22 killed by collapsing wall at Indian wedding

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  • 8 dead, 20 injured after moderate quake in far western China
  • As Dozens hurt, 1 dead in violent day of protests in Venezuela

At least 22 people have been killed when a wall collapsed during a wedding party in western India.

The guests had taken shelter from heavy rain under a tin shack when a wall collapsed onto it in the storm.

Another 26 people have been injured in the accident in Bharatpur, a district in Rajasthan state, 15 of them seriously.

Local media reports say food stalls had been set up along the wall for the wedding.

“The wall and a tin shed attached to it at the marriage venue collapsed due to a storm,” police officer Anil Tank is quoted as saying.

He said the wall was nearly 90ft (27m) long and 12-13ft in height and the collapse trapped many guests.

“The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals immediately and treatment was administered,” he said.

Bharatpur province is around 200km (124 miles) south of Delhi.

In the meantime, a moderate earthquake that struck close to the earth’s surface killed eight people and injured more than 20 others in far western China on Thursday, the region’s earthquake administration said.

The morning quake struck in Taxkorgan county, a remote mountainous area that borders Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan in China’s Xinjiang region. The Xinjiang Earthquake Administration said 23 people had been injured, including one seriously, and more than 180 houses had collapsed in the lightly populated area. Most houses in the area were made of wood and mudbricks or rock, it said.

Search and rescue work was under way, it added.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the 5.4-magnitude quake struck at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles) at 5:58 a.m. Thursday (2158 GMT Wednesday). Shallow quakes cause greater shaking at the surface, which can cause more damage.

The county has a population of around 33,000, and is notable for being a stop on the Karakoram Highway, built along the ancient Silk Road connecting China’s far western city of Kashgar to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.

The official Xinhua News Agency said there had been frequent aftershocks.

Earthquakes are common in China’s west, although the low population density there often means casualties are low. However, in 2003, a 6.8-magnitude quake in a nearby county to Thursday’s quake killed 268 people.

China’s deadliest earthquake this century, a 7.9 magnitude temblor with a depth of 19 kilometers (12 miles), struck Sichuan province in May 2008, killing nearly 90,000 people.

In addition, dozens of people were injured and a 27-year-old man killed Wednesday during another day of violent clashes in Venezuela’s capital during demonstrations demanding elections.

National guardsmen launched tear gas and a group of armed pro-government militiamen harassed protesters as they tried to march to the Supreme Court. One masked militia member fired several shots into the air. The militia later dispersed after officers intervened.

At least 93 people were injured in Caracas and demonstrator Miguel Castillo was killed. Authorities also announced that Anderson Dugarte, 32, died from a gunshot wound he suffered Monday at a protest in Merida. The violence pushed the death toll to at least 38 in more than a month of street protests and political turmoil.

Castillo had studied communications at Santa Marta University and friends and opposition leaders vowed to march to the site of his death Thursday morning.

“Another Venezuelan that this government robbed of his future,” said Stalin Gonzalez, an opposition lawmaker.

Demonstrators contend President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government has become an authoritarian regime responsible for triple-digit inflation, widespread food and medical supply shortages and soaring crime. Maduro has dismissed the opposition movement as a violent, far-right effort intent on removing him from power.

Protesters were marching in downtown Caracas and chanting: “Who are we? Venezuela! What do we want? Freedom!” Militiamen approached, all dressed in dark colors with pieces of cloth covering their faces. About three carried guns.

The protesters fled, screaming in fear. Opposition leaders have blamed armed pro-government groups known as “colectivos” for a number of protest deaths.

One of the militiamen fired into the air, though no one was hit.

Along Caracas’ main highway, state security forces used tear gas and water to disperse demonstrators, who threw jars of fecal matter in their direction. Some of the protesters arrived with wooden shields that had images of the nation’s blue constitution book, which Maduro has vowed to rewrite.

More than 1,300 people have been detained in the unrest, not including 250 civilians who have been presented before military tribunals. Maduro is vowing to resolve the crisis by holding a special assembly to rewrite the nation’s constitution, though opposition leaders have refused to participate.

BBC with additional report from Abc

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