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News Making International Headlines: 17 March 2022

Earthquake Jolts Japan's Northeast Coast and Tokyo

INTERNATIONAL: A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.3 jolted Japan's northeast coast on Wednesday, shaking buildings as far away as Tokyo where it left hundreds of thousands without power, and reviving memories of a devastating quake 11 years earlier.

The tremor hit off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, some 275 kilometers northeast of Tokyo and at a depth of 60 kilometers, the Japan Meteorological Agency has said.

It has triggered a fire alarm at a turbine at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant, authorities has said, adding that they were checking the situation. That plant was devastated by a magnitude 9 earthquake and following tsunami in March 2011.

"Regarding the damage to the nuclear facilities, no irregularities have been identified at Onagawa and Fukushima No.2 nuclear power plants at the moment. We are still checking status of Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant," said the Japanese cabinet secretary Hirokazu Matsuno.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has said that around 2 million households were without power, including 700,000 in the capital, and that it was checking the condition of reactors at Fukushima and other plants, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Authorities has also issued a tsunami warning for the region of as high as 1.3 feet, with public broadcaster NHK reporting waves of 8 inche in some places.

Three Killed After Shelling and Fire in Ukraine's Kharkiv

Three people were killed and five wounded after shelling caused a fire at a market in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, Ukraine's State Emergencies Service have said on Wednesday,March 16.

Shelling hit a market, a warehouse with food and humanitarian aid and two schools.

Firefighters have worked to extinguish the dense flames engulfing the market damaged by shelling.

At the warehouse, firefighters worked amid thick smoke rising from the building.

One of the firefighters has suffered injuries during the rescue and was driven away in an ambulance.

“How can one destroy a school? What do the Russian occupiers do here? How can anyone fire rockets at an educational facility?” said school director Lilia Sharlay.

A wall with children drawings was still standing amid the destruction.

Shelling has also hit the Kharkiv Institute Of Further Education.

“This was maths classroom and this one, I cannot remember, literature I think,” said a man walking into destroyed classrooms.

21 Babies Born To Surrogates Kept Safe in a Basement in Kyiv

Ukrainian nurse Oksana Martynenko and her colleagues have 21 babies to look after at a makeshift clinic in a residential basement on the outskirts of Kyiv ,all of them surrogates whose parents cannot come to collect them because of the war.

All the while she has her own family to worry about. Her children are in the region around Sumy, a city some 320 kilomteres east of the capital which has been bombarded by Russian forces.

It is too dangerous for Martynenko to try to reach them, so they are living with their grandmother.

"We haven't been able to get home since February 24," she has said.

Martynenko calls her family when she can to see if they are safe and whether they managed to sleep at night. Ukrainians across the country are dashing between homes and air raid shelters as advancing Russian forces attack cities and towns.

In the bare surroundings of the clinic, one nurse pushes a baby carriage with one hand and holds an infant in the other as she and her colleagues comfort the children. Babies lie in a line of small plastic beds and bottles are stacked up to be sterilized.

Staff have said that two couples, one from Germany and one from Argentina, had made it to Kyiv to unite with their surrogate children, but it was not clear when they would be able to take them out of the country.

Ukraine is an international surrogacy hub, involving thousands of babies each year in normal times, according to some estimates, many of them taken abroad by foreigners.

The practice has raised concerns among rights groups and some former surrogate mothers over the physical and psychological cost of the process and the risk of exploitation of women and their babies in poorer countries.

The infants in the Kyiv clinic were born in various maternity wards in the capital, and have been brought to one place for their safety.

An exhausted Antonina Yefymovych, also a nurse, said that staff were trapped and working around the clock to care for the children.

"We don't have time to rest now .We try to take short naps, to swap. It is tough, tough," Yefymovych said.

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