Tue, Aug 11, 2009 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

AGENCIES

■JAPAN

Quake hits Tokyo area

A strong earthquake shook the capital and surrounding areas on Sunday, halting trains and a professional baseball game, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties. There was no threat of a tsunami from the quake, which was centered at a depth of 303km in the Izu islands off the eastern coast, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. The USGS measured the quake at magnitude 7.1, while the Japan Meteorological Agency put it at 6.9. The quake, which rattled furniture and walls in Tokyo homes, hit at 7:56pm and shook the capital region, including Ibaraki, Saitama, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures, the agency said.

■JAPAN

Torrential rains kill 12

At least 12 people have been killed in torrential rains, while typhoons also caused casualties and destruction in other parts of Asia, media reports said yesterday. Typhoon Etau has brought heavy rainfall, causing flooding and landslides that have destroyed homes. In the hardest-hit prefectures, Hyogo and Okayama, 12 people were killed and several remained missing, local news reports said. Rescuers continue to search for victims. At least 2,000 people sought shelter in schools and other public buildings. Houses were destroyed by mudslides and the authorities had to close some roads. In Tokyo, morning traffic was obstructed by the rain.

■CHINA

Morakot hits southeast

Tropical Storm Morakot wreaked havoc on property and crops in southeastern parts of the country, local media reported. In Xiapu, Fujian Province, where the storm made landfall late on Sunday, at least 136,000 people suffered property losses, Xinhua news agency reported. The storm swept ashore with wind speeds of up to 118kph, it said. Direct losses to the region’s agriculture and fisheries were estimated at 200 million yuan (US$29 million), Zhang Changjian, director of the area’s flood control and drought relief headquarters, was quoted as saying. Yesterday afternoon, rescuers were trying to reach eight sailors stranded after gale-force winds blew their cargo vessel onto a reef near Fujian, the Shanghai Daily said. The storm claimed the life of a four-year-old boy who was buried beneath the debris of a flood-damaged house on Sunday.

■CHINA

Chui new chief in Macau

Fernando Chui (崔世安) was officially appointed the new chief executive of Macau following his unopposed election last month by the gambling hub’s mainly pro-Beijing electoral committee, state media said. The State Council, or Cabinet, made the appointment at a meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶), Xinhua news agency reported. A former culture minister of Macau, Chui pledged to diversify the region’s economy and rid it of corruption after being named the new chief executive on July 26. Chui, 52, succeeds Edmund Ho (何厚鏵), who led the Macau government since 1999.

■THAILAND

PM’s office fired on

Gunmen sprayed bullets at a Bangkok office of the party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday, police said, underscoring the kingdom’s continuing political tensions. There were no injuries in the pre-dawn incident at the Democrat Party office in the Klong Toey area of the capital but the gunfire damaged the front door, they said. The attackers were believed to be traveling by motorcycle, police said.

■SAUDI ARABIA

HRW slams detentions

The Saudi General Directorate for Investigations, or mabahith, ignores the country’s own laws to hold suspects for years without charges and ignores court orders to release detainees, New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) said yesterday. The security police are believed to hold several thousand people allegedly involved in seditious or terror activities, many arrested during the 2003-2006 al-Qaeda campaign of violence across the country. It also holds a number of pro-democracy reform advocates. But even after years in the secret mabahith prisons, few are ever charged and tried, Human Rights Watch said in a new report in which it cited former detainees and families of prisoners.

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