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California wildfires kill six, burn area larger than Rhode Island | News

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California’s lightning-sparked wildfires more than doubled in size into some of the largest in state history on Friday, with one blaze advancing to within a mile of the University of California, Santa Cruz (USCS).

At least six people have died, 43 firefighters and civilians have been injured, and more than 500 homes and other structures destroyed as fires have burned an area larger than the United States state of Rhode Island.

Firefighting forces were depleted as they fought around 560 blazes. Only 45 of 375 out-of-state fire crews requested by California had arrived, said a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).

The state has been hit by its worst dry-lightning storms in nearly two decades. Close to 12,000 strikes have sent fires racing through lands parched by record-breaking heat, forcing 175,000 to evacuate their homes, largely in Northern California.

The lightning strikes, driven by record temperatures, were a consequence of climate change and more such storms are expected on Sunday, Governor Gavin Newsom told a Friday news conference.

“If you are in denial about climate change come to California,” Newsom told the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night. One of the hottest air temperatures recorded anywhere on the planet in at least a century, and possibly ever, was reached last weekend at Death Valley in California’s Mojave Desert, where it soared to  54.4 Celsius (130 Fahrenheit).

Most of the fires are in the San Francisco Bay Area, with a complex of blazes east of Palo Alto and another in wine country south of Sacramento now the seventh and tenth largest in state history, respectively, according to Cal Fire.

California wildfires: Two dead as fires engulf north of US state

In Santa Cruz, a city of around 65,000, residents were told to have evacuation ‘go bags’ at the ready. Bulldozers dug fire lines on the northern flank of the UCSC campus, around 4.8km (3 miles) northwest of the coastal city’s boardwalk.

Videos showed giant redwood trees, some over 2,000 years old, standing largely unscathed among the torched ruins of buildings in California’s oldest state park to the north.

“The fire continues to advance, and much of what will happen next depends on weather conditions such as wind direction and speed,” UCSC Chancellor Cynthia Larive wrote in a tweet, after ordering the evacuation of the campus.

With up to 20 separate blazes burning in some lightning-fire complexes, overwhelmed firefighters pleaded for more support.

“We’re still understaffed for a fire of this size,” said Daniel Potter, a Cal Fire spokesman, in reference to the Santa Cruz blaze.

In the North Bay Area, four people died in a cluster of fires that have destroyed over 480 homes and structures in wine counties such as Napa, Solano and Sonoma, Cal Fire reported.

A utility crewman died on Wednesday while on duty helping clear electrical hazards for first responders at the same fire, dubbed the LNU Complex.

Earlier that day, the pilot of a firefighting helicopter contracted by the state was killed in a crash in Fresno County.

A burning home is seen along Cherry Glen Road during the LNU Lighting Complex Fire on the outskirts of Vacaville, California, the US [Stephen Lam/Reuters]

“All our first responders are working to the ragged edge of everything they have,” said California State Assemblymember Jim Wood.

The largest fire, known as the SCU Complex, east of Palo Alto, more than doubled in size from Thursday to around 93078 hectares (230,000 acres), an area approaching the size of New York City.

SOURCE:
Reuters news agency



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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