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Taiwan detects 62 Chinese warplanes in airspace amid military drills

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Taipei, May 25 (IANS/DPA) Taiwan’s Defence Ministry on Saturday said it had registered 62 Chinese warplanes operating around Taiwan within 24 hours, the highest number of Chinese daily sorties so far this year.

Among them, 47 Chinese military aircraft crossed the median line of the Taiwan Strait, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, on Friday, 27 Chinese navy vessels operating around Taiwan were also detected, the ministry said in a statement.

Taiwan had monitored the situation and had tasked Combat air patrol aircraft, Navy vessels and land-based missile systems to respond to these activities, the ministry said.

The previous record number of daily sorties of Chinese warplanes for this year, 49, was reported just one day earlier.

China on Thursday launched a major military exercise around Taiwan, apparently to simulate a blockade around the island. Such drills came three days after the inauguration of Taiwan’s new president, Lai Ching-te.

Tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen since presidential and legislative elections were held in democratic Taiwan in January.

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Taiwan has had an independent government since 1949, but China considers the self-ruled democracy part of its territory.

–IANS/DPA

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5.7-magnitude earthquake hits off Indonesia's North Sumatra province

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5.7-magnitude earthquake hits off Indonesia's North Sumatra province

5.7-magnitude earthquake hits off Indonesia's North Sumatra province

Jakarta, July 20 (IANS) A 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia’s North Sumatra province on Saturday evening, but did not trigger any large waves, according to the country’s meteorology, climatology, and geophysics agency.

The tremors struck at 19:05 Jakarta time (1205 GMT) with the epicentre situated at 153 km southwest of West Nias regency and a depth of 13 km under the seabed, the agency said, Xinhua news agency reported.

The agency officials did not issue a tsunami warning because the tremors were not expected to generate large waves.

Indonesia, an archipelago, is situated on the seismically active “Pacific Ring of Fire,” which predisposes the country to frequent earthquakes.

–IANS

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New Zealand Prime Minister dials PM Modi, vows to take forward ties with India

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New Zealand Prime Minister dials PM Modi, vows to take forward ties with India

New Zealand Prime Minister dials PM Modi, vows to take forward ties with India

Wellington, July 20 (IANS) New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon on Saturday dialled PM Narendra Modi, congratulating him on his recent election victory as both leaders reiterated their firm commitment to take bilateral cooperation to new heights in the years to come.

“I’ve just spoken with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and congratulated him on his recent election victory. I told the Prime Minister how much I value the immense contribution that Indian-Kiwis make to New Zealand. We both agreed there is so much more our countries can do together!” Luxon posted on X after the phone call.

During their conversation, both leaders noted that India-New Zealand ties are anchored in shared democratic values and close people-to-people ties.

Highlighting the momentum generated by recent high-level contacts between the two sides, they agreed to advance the mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation in various areas, including trade and economic cooperation, animal husbandry, pharmaceuticals, education, space among others.

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“I thank Prime Minister Luxon for his call and warm felicitations. Reiterated our firm commitment to take forward India-New Zealand ties, which are rooted in shared democratic values and people-to-people ties,” said PM Modi.

Prime Minister Modi also thanked Luxon for looking after the interests of the Indian diaspora in New Zealand.

–IANS

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Over 30 missing after rain-triggered flash floods in China

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Over 30 missing after rain-triggered flash floods in China

Over 30 missing after rain-triggered flash floods in China

Beijing, July 20 (IANS) More than 30 people remained missing after flash floods struck Xinhua Village in southwest China’s Sichuan Province at around 2:30 am Saturday, local authorities said.

The floods triggered by torrential rains also damaged over 40 houses in the village in Hanyuan County, Ya’an City, according to the county’s emergency management bureau.

The disaster also disrupted roads, bridges and communications, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rescue operations are currently underway. A local fire brigade with 217 rescuers and 55 vehicles has rushed to the scene. The Ministry of Emergency Management has also dispatched 29 rescue experts and 13 sets of rescue equipment, as well as drones to provide emergency communications.

In addition to 10,000 sets of relief materials previously allocated to the province, the central authorities will send another 40,000 sets, including folding beds, quilts and towels, to support local governments in evacuating and resettling the affected people and providing basic living assistance.

ALSO READ:  Heavy rain hits South Korea; govt activates counter-disaster team

–IANS

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Afghan police warn of legal action against reckless driving

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Afghan police warn of legal action against reckless driving

Afghan police warn of legal action against reckless driving

Faizabad (Afghanistan), July 20 (IANS) The police of north Afghanistan’s Badakhshan province on Saturday warned that local drivers will face legal action if they do not obey traffic laws.

A total of 13 people were killed and 36 others injured in road accidents in the province over the past month, the provincial police office said in a statement, adding that the deadly accidents occurred in Faizabad city, the provincial capital, and some districts of the province due to reckless driving on congested roads.

Earlier this week, 17 persons were killed with 34 others injured as a passenger bus plunged into a ravine in north Afghanistan’s Baghlan province, Xinhua news agency reported.

Poor conditions on roads, reckless driving and lack of safety measures during travel, according to officials, are among the major causes of deadly road accidents in the war-ravaged Asian country.

–IANS

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Jordan says 83 new aid trucks cross into Gaza

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Jordan says 83 new aid trucks cross into Gaza

Jordan says 83 new aid trucks cross into Gaza

Amman, July 20 (IANS) Jordan announced that 83 new trucks of humanitarian aid crossed into the Gaza Strip on Saturday, carrying food parcels, blankets, clothes, and health materials for the war-torn territory that has been haunted by a humanitarian crisis.

“The aid was dispatched by the Jordanian Armed Forces and the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, in cooperation with the World Food Program, and supported by Helping Hands Association, Human Appeal, and several popular campaigns,” the state-run Petra news agency reported.

Hussein Shibli, secretary-general of the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation, said Jordan’s efforts in aiding the people in Gaza are substantial, and the support and donations that reach Jordan’s warehouses from various local, regional, and international organizations indicate the trust that Jordan gains from different countries, and its ability to deliver humanitarian aid to the Strip.

Shibli added that the total number of land trucks that have entered the Gaza Strip to date has reached 2,694, and 53 aid planes have been dispatched via Egypt’s Al Arish International Airport, Xinhua news agency reported.

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–IANS

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