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At least 285 people feared dead after magnitude 5.9 earthquake hits eastern Afghanistan

At least 285 people were killed and many more wounded after a magnitude 5.9 earthquake hit eastern Afghanistan Wednesday, according to the country’s disaster management authority.

The earthquake hit at 1.24 a.m. about 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) southwest of the city of Khost, which lies close to the country’s border with Pakistan, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
The quake registered at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles), according to USGS, which assigned the quake a yellow alert level — indicating a relatively localized impact.
Most of the deaths were in Paktika province, where 255 people were killed and 155 others were injured in the districts of Giyan, Nika, Barmal and Zirok, according to the State Ministry for Disaster Management.
In neighboring Khost province, 25 people were killed and several others were injured, and five people were killed in Nangarhar province, the disaster management authority said.
Photos from Paktika province, just south of Khost province, show destroyed houses with only a wall or two still standing amid the rubble, and broken roof beams.
Local officials and residents have warned that the death toll is likely to rise, according to state-run news agency Bakhtar.
A team of medics and seven helicopters have been sent to the area to transport injured people to nearby hospitals, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense said in a tweet on Wednesday.

Najibullah Sadid, an Afghan water resources management expert, said the earthquake had coincided with heavy monsoon rain in the region — making traditional houses, many made of mud and other natural materials, particularly vulnerable to damage.
“The timing of the earthquake (in the) dark of night … and the shallow depth of 10 kilometers of its epicenter led to higher casualties,” he added.
A Taliban deputy spokesperson, Bilal Karimi, said the earthquake had been “severe,” and asked aid agencies to “urgently send teams” to the area affected.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the World Health Organization said its teams were on the ground for emergency response, including providing medicine, trauma services and conducting needs assessments.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif extended his condolences and an offer of support in a tweet on Wednesday. “Deeply grieved to learn about the earthquake in Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of innocent lives,” he wrote. “People in Pakistan share the grief and sorrow of their Afghan brethren. Relevant authorities are working to support Afghanistan in this time of need.”
Pope Francis said he was praying “for those who have lost their lives and for their families,” during his weekly audience on Wednesday. “I hope aid can be sent there to help all the suffering of the dear people of Afghanistan.”
The earthquake comes as the country is in the throes of a hunger crisis. Almost half the population — 20 million people — are experiencing acute hunger, according to a United Nations-backed report in May. It is a situation compounded by the Taliban seizing power in August 2021, which led the United States and its allies freezing about $7 billion of the country’s foreign reserves and cutting off international funding.

At least 27 vaccines are available in the U.S.

FILE – In this Dec. 29, 2020, file photo a Chester County, Pa., Health Department worker fills a syringe with Moderna COVID-19 vaccine before administering it at the Chester County Government Services Center in West Chester, Pa. Moderna said Monday, Oct. 25, 2021 that a low dose of its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and appears to work in 6- to 11-year-olds. It is the second U.S. vaccine aimed at eventually being offered to children.

Although the coronavirus nike sneakers vaccine is the one on most everyone’s mind these days, vaccines for at least 27 diseases are now in use in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This includes vaccines to prevent mumps, measles, the flu, pneumonia and more. Among the available vaccines for children and adults, 17 (in addition to the one for covid-19) are on the CDC’S recommended list for protection against particularly dangerous or deadly diseases, such as polio, diphtheria, hepatitis, tetanus and whooping cough. (Neither list has been updated to include covid-19).

In addition, the World Health Organization says that vaccines are now being developed to target at least 15 more diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria. A vaccine, most often given by injection (a shot), is a preparation that essentially teaches your immune system to identify and fight off harmful germs, such as viruses and bacteria, thus keeping you from getting sick.

Determining which vaccines would benefit a particular person depends on such things as age (older people, for instance, are urged to get a shingles vaccine) and upcoming travel that might expose you to diseases no longer common in the United States (such as cholera and smallpox).

Getting a vaccine protects an individual, but when enough people are vaccinated against a particular disease, it becomes ecco shoes harder for that illness to spread. That helps create what is called herd immunity. It also can lead to near-eradication of a disease, which is what happened with polio in the United States.

On the flip side, however, an American Heart Association survey found that 60% of Americans say they may delay or skip getting a flu vaccination this year, which experts say will likely lead to a bad flu season. Among other negatives, the pandemic has resulted in a worrisome drop in childhood vaccination rates.

Dominic Cummings: Police have fined at least two people who made same journey from London to County Durham

Durham Police have fined at least two people who travelled to the county from London, it has been revealed.

Dominic Cummings, the chief adviser to Downing Street, was not reprimanded for making the same journey when his wife had coronavirus symptoms.

They took their young son to stay on his parents’ farm days after the start of the UK lockdown, where Mr Cummings claimed it was easier to self-isolate and seek childcare.

A Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the BBC showed that Durham Constabulary fined two people who journeyed from London to Peterlee about a week later, on 8 April.

The two people travelled together but were from different households, which was against the rules at the time.

Fines for breaching coronavirus laws are handed out on the spot by police officers, and Mr Cummings was not stopped during his journey.

The FoI data only covered the first two-and-a-half weeks after the regulations came into force on 27 March.

Police across England and Wales issued around 3,200 fines in that period, but the total has now risen to more than 14,000.

Durham Constabulary had handed out 137 fines in total by 11 May, provisional figures show.

Calculations by The Independent show the force was issuing them at an average rate when compared to other areas by population size.

Both the government and police have refused to review fines handed out under coronavirus laws because of Mr Cummings’ trip.

“We have no plans to conduct a review of fines issued so far,” a spokesperson for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said on Wednesday.

“The legislation includes a non-exhaustive list of reasonable excuses for leaving home. “Policing’s approach has been to engage, explain, encourage and only enforce as a last resort. That position has been promoted consistently since the introduction of the restrictions.

“If anyone believes they have been issued a fine in error – for any reason – they can challenge it at court.”

The Health Protection Regulations make it illegal to leave home or be outside “without reasonable excuse”.

But the law lists several exceptions including “to access critical public services, including childcare or educational facilities”.

Mr Cummings also went to work in Westminster while his wife was ill and visited a hospital to pick up his son after developing Covid-19 symptoms himself.

He said he made a trip to Barnard Castle on Easter Sunday to test his eyesight.

A police investigation is underway and officers have interviewed witnesses who saw the adviser in County Durham.

A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary said it was conducting a review of information received by officers, adding: “While that review is ongoing it would be inappropriate to make any further comment.”

Boris Johnson has rejected calls for Mr Cummings to face an inquiry over his actions, suggesting it would not be a “very good use of official time” during the pandemic.

Human rights organisations had previously called for a wider review of fines, raising concerns that “a significant number of fixed penalty notices have been wrongly issued”.

A lawyer previously told The Independent that most people will have paid the fines because there is no route of appeal other than refusing to pay and risking prosecution.

While restrictions were relaxed in England on 13 May, the default fine was increased from £60 to £100.

The same changes were not made in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, sparking further confusion over the extent of the law.