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Three dead as heavy rain batters South Korea

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Seoul, July 10 (IANS) Three people were found dead, and other damages were reported, as heavy rain battered South Korea’s southern regions overnight, the interior ministry said on Wednesday.

The body of a man was retrieved from an inundated elevator of the studio apartment building in Nonsan City, South Chungcheong province at about 3.00 a.m. local time (1800 GMT Tuesday), according to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, reports Xinhua news agency.

A man in his 70s was found in cardiac arrest inside a collapsed house, caused by a landslide, in Seocheon County, South Chungcheong province at around 3.57 a.m. The man was moved to a hospital but confirmed dead later.

Over 100 mm of downpour pounded the Seocheon county for about an hour until 3.16 a.m.

Another person was found dead in Daegu City, North Gyeongsang province on Wednesday morning for an unidentified reason. The person was estimated to have been swept into a swollen stream.

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The death toll was expected to rise as a missing person was reported in North Chungcheong province.

Accumulated precipitation in South Chungcheong and North Jeolla provinces ranged from 118.5 mm to 255.0 mm between midnight and 5 a.m.

A total of 195 rain damages, including flooded roads and dikes, were reported in public facilities, while 92 damages to private facilities were reported including flooded houses and cars.

The drenching rainfall led to the evacuation of 3,072 people, among whom 1,404 people were allowed to go back home.

–IANS

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Hamas claims killing Israeli soldiers in Rafah

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Gaza, July 15 (IANS) Hamas has claimed that its fighters killed and wounded some Israeli soldiers, who were trying to infiltrate Rafah City in the southern Gaza Strip.

“Our fighters monitored a private Israeli force hiding inside a truck loaded with humanitarian aid … then the soldiers entered a local Palestinian house and hid inside it,” al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, said on Sunday in a press statement.

Al-Qassam said, “Our fighters clashed with the soldiers, attacking them with homemade shells, killing and wounding all of them.”

The Israeli army has not commented on the incident yet, Xinhua news agency reported.

Israel has been waging a large-scale offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through the southern Israeli border on October 7, 2023, during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 others were taken hostage.

–IANS

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4 killed in armed clashes, 42,000 displaced in Somalia: UN

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Mogadishu, July 14 (IANS) At least four people were killed and 42,000 others displaced by recent armed clashes between local clans in the town of Luuq in southern Somalia, the United Nations relief agency said.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Sunday that the three-day fighting that started on July 5 in the Gedo region was caused by a dispute over land ownership, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The displaced people were not only caught up in the crossfire but also were targeted in some cases due to their clan affiliation. Some of them faced secondary displacement due to fear of being directly affected,” the OCHA said in its latest update released in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.

The OCHA added that some calmness has been observed since July 8 as the armed clashes ceased, though tensions remain high.

It said access to the displaced population in some areas is restricted due to possible attacks from non-state armed actors, including militiamen from the conflicting parties.

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The UN agency said the conflict paralysed the ongoing delivery of humanitarian services, including health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions.

Conflicts over land and revenge killings have been fueling inter-clan violence in Somalia for years, instilling widespread fear among the populace, with minimal efforts visible to mitigate the violence, leading to numerous fatalities, according to residents.

The OCHA said the burnt-down market will have a significant economic impact, as many people have lost their livelihoods and may face food insecurity.

“Initial assessment by humanitarian partners on the ground indicate that the displaced communities, especially women, children, elderly, and persons with disabilities, are facing critical conditions and urgent needs of humanitarian assistance, including temporary shelters, health services, clean water, and provision of food,” the OCHA added.

–IANS

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Campaigns end as Rwanda readies for presidential, legislative elections

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Kigali, July 14 (IANS) Campaigning has ended in Rwanda ahead of presidential and legislative elections.

Three presidential candidates are facing off, including incumbent President Paul Kagame of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), Frank Habineza of the opposition Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, and Philippe Mpayimana, an independent candidate, Xinhua news agency reported.

On Monday, polling will open at 7:00 a.m. local time and end at 3:00 p.m. for about 9.5 million eligible voters, according to the National Election Commission.

The electoral commission demarcated more than 2,500 polling stations throughout the country to ensure fair elections.

All three candidates ended their campaigns with rallies in Kigali, the country’s capital.

Kagame, who has been in office since 2000, ended his campaign in Kigali’s Kicukiro District.

The RPF politics is about ensuring the development of all Rwandans without leaving anyone behind, according to Kagame. RPF’s manifesto for the next five years, unveiled earlier this year, will build on what has been achieved so far toward the country’s national Vision 2050, which aims to achieve sustainable development and better quality of life for every Rwandan.

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After his last rally in Kigali’s Nyarugenge District, Habineza said this year’s campaigns were different from 2017’s, attributable to an increased level of political maturity.

“It was quite different across the country this time as voters received us quite well. You could see that there was a better atmosphere despite a few issues here and there,” he said.

Campaigns also ended for over 500 parliamentary candidates contesting for 80 seats in the lower chamber of parliament.

–IANS

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Hamas denies freezing ceasefire negotiations following attack on Khan Younis

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Gaza, July 14 (IANS) Hamas on Sunday denied freezing indirect ceasefire negotiations with Israel following a massive bloody attack on Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Hamas political bureau, said in a statement that “all reports over the movement’s decision to stop negotiations in response to the Al-Mawasi massacre is baseless.”

He added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government are trying to obstruct reaching an agreement to stop the aggression on Gaza, Xinhua news agency reported.

Some reports said that Hamas asked mediators Egypt and Qatar to stop ceasefire negotiations and a swap deal after the Al-Mawasi incident.

On Saturday, 90 Palestinians were killed and 300 others wounded after an Israeli airstrike hit tents for displaced people in Khan Younis, the Gaza-based health authorities said.

Israel said that the target of the Israeli attack was Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif, noting that the army was awaiting the results of the raid.

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Meanwhile, Netanyahu said in a press conference on Saturday that the “war will end only after Israel achieves all its goals.”

In addition, the Hamas movement said in a press statement on Saturday that the head of the political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, held a series of contacts with mediators and some regional countries in light of the “massacre” committed by the Israeli army in the Mawasi area.

Haniyeh pointed out that while Hamas showed a positive and responsible response to the latest proposal with the aim of reaching an agreement to stop the aggression against our people, the Israeli position taken by Netanyahu was to place obstacles that prevent reaching an agreement, added the movement.

–IANS

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Shooting in Germany leaves 3 dead

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Berlin, July 14 (IANS) A shooting incident in the southern German town of Lautlingen, Baden-Wuerttemberg, has left three people dead, including the suspect, the Bild newspaper said on Sunday.

The incident also severely injured two people, who were already sent to hospital, according to the report, Xinhua news agency said.

Bild reported that the suspect, believed to be a hunter, is thought to have targeted members of his own family. Investigators suggested that the shooting may have stemmed from a domestic dispute.

Local police have confirmed that the situation is under control and there is no further danger to the public.

–IANS

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