Thu, May 16, 2019 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take

Agencies

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Major quake strikes offshore

Authorities yesterday assessed the extent of damage from a magnitude 7.5 earthquake that rattled coastal towns at 11pm the previous evening. The quake struck at a relatively shallow depth of 10km about 45km northeast of the coast of Kokopo, according to the US Geological Survey. Geohazards Management Department Acting Director Chris McKee said there was some damage in Kokopo as items were shaken from shelves and the power had been cut. A small tsunami was generated, but the darkness made an assessment difficult, he added. The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that waves of up to 1m were possible along coastal areas up to 1,000km from the epicenter.

INDIA

Election clashes in Kolkata

Clashes between followers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and an opposition leader yesterday heightened tensions in Kolkata ahead of the final round of the national election on Sunday. Dozens of people were arrested in the street battles late on Tuesday that forced Amit Shah, president of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to leave an election rally under police guard, media reports said. A statue of renowned Bengal reformer Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was destroyed and a college named after him ransacked in the troubles, which the BJP and rival Trinamool Congress (TMC) blamed on each other. The BJP accused West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of orchestrating attacks on a roadshow through Kolkata by Shah. Banerjee, who called a protest rally for yesterday, hit back by accusing Shah of acting like a “god.”

SOUTH CHINA SEA

US actions ‘unchanged’

US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson yesterday said that the US’ freedom of navigation movements in the sea get more attention than they deserve. The operations “get more attention in the media and also have, sometimes from China, than they warrant, to be honest,” Richardson told reporters on the sidelines of a maritime defense conference in Singapore. In an earlier speech, Richardson said that US naval operations had been consistent over decades. He also said that he is not surprised by China’s reaction anymore. “They’ve been, I guess, fairly increasingly consistent in their response to these, but if I just got back to first principles ... I just want to make sure that the US Navy’s approach has been consistent. We haven’t done anything increasingly provocative or anything else,” Richardson said.

VIETNAM

Prisoners report ‘unfounded’

The government denied holding any “prisoners of conscience,” calling an Amnesty International report that said it is jailing more of its critics unfounded. “Amnesty International has deliberately made repeated nonobjective, unfounded judgements based on wrongful information and false prejudices on Vietnam,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said in an e-mailed statement late on Tuesday. “This is an abusive, politically motivated practice aimed to obstruct international cooperation and promotion of human rights in the world.” Amnesty in a report on Monday said that the number of “prisoners of conscience” jailed in Vietnam has increased to 128 from 97 last year as the government implements a new cybersecurity law. Vietnam does not arrest citizens for expressing political views, Hang said. At least 34 people on the group’s list of prisoners of conscience were prosecuted under the new penal code, Amnesty said.

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