The world in brief: Karachi high-rise fire kills 10, injures 22

Glass fragments lie in front of a commercial high-rise building in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
Glass fragments lie in front of a commercial high-rise building in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)


Karachi high-rise fire kills 10, injures 22

KARACHI, Pakistan -- A fire tore through a shopping mall in the southwestern Pakistani city of Karachi, killing at least 10 people and injuring 22 others, police and local officials said Saturday.

The multi-story RJ Mall is in a commercial high-rise that also houses call centers and software firms.

The fire department dispatched eight firetrucks to the scene after being alerted at 6:30 a.m, local time. Chief fire officer, Ishtiaq Ahmed Khan, said the fourth floor of the building was the most affected.

Karachi Mayor Murtaza Wahab Siddiqui said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the fire had been extinguished and a cooling process was underway.

He said that five of the 22 injured were in critical condition. "We are trying our best to do whatever it takes to save their lives and to provide them with whatever treatment that is required for saving their lives," Siddiqui, who was at the scene, told reporters.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear.

Karachi is the capital of southern Sindh province, where such incidents are common. In April, a fire tore through a garment factory killing four firefighters. The flames ripped through the building, eventually causing it to collapse.

Late last week , city planners and engineers said they were sure that most structures in Karachi -- residential, commercial and industrial -- did not have fire prevention and firefighting systems, Pakistan's largest English-speaking paper Dawn reported.

"They agreed that it was 'criminal negligence' on the part of regulatory bodies like the Sindh Building Control Authority that put the lives of millions of people in the metropolis at risk," the report claimed.

Five climbers die in Iranian avalanche

TEHRAN, Iran -- An avalanche killed five mountain climbers and injured four others from an all-Iranian climbing team in west Iran, state media reported on Saturday.

A report by the state-owned IRNA news agency said rescue teams recovered the bodies of five climbers from San Boran peak, about 186 miles southwest of the capital Tehran. The other four injured were taken to hospital.

The report said the 9-member team of climbers began their journey on Thursday despite a warning by local authorities about possible risk. The peak, the highest of the Oshtrankooh mountain range at about 13,600 feet, witnessed heavy rain and snow in recent weeks.

Iran has occasionally seen deadly avalanches. In 2020, a series of avalanches killed 12 people in a mountainous area north of Tehran.

Shelling of Syrian village takes 9 lives

BEIRUT -- Syrian government forces' shelling of a northwestern village Saturday killed at least nine people, including six children, as they picked olives, opposition activists said.

The shelling of the village of Qawqafeen, in Idlib province, is the latest violation of a truce reached in March 2020 between Russia and Turkey, who back rival sides in Syria's 12-year conflict that has killed half a million people.

Hundreds of people have been killed or wounded over the past years in violations of the truce that ended a monthslong Russian-backed government offensive on the northwestern Idlib province, the last major rebel stronghold in Syria.

The shelling of the farm was reported by the Britain-based opposition war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the opposition's Syrian Civil Defense, also known as White Helmets.

The White Helmets said it treated one woman who was wounded and handed over the bodies of the dead to their families.

Idlib is home to more than 4 million people, many of them internally displaced by Syria's conflict that broke out in March 2011. The war displaced half the country's prewar population of 23 million and left large parts of Syria destroyed.

Immense Antarctic iceberg breaks free

LONDON -- One of the world's largest icebergs is drifting beyond Antarctic waters, after being grounded for more than three decades, according to the British Antarctic Survey.

The iceberg, known as A23a, split from the Antarctic's Filchner Ice Shelf in 1986. But it became stuck to the ocean floor and had remained for many years in the Weddell Sea.

The iceberg is about three times the size of New York City and more than twice the size of Greater London, measuring about 1,500 square miles.

Andrew Fleming, a remote-sensing expert from the British Antarctic Survey, told the BBC on Friday that the iceberg has been drifting for the past year and now appears to be picking up speed and moving past the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, helped by wind and ocean currents.

"I asked a couple of colleagues about this, wondering if there was any possible change in shelf water temperatures that might have provoked it, but the consensus is the time had just come," Fleming told the BBC.

Fleming said he first spotted movement from the iceberg in 2020. The British Antarctic Survey said it has now ungrounded and is moving along ocean currents to sub-Antarctic South Georgia.

  photo  The body of a person lies on a stretcher in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
 
 
  photo  Men carry a body in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
 
 
  photo  Security stands in front of a commercial high-rise building in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
 
 
  photo  Men react as a body of a person is carried in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
 
 
  photo  People gather in front of a commercial high-rise building in Karachi, Pakistan, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
 
 
  photo  People gather in front of a commercial high-rise building in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
 
 
  photo  Men carry a body in Karachi, Pakistan, Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. At least 10 people were killed and 22 injured in the blaze at RJ Mall on Rashid Minhas Road in Karachi. (AP Photo/Fareed Khan)
 
 


  photo  The A23a iceberg (center) is shown through a satellite image moving through the sea near Antarctica, on Nov. 15. (AP/Maxar Technologies)