At least 13 people have died in a fire that engulfed three nightclubs in the south-eastern Spanish city of Murcia.
The blaze broke out in the Fonda Milagros nightclub – known as La Fonda – early on Sunday morning.
It then spread to neighbouring clubs as patrons rushed to escape the packed dancefloors, police said.
Local media reported that family members celebrating a birthday were among the dead.
One of the birthday party attendees – who was at the club with his cousins and aunt – said he returned home during the chaos, only to be told that one of his cousins had not left, La Verdad de Murcia newspaper reported.
It is not clear if the cousin was among those confirmed dead.
Police have confirmed that all of those who died were at La Fonda, but added 14 people were still unaccounted for. They warned the number of deaths would probably rise.
The club is located in the Atalayas area in Murcia, and the fire is believed to have started at around 06:00 (04:00 GMT).
Nearly 15 hours on, it is still not clear what caused it. But Murcia’s Mayor Jose Ballesta told reporters earlier in the day that the fire had broken out on the first floor of the club.
Diego Seral, of the national police, said the roof of La Fonda had collapsed, which was making it challenging to locate victims and work out what had happened.
BJP leads in 3 of 4 states in key regional elections
India’s Hindu nationalist party was headed for a clear win in three out of four states Sunday, according to the election commission’s website. The crucial poll has pitted India’s opposition against the ruling party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of next year’s vital national vote.
Ballot counting showed Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, was poised to wrest control of the states of Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan from the Indian National Congress, India’s main opposition party. The BJP was also likely to be re-elected in Madhya Pradesh in for a record fifth term.
The Congress was comfortably leading in Telangana state which is ruled by the strong Telangana Rashtra Samithi, known for opposing BJP in the state.
Final results are expected later Sunday.
Vote counting in a fifth state, Mizoram, is set for Monday where BJP’s regional ally, Mizo National Front, is in power.
Elections in the five states were held last month where more than 160 million people, or a sixth of India’s electorate were eligible to vote in the polls. Polling in India is generally done in phases owing to the large population.
Modi thanked voters for “their unwavering support” in the states his party was leading.
“The results in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan indicate that the people of India are firmly with politics of good governance and development, which the @BJP4India stands for,” Modi wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Rahul Gandhi, the Congress leader, conceded defeat in the three states where his party was trailing behind the BJP. “The battle of ideology will continue,” he wrote on X, formally known as Twitter, and thanked the people of Telangana where his party was winning.
Modi and his party remain popular on a national level after nearly a decade in power and surveys suggest he is expected to win a third consecutive term in 2024. But a new alliance of 28 opposition parties, called INDIA, is expected to challenge Modi’s party nationally. The acronym, which stands for Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, comprises India’s previously fractured opposition parties and is led by the Congress party.
Both the Indian premier and the Congress leader Gandhi flew across the five states to woo voters as they campaigned to support their parties’ candidates. The charged-up voting campaigns witnessed both leaders promising voters subsidies, loan waivers and employment guarantees.
Modi will seek reelection next year at a time when India’s global diplomatic reach is rising. But in recent polls, Congress has dented his party’s image of invincibility by toppling local BJP governments in state elections in southern Karnataka and northern Himachal Pradesh.
The elections come at a time when India is facing multiple challenges; rising unemployment, attacks by Hindu nationalists against the country’s minorities, particularly Muslims, and a shrinking space for dissent and free media.
Source: The Associated Press
Tsunami alert lifted
The Philippines lifted a tsunami alert early on Sunday as waves receded from a magnitude 7.4 earthquake that struck the south of the country, triggering coastal evacuations and some waves in there and in Japan.
There were no initial reports of casualties or serious damage from the quake in the Mindanao region, although some residents reported damage to buildings in the area, which is less populated than some parts of the archipelago.
More than 500 aftershocks were recorded, and the Philippines’ Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) urged caution as people resumed normal activities.
“The tsunami threat associated with this earthquake has now largely passed the Philippines,” Phivolcs said in a statement but advised people in threatened communities to heed the instructions from local authorities.
It had earlier urged people living near the coast of Surigao Del Sur and Davao Oriental provinces to move inland.
The national disaster said it was assessing the impact of the quake, with a team on the ground collating information.
The Philippine Coast Guard put all its vessels and aircraft on alert for potential dispatch.
“We started going back to our homes early on Sunday, although we are still shaking because of aftershocks,” Julita Bicap, 51, a front desk staffer at GLC Suites hotel in the seaside town of Bislig, said after power was restored around 5 a.m. (2100 GMT)
“There are aftershocks even now. Last night we were at the evacuation centre including my two foreigner guests. One of them came back to the hotel already,” Bicap told Reuters, adding that she noticed a small crack in the hotel’s front wall.
The largest aftershock was magnitude 6.5, according to the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.
Earthquakes are common in the Philippines, which lies on the “Ring of Fire”, a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is prone to seismic activity.
Scores of residents were seen in an evacuation centre in photographs posted on social media by the authorities in Hinatuan province, 30 km (20 miles) from the quake’s epicentre.
Philvolcs’ Hinatuan-Bislig Bay station recorded maximum waves of 0.64 metre (2 feet). Japan’s Hachijojima island, some 290 km (180 miles) south of Tokyo, recorded waves of 40 cm (1.3 feet), the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The U.S. Tsunami Warning System had initially warned of waves of up to 3 metres (10 feet) above the usual high tide level.
The quake, which struck at 10:37 p.m. (1437 GMT) on Saturday, was at a depth of 25 km (15 miles), Philvolcs said.
James Soria, who owns a small hotel in Hinatuan, said there had been significant damage to his home. “It’s shaking again here now,” he told Reuters before the call was disconnected as another aftershock hit.
Cosme Calejesan, 47, said there had been damage to his house in Surigao City 185 km (115 miles) from the epicentre, but the structure was intact.
“I was already asleep, but I was woken up by the creaking sounds of my cabinets when the tremor occurred,” he said. “It was frightening. It was sudden and abrupt and I was worried for my children.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by srilankamirror staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
Tsunami warning following Philippines quake
A 7.6 magnitude earthquake has hit the Philippines, triggering a tsunami warning.
The quake struck off the island of Mindanao late at night, with residents living on the eastern coast urged to evacuate from their homes immediately.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center warned that tsunami waves could hit the southern Philippines and parts of Indonesia, Palau and Malaysia.
It causes around 100-150 earthquakes a year in the region due to tectonic plates overlapping at convergent boundaries called subduction zones.
Mindanao is the second-largest island in the Philippines and is home to about 26 million people.
Davao City, the third-largest city in the Philippines, is on the coast of Mindanao.
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