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11 Die In Thailand Van Crash

Police authorities have disclosed that a passenger van crash in central Thailand over the Lunar New Year holiday killed 11 people, including two children.

Traffic accidents are common in the kingdom, which has a notorious road safety record, particularly during busy public holidays.

The van carrying 12 people was travelling from northeastern Amnat Charoen province to Bangkok when it veered off the highway in central Nakhon Ratchasima province Saturday night, said Police Colonel Yingyos Poldej.

Yingyos told AFP that one man had been able to climb out a window, but the other passengers were trapped and died in the blaze.

The survivor, Thanachit Kingkaew, a 20-year-old student, said he was asleep when he was jolted awake after hearing someone scream.

“I woke up and the next thing I know, the van was upside down. I didn’t see what happened,” he said.

“After the crash, the fire started engulfing the whole van starting from the back.

“I started kicking the windows and managed to crawl through a small hole,” he said.

“Soon after that, the van exploded.”

Nikhom Seaun, a volunteer with a local rescue team, said the van exploded just seconds after it was engulfed in flames.

“It took less than 30 seconds for the fire to consume the whole van,” he said.

“I couldn’t do anything with the fire extinguisher I had. The van then exploded three to four times.”

Yingyos, the police colonel, said the van used both fuel and compressed gas but initial reports found the gas tank had not leaked.

“We think that the fire was caused by the fuel,” he said, adding they were still investigating what caused the vehicle to veer off the road.


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Russia Agrees Deal To Station Nuclear Weapons In Belarus

Russia has struck a deal with neighbouring Belarus to station tactical nuclear weapons on its territory.

Vladimir Putin, head of the Kremlin (Russian government) made the announcement on Saturday as speculations about possible nuclear strikes in the country’s invasion of Ukraine grow.

Putin said the move would not violate nuclear non-proliferation agreements.

Belarus shares borders with Russia and Ukraine.

The country also has borders with three North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) members – Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Putin said his move to deploy nuclear weapons in Belarus is not startling as the United States, a sympathiser with Ukraine, has stationed nuclear weapons in the territory of its European allies for decades.

The Russian president added that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had looked forward to the Kremlin stationing tactical nuclear weapons in his country.

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Tornado Tears Through US State Of Mississippi, Kills 23

At least 23 people have died after a tornado tore through the US state of Mississippi on Friday night.

Dozens of residents have been injured while four persons are said to be missing.

The numbers are expected to rise as search efforts are underway to rescue people thought to be trapped under knocked-off buildings, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MSEMA).

The tornado caused devastation in several rural towns, yanking roofs off homes, nearly levelling some neighbourhoods and causing power outages.

Videos shared on social media showed piles of rubble, wrecked cars and search teams sifting through debris for survivors.

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In Latest Assessment, World Bank Says It Will Take 10 Years To Rebuild Ukraine

A new assessment by the World Bank says reconstruction and recovery efforts in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion will take 10 years.

The joint assessment released on Thursday by the World Bank, the Ukraine government, the European Commission, and the United Nations (UN), noted that the cost of rebuilding the country has grown to $411 billion.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022.

The report said the reconstruction cost estimate covers the one-year period from Russia’s invasion and combines both needs for public and private funds.

The cost includes an estimated $135 billion of direct damage – mainly to the housing, transportation, energy, commerce, and industry sectors.

The estimated cost of repair is more than double the country’s GDP in 2022

In June 2022, the World Bank said it would cost $349 billion to rebuild Ukraine.

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