehicle e-tracking

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The National Union of Road Transport Workers says it will track members’ vehicles electronically as a way to address the spate of kidnapping and insecurity on expressways.

The union, during the National Executive Council meeting in Osogbo, Osun State capital, said it was imperative for them to use electronic tracking device in curbing the menace of kidnapping and insecurity on expressways in the country.

President of the union, Alhaji Tajudeen Baruwa, said the NURTW had lost many members to banditry while many were kidnapped.

He said, “We have resolved to use tracking to monitor our members’ vehicles. This will help us to alert our members of impending dangers.

“We admonish our members to be security conscious; the issue of insecurity in the country is worrisome. Many times our members are been kidnapped across the country, we have lost many members as a result of insecurity and there is no compensation from the government. So we really need to be careful and vigilant when we are on the steering. E-tracking will help passengers and our members after we put it to use”.

Baruwa thanked members for their support and confidence in his administration.

He said the administration was faced with serious financial challenges and the emergence of the COVID19 affected their revenue, adding that it was a miracle to have survived the devastating effects of the lockdown.

 

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EFCC arrests, grills ex-Imo governor, Okorocha

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested former Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha.

He was arrested in Abuja and was later questioned by the EFCC over issues bothering on alleged corruption.

Okorocha, currently representing Imo West at the Senate, was grilled at the EFCC Abuja office on Tuesday.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the development but did not give further details.

 “It is true, he was arrested today in Abuja but we are not giving details,” he said.

Okorocha had been accused by the Imo government of looting the state’s treasury through various malpractices.

He was in February arrested by police from the Imo State Command for allegedly unsealing Spring Palm Estate linked to his wife, Nkechi.

Okorocha was later released but about 14 of his loyalists are being tried.

The Imo State Government had sealed the Spring Palm Estate and other properties claimed to have been “diverted” by Okorocha and his family members.

But the Senator said the properties were legitimately by him and his family members.

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NBS: Used vehicles, motorbikes, PMS top Nigeria’s imports

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Used vehicles, motorcycles, premium motor spirit, popularly called petrol, and antibiotics were the major products imported by Nigerians from India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China in the fourth quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics has said.

The bureau stated this in its just released Commodity Price Indices and Terms of Trade Q4 2020, according to a Punch report.

It also stated that the major commodities exported from Nigeria to the five nations were crude oil and natural gas.

The NBS said, “The major export and import market of Nigeria in Q4 2020 were India, Spain, the Netherlands, United States and China.

“The major exports to these countries were crude petroleum and natural gas. The major imports from the countries were petroleum motor spirit, used vehicles, motorcycles and antibiotics.”

The bureau stated that the all-commodity group import index increased by 0.13 per cent between October and December 2020.

“This was driven mainly by an increase in the prices of base metals and articles of base metals (one per cent), boilers, machinery and appliances; parts thereof (1.03 per cent), and products of the chemical and allied industries (0.75 per cent),” it stated.

According to worldstopexports.com, Nigeria imported about half (49.6 per cent) of its imported goods by value from Asia in 2019; another 30 per cent from suppliers in Europe with 11.2 per cent arriving from North America.

Smaller percentages were said to come from fellow African nations (6.5 per cent), Latin America (2.3 per cent) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (0.3 per cent) led by New Zealand and Australia.

Given Nigeria’s population of 201 million people, its total $47.4 billion in 2019 imports translated to about $240 in yearly product demand from every person in the West African region country.

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