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4.9-magnitude quake jolts Japan

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Tokyo, Feb 29 (IANS) A 4.9 magnitude earthquake struck Japan’s Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo, the weather agency said on Thursday.

The temblor occurred at 6:35 p.m. local time (0935 GMT) at a depth of 20 km, measuring 4 on Japan’s seismic intensity scale which peaks at 7, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

The temblor was epicentred off eastern Chiba at a latitude of 35.4 degrees north and a longitude of 140.6 degrees east, Xinhua news agency reported.

As of Thursday evening, four quakes, which were also felt in many parts of Tokyo, have stricken the prefecture during the day, JMA data showed.

No tsunami warning has been issued following the quakes.

–IANS

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Five troops killed in terror attack in Pakistan

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Islamabad, June 22 (IANS) Five troops were killed in a terrorist attack in Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, a military statement said.

The incident occurred when an improvised explosive device detonated on a security forces vehicle in Kurram district, said the Inter-Services Public Relations, the media wing of the Pakistani army.

The troops, aged between 24 and 33, hailed from various parts of the country, Xinhua news agency reported, citing the statement.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, and the statement did not attribute it to any particular entity.

An investigation is underway to eliminate any terrorists present in the area, and perpetrators of the attack will be brought to justice, the statement added.

–IANS

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15 arrested for 'illegal' fishing on Indonesian vessels in Australia

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Canberra, June 22 (IANS) Australian authorities have arrested 15 foreign fishers and seized two Indonesian vessels over alleged illegal fishing activity off the country’s north coast.

The Australian Border Force (ABF) and Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) on Saturday said it detected and apprehended the Indonesian vessels allegedly fishing illegally on Tuesday in the vicinity of Deliverance Island in the Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea (PNG), reports Xinhua news agency.

The crew were transported to Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory (NT), and were placed in detention while the matter was being investigated and prosecution considered.

In a joint statement, the ABF and AFMA said that the large vessels were equipped with a substantial quantity of fishing equipment. Both vessels will be disposed of by the AFMA.

Under Australian law, anyone found guilty of illegally fishing in the Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ) faces a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment.

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Rear Admiral Brett Sonter, Commander of the ABF’s Maritime Border Command (MBC), said that Tuesday’s intercept should serve as a warning to any crews illegally fishing in Australian waters.

“If you fish illegally, you will lose your vessel, your equipment, and you will be placed in immigration detention to face potential prosecution in Australian courts,” he said. “Maritime Border Command is deploying multiple assets and utilising whatever powers available to deter, detect and take enforcement action in response to illegal foreign fishing in Australian waters.”

Fifteen illegal fishers who were apprehended on board three Indonesian vessels in separate incidents in March were in April issued fines totalling 31,300 Australian dollars ($20,868.9) after pleading guilty to offences against the Fisheries Management Act in the Darwin Local Court.

–IANS

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Nurse, security guards injured after knife assault in Sydney hospital

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Sydney, June 22 (IANS) A male offender armed with a knife has been arrested after three security guards and one nurse got injured at a Sydney hospital.

At around 11:30 p.m. local time on Friday night, police were called to a hospital in Westmead following reports of a man having assaulted staff, reports Xinhua news agency.

The health precinct is located approximately 20 km west of Sydney’s central business district.

Upon arrival, officers were informed that a 39-year-old man had stabbed two male security guards, aged 25 and 24, respectively, with a third male security guard suffering a dislocated shoulder.

Besides, a 29-year-old male nurse also sustained minor injuries.

New South Wales Police Force confirmed that the male offender remains under police guard at the hospital, and inquiries are ongoing.

As per reports from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he was a patient of the hospital, and all four staff members sustained injuries while attempting to subdue him.

–IANS

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Death toll from heavy rain in Central America rises to 30

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Mexico City, June 22 (IANS) At least 30 people have died from heavy rain this season in the three Central American countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, according to authorities of these three countries.

Luis Alonso Amaya, director of El Salvador’s national civil protection system, told local media that 19 people had been killed due to heavy rains, including two minors.

The minors were buried in a house located in the Soyapango district in the municipality of San Salvador, reports Xinhua news agency, citing Amaya.

The Salvadoran authorities’ report on the damage caused by the heavy rains has so far recorded more than 1,500 incidents, 706 fallen trees, 521 obstructed roads and 2,582 evacuated people.

In Guatemala, at least ten people died, five were injured, and 376 were sheltered as of 9 a.m. on Friday due to the rains, according to the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction.

Official figures also showed 239 roads and 27 schools were affected, along with 3,245 houses with slight, moderate and severe damage.

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The risk and contingency management secretariat of Honduras has so far recorded one death as a result of the rains and more than 6,000 people affected, 945 of whom were evacuated.

According to experts, the continuous rainfall in Central America this week is due to the influence of several low-pressure systems in the region.

–IANS

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ADB approves $250 million loan to Pakistan for sustainable investment

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Islamabad, June 22 (IANS) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed an agreement for a 250 million US dollar policy-based loan to assist Pakistan’s sustainable investments in infrastructure and services through public-private partnerships.

The bank’s country director for Pakistan, Ye Yong, and Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) of Pakistan, Kazim Niaz, signed the agreement here on Friday, according to a statement on the ADB’s official X handle.

In a statement released to the media, the EAD said the program’s core objective is to strengthen the governance framework and enable an environment for public-private partnerships at the federal government level, reports Xinhua news agency.

The mission will be achieved by strengthening the policy, legal, and institutional frameworks for public investment management and public financial management, the statement said.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Niaz said the program would go a long way to achieve the target of involvement of the private sector in the development process, the EAD added.

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–IANS

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