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Istanbul launches program to check buildings’ safety following deadly quakes

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The Turkish largest city Istanbul has launched a massive program to check the safety of its buildings in the wake of the recent deadly earthquakes that killed 44,000 people in the country.

ISTANBUL, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) — Türkiye’s largest city Istanbul has launched a program to provide rapid scans of buildings as many residents worry about the safety of their residences in the wake of recent devastating earthquakes that have killed over 44,000 people in the country.

As the country’s financial and cultural hub with over 16 million residents, Istanbul is located at the west end of the North Anatolian Fault Line, which has produced many major earthquakes throughout history. The city government launched the scanning program in a bid to soothe the nerves of local residents.

The service, which includes measuring the consistency of concrete and counting the number of rebars with X-ray scan, will evaluate the strength of the ground and rate the safety level of the checked building accordingly.

Ozlem Tut, head of the Municipality’s Earthquake Risk Management and Urban Improvement Department, told reporters last Thursday that they received 85,000 applications for the test since the deadly dual tremors took place on Feb. 6.

“There has been a lot of concern after the earthquakes,” Tut said, “we will respond to all of it.”

The municipal teams prioritize structures built before 2000, checking 150 buildings per day.

If the concrete’s strength is reported as “weak,” then it will be reinforced. If reinforcement is not possible, then the building will be demolished before a new one is built. In case of demolition, the city provides up to 4,500 Turkish liras (238 U.S. dollars) in rental assistance to its residents.

In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake rattled the industrialized Marmara region, home to Istanbul, killing more than 17,000 people and leaving some 300,000 homeless. The devastation forced the authorities to adopt regulations with nominal construction quality after 2000.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu urged residents to cooperate on the issue, as there is considerable work in the megalopolis of over 1.16 million buildings. According to the 2021 building inventory, about half of the buildings do not meet earthquake resistance standards.

“This is a call for mobilization,” Imamoglu announced on his social media accounts. “Thousands of buildings in Istanbul must be demolished and constructed to be earthquake-proof.”

Meanwhile, Istanbul University Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty Hospital suspended all the health and education services in its 17 buildings in the compound in the Fatih district on the city’s European side after an earthquake risk examination.

On Monday, Faculty President Nuri Aydin told reporters that the test results revealed that the buildings were at risk and the evacuation had started. This state-owned hospital is one of the most comprehensive health facilities in the city.

In the wake of the deadly tremors in early February, many Istanbul residents plan to move to earthquake-proof buildings, while the authorities are scrambling to evaluate the buildings’ strength.

Kerem Koramaz, a resident living in the Bakirkoy district on Istanbul’s European side, told Xinhua that he had applied for testing the safety of his apartment, built in 2005, in case of an earthquake strike.

“What we as citizens need most is technical support from local administrations and public institutions, which will be there for us during this process,” Koramaz said.

As a result, the rents of new apartments have skyrocketed in the city recently.

The rents of new apartment buildings have increased 10 to 20 percent in the past 15 days, said Muttalip Iscan, a real estate agent in Istanbul.

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Maldives to experience rain nationwide on voting day

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Meteorological Center (MET Office) has reported Maldives will experience rainfall nationwide on Sunday, amid the parliamentary election.

MET Office on Saturday forecasts heavy rainfall accompanied with thunder from Laamu atoll to Addu atoll. The authority also forecasts rainfall from central parts to northern atolls as well.

The weather authority also reported that the winds speeds will be between 5 to 15 miles per hour nationwide.

Despite rainfall nationwide, the seas would not be rough to interrupt sea transportation, MET added.

With many already traveling to their home islands to cast vote in the parliamentary election, the government has already announced Monday, April 22nd will be a public holiday as well.

Source(s): sun.mv

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Middle East countries voice concern over military escalation after alleged Israeli attack on Iran

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Countries in the Middle East have voiced their concern over military escalation in the region after Israel on Friday allegedly struck sites near the city of Isfahan, central Iran, in what appeared to be its military response to Iran’s recent retaliatory attack.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry called on the two sides to exercise the utmost restraint and to fully comply with the rules of international law and the UN Charter, warning against widening the conflict and instability in the region.

Egypt stressed that it will continue to intensify communications with all concerned and influential parties to contain the ongoing escalation and tension.

In addition, the Iraqi Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the ministry “is constantly monitoring the tension in the region,” expressing its deep concern about the attack targeting Isfahan on Friday morning.

The ministry said that the escalation must not distract attention from the destruction and loss of innocent lives in the Gaza Strip, renewing its call on the international community to perform its duties and work to stop the suffering of the Palestinian people, according to the statement.

Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi on Friday stressed the need to reduce the dangerous escalation in the region and reiterated that “Jordan will not allow it to be turned into an arena of conflict between Iran and Israel and to endanger its security and the safety of its citizens.”

Safadi, who also serves as the Jordanian foreign minister, added on social media platform X that “the current escalation only serves to divert attention away from the Israeli aggression on Gaza, stopping which must be the priority.”

The Israeli attack came after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps confirmed Saturday that it had launched missile and drone attacks on Israel in retaliation for earlier airstrikes by Israel on April 1 on the Iranian consulate building in the Syrian capital of Damascus, which killed seven Iranians.

So far, Israel has not officially acknowledged the strikes on Isfahan, while Iran has not publicly accused Israel of carrying them out.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned the Israeli strikes on Syrian military sites earlier in the day as a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty and a threat to regional stability.

In a statement, the ministry warned that such actions could escalate tensions in the region, potentially leading to a broader conflict, and urged the international community, including the UN Security Council, to condemn the attack and take decisive measures to halt the “crimes” committed by Israel.

In the early hours of Friday, the Israeli military launched a series of airstrikes targeting Syrian air defense sites in the southern region, according to the Syrian Defense Ministry. The strikes caused material losses, while no casualties were reported, it added.

The attack was also confirmed by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported that more than six Israeli aircraft were observed flying intensively in southern Syria.

The radar battalion responsible for monitoring the airspace, located in the east of Syria’s Daraa province, was targeted, the war monitor added.

Source(s): CGTN

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This is a golden opportunity to cooperate with a government: President

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President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu states this is a golden opportunity for a parliament that will cooperate with a government that wants to produce results.

Speaking at a meeting with Addu City constituents residing in Male’ City on Friday night, the President said his administration’s only focus is to produce results.

He described the upcoming parliament election as a golden opportunity for a parliament that will cooperate with a government that wants to produce results.

“My focus is on results, nothing else. It is results that the people want, is it not? The result of development and the result of stability, is that not what people have been wanting?” he questioned.

Speaking further, President Muizzu, underscoring the nation had not seen the desired number of changes in the past years, said his administration will not spend time on anything other than producing results.

“This is truly a golden opportunity. You are receiving a golden opportunity to pave the way for full cooperation necessary within the parliament to a government that is solely focused on producing results,” he said.

Citing the aforementioned reasons, he urged the public to vote for ruling PPM-PNC coalition’s candidates contesting in the parliamentary election slated for Sunday.

MDP has the largest number of candidates contesting this parliamentary election at 90 constituencies, followed by PPM-PNC coalition at 89 constituencies.

A total of 368 candidates are contesting for 93 constituencies.

Polling stations will be open from 8:00am to 5:30pm on Sunday; a decision made by the Elections Commission earlier today, which is undertaking final preparations for the election.

Source(s): sun.mv

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