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At least 20 missing as US bridge collapses after collision with cargo ship

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The Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, United States, collapsed early Tuesday morning after it was struck by a large cargo ship.

Footage obtained by CNN showed how sections of the 1.6 mile-long (about two kilometres) four-lane bridge buckled inwards, shearing away from the rest of the structure before plunging into the darkness of the water, just before dawn.

Up to 20 people and several vehicles have fallen into the river, according to the Baltimore City Fire Department, which has declared the accident a “mass casualty event”.

Kevin Cartwright, director of communications for the fire department, said its main focus right now is “trying to rescue and recover these people”.

He said it appears there are “some cargo or retainers hanging from the bridge,” creating unsafe and unstable conditions, and that emergency service workers are operating cautiously as a result.

“This is a dire emergency,” he added.

“This happened at 01:30 a.m. with limited visibility so we are working aggressively, considering the environmental temperatures as well as the water temperatures to try and rescue and perhaps recover individuals,” Cartwright said.

“It feels like at least about 30 degrees (-1°C) where I am. It could be slightly lower than that. And I’m sure that the water temperature is even colder… And that can pose a concern and risk for our divers.”

The Maryland Transport Authority said all lanes on the Interstate 695 — the road which runs across the bridge — have been closed and traffic is being rerouted.

The bridge was opened in 1977 and is named after the author of “The star-spangled banner,” the US anthem.

Francis Scott Key is believed to have sat near the site of the bridge as he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814, inspiring him to write the words of the country’s anthem.

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‘The world cannot afford another war’ — Guterres condemns Iran-Israel conflict

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Antonio Guterres, UN secretary-general, has condemned the missile attack on Israel by Iran.

On Saturday, Iran launched a drone and missile attack on Israel in a reprisal move. The attack from Iran was the first time it has targeted Israel directly from Iranian soil.

Israel had said alongside allies, it intercepted more than 300 Iranian drones and missiles.

Nigeria, France, Germany, UK, and the US have condemned the attack.

In a statement, Guterres appealed for maximum restraint by all parties and said he was deeply alarmed by the very real danger of a devastating region-wide escalation.

“I urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any action that could lead to major military confrontations on multiple fronts in the Middle East,” he said.

“I have repeatedly stressed that neither the region nor the world can afford another war. I call for an immediate cessation of these hostilities.”

In a separate statement, Dennis Francis, president of the UN general assembly, also expressed concerns over the unfolding conflict in the Middle East.

Francis said Iran had explained its action “in the context of article 51 of the UN Charter, following the recent Israeli attack on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus”.

“The Iranian response compounds the already tense and delicate peace and security situation in the Middle East,” the statement reads.

He asked all parties to exercise the utmost restraint to avoid further escalation of tension in the region, adding that dialogue and diplomacy are the only way to resolve differences.

“This is a moment that calls for wise and prudent judgement, in which the risks and extended risks are very carefully considered,” Francis said in the statement.

“I expect that the Iranian authorities will honour their word that by their action today, the matter can be deemed concluded.

“A vicious cycle of attack and counterattack will lead to nowhere, but inevitably, to more death, suffering and misery.”

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Iran launches attack on Israel in retaliation move

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Iran has launched an attack on Israel with drones and missiles.

The drones are expected to take several hours to reach Israel.

The attack is believed to be a retaliatory move following an April 1 attack reportedly carried out by Israel on the Iranian embassy in Syria, which killed seven Iranian military officers.

The attack will escalate the tension in the Middle East amid the ongoing war between Isreal and Hamas, which has recorded high casualty.

The United States had earlier warned that Iran could launch a major attack on Israel with more than 100 drones and dozens of missiles aimed at military targets inside the country.

The US State Department has issued a travel advisory to Americans in Israel not to move outside major cities in order to be protected by the Dome missile defense system.

While addressing the nation, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, said the country is ready for the attack and will respond accordingly.

“Citizens of Israel, in recent years, and even more so in recent weeks, Israel has been preparing for the possibility of a direct attack from Iran,” Netanyahu said.

“Our defense systems are deployed, and we are prepared for any scenario, both in defense and offense. The State of Israel is strong, the IDF is strong, the public is strong.”

Joe Biden, president of the United States, on Friday, said the country would defend Isreal in the event of an attack from Iran.

“We will support Israel; we will help defend Israel and Iran will not succeed,” Biden said.

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World

Watch the moment sun eclipsed in Dallas

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Nigerian United States-based couple in Dallas captures the moment of the total solar eclipse that crossed North America, passing over Mexico, the United States and Canada.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration had earlier announced that on Monday, a total solar eclipse would traverse North America, spanning across Mexico, the United States, and Canada.

Watch video here

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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