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Italy earthquakes: Widespread damage in historic towns

This church in Campi di Norcia collapsed

Historic buildings in central Italy have been badly damaged by two strong earthquakes that forced hundreds of residents out of their homes.

It was "miraculous" no deaths had been reported, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said. Dozens of people were treated for shock or light injuries.

Rescue teams have been struggling to reach some areas but officials say the situation is not "catastrophic".

A quake rocked the same region in August, killing at least 298 people.

Wednesday evening's 5.5-magnitude quake struck near Visso in Macerata province, followed by a 6.1 magnitude tremor in the same area two hours later.

The first tremor sent people running out of their houses, potentially saving lives when the second stronger quake struck. Numerous smaller aftershocks followed.

Many houses have been badly damaged, forcing out hundreds of residents, who spent the night in cars and emergency shelters. Temporary shelter was being offered to people whose homes were at risk.

The quakes were felt across central Italy, including in the capital, Rome, where buildings shook and doors and windows rattled.

The mayor of Ussita, 5km (3 miles) west of Visso, told Sky Italia: "Many houses have collapsed. Our town is finished."

The town of Camerino is also thought to have been badly damaged.

In Campo, near Norcia in the Umbria region, the 15th-Century San Salvatore church collapsed. It had been weakened by the earthquake in August.

The light of day after a night of torrential rain has allowed emergency workers here to get a better picture of the damage.

The scenes in the affected areas are nothing like the devastation we saw in the town of Amatrice just over two months ago. That also explains the lack of casualties after the two strong tremors.

Locals here are worried, however, that the damage to tourist attractions in the area, like some centuries-old churches, may badly affect the coming winter tourist season.

And the series of strong aftershocks overnight is making people anxious here.

Massive boulders were still blocking access to some areas but Italy's civil defence chief, Fabrizio Curcio, said the situation was not "as catastrophic as might have been expected".

As teams worked through the night, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tweeted: "I want to thank those working in the rain in the earthquake zones. All of Italy is wrapping its arms around the communities that have been hit once again."

Visso is 70km (45 miles) from Amatrice, which was badly damaged in the 6 magnitude quake in August.

The new tremors are linked to the quake of two months ago, Italian officials say.

"Aftershocks can last for a long time, sometimes for months," AFP news agency quoted Mario Tozzi of Italy's National Institute of Geophysics as saying.

BBC

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Woman swindled out of P62 000 by fake CID officers

17th June 2021
Motube

Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.

According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.

“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.

The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.

Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.

“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’

They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.

In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.

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BCP walks out of UDC meeting

15th June 2021
Boko and Saleshando

Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.

UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.

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Katlholo wins against DPP

15th June 2021
DCEC DIRECTOR: Tymon Katlholo

The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.

The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.

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