Magnitude 4.9 quake kills four, injures 120 in northeastern Iran: state media

TEHRAN, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – At least four people were killed and 120 injured Tuesday in a 4.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Iran’s northeastern city of Kashmar, state media reported. The quake struck at 1:24 pm (0954 GMT), Kashmar’s governor, Hajatollah Shariatmadari, who gave the casualty toll, said on state television. Thirty-five people were hospitalised, he said, adding the quake damaged mostly dilapidated buildings in urban and rural areas of the city. State television […]

Earthquake of magnitude 6.3 strikes off southern Peru

LIMA, June 17, 2024 (AFP) – A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of southern Peru on Sunday but there was no immediate threat of tsunami, government scientists said. The Geophysical Institute of Peru said the quake was centered in the Pacific at a depth of 25 kilometers (16 miles) off the coast of Arequipa department. The government decided against activating the tsunami warning system. The US Geological Survey put the magnitude 6.0 and […]

Black hole observed ‘awakening’ for the first time

PARIS, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – Astronomers have been able to observe a supermassive black hole waking up and setting the heart of its host galaxy alight for the first time, the European Southern Observatory said on Tuesday. The galaxy 300 million light years from Earth in the Virgo constellation had been quiet for decades until late 2019, when it suddenly began to shine brighter than ever before. The centre of the galaxy — where […]

New report warns of heat danger at Paris Olympics

PARIS, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – A new report backed by climate scientists and athletes warned Tuesday about the dangers of extreme high temperatures at this year’s Paris Olympics. The “Rings of Fire” report — a collaboration between non-profit Climate Central, academics at Britain’s University of Portsmouth and 11 Olympians — said conditions in Paris could be worse than the last Games in Tokyo in 2021. It warned that “intense heat at the Paris Olympics […]

Power demand peaks in northern India heatwave

By Bhuvan BAGGA NEW DELHI, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – Searing heatwave temperatures in northern India pushed power demand to a record high, the government said Tuesday, with residents of the capital New Delhi also struggling with water shortages. Much of northern India has been gripped by a brutal month-long heatwave, with temperatures regularly soaring above 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). Northern India has “been experiencing high demand conditions due to a prevailing heat […]

Kyiv accuses Russian forces of beheading Ukrainian soldier

KYIV, Ukraine, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – Kyiv on Tuesday accused Russian forces of beheading a Ukrainian serviceman in the eastern Donetsk region, the latest allegation of abuse levied by Ukrainian prosecutors against Moscow. Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other’s militaries of battlefield misconduct tantamount to war crimes, and Kyiv has called for a special tribunal to investigate abuses as part of conditions to end the war. “While conducting aerial reconnaissance at one […]

Filipino sailor killed in Huthi attack on cargo ship: White House

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2024 (AFP) – A Filipino sailor was killed when Yemen’s Huthi rebels attacked a bulk cargo carrier last week, the White House said Monday, condemning their actions as terrorism. The Iran-backed Huthis have launched dozens of drone and missile strikes in the vital shipping zones of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden since November, describing them as retaliation for the Israel-Hamas war. But National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said […]

Philippines says navy officer severely injured in China Coast Guard ‘ramming’

MANILA, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – The Philippines said Tuesday one of its navy personnel was severely injured after the China Coast Guard rammed a Philippine vessel near Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. “A Philippine Navy personnel sustained severe injury after the CCG’s (China Coast Guard’s) intentional high-speed ramming during the rotation and resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre (LS57) on June 17,” a military statement said. The shoal, which hosts […]

Four dead, over a dozen missing as extreme weather hits China

BEIJING, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – At least four people were killed when record rains hit parts of southern China, state media reported Tuesday, while more than a dozen were missing even as the north baked under some of its highest temperatures this year. Downpours “exceeding historical daily maximums” in some areas of Fujian province caused the four deaths, state news agency Xinhua said, citing the flood control headquarters of Shanghang County. More than 66,000 […]

Biden to ease immigration pathway for spouses of US citizens

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – President Joe Biden on Tuesday will unveil new rules easing the process for undocumented spouses of US citizens to obtain permanent residency status, the White House said. The Biden administration has been trying to walk a thin line on immigration, a critical issue for many Americans ahead of November’s presidential election. The Democrat is seeking to be tougher on illegal migrants, while also contrasting himself with the harsher policies […]

US warns China after Philippines accuses ships of ramming boats

MANILA, June 17, 2024 (AFP) – The Philippine government on Monday accused Chinese ships of ramming and damaging its boats in the South China Sea during a confrontation in waters off the Second Thomas Shoal, home to a garrison of Filipino troops. “The People’s Liberation Army-Navy, China Coast Guard and Chinese Maritime Militia vessels engaged in dangerous maneuvers, including ramming and towing,” Manila’s national task force on the West Philippine Sea said in a statement. […]

Former Thai PM Thaksin charged with royal insult

BANGKOK, June 18, 2024 (AFP) – Thai prosecutors on Tuesday formally indicted influential former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra under the kingdom’s strict royal insult laws over comments he made nearly a decade ago. The case against the 74-year-old billionaire, twice elected premier and ousted in a 2006 military coup, is one of four before the courts that could unleash fresh political instability in the coup-prone kingdom. Thaksin, the patriarch of the Pheu Thai party that […]