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Turkey detains 47 suspects over artifact smuggling

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Turkey detains 47 suspects over artifact smuggling

Ankara, July 11 (IANS) Turkish police have detained 47 suspects in large-scale operations against an international artifact smuggling network, Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said Thursday.

Following operations conducted in 24 provinces, the police seized 6,325 ancient coins and 997 other historical artifacts in the western Izmir province, Yerlikaya said on X.

The minister added that the suspects obtained historical artifacts belonging to Türkiye through unlawful excavations and illegally sold them to auction houses abroad to gain unfair profits, reports Xinhua news agency.

An examination of the suspects’ bank account movements revealed that five auction houses in Europe and the United States transferred approximately 72 million liras (2.19 million US dollars) in foreign currency to the ringleader of the organisation and his family members.

Some 1,057 historical artifacts of Turkish origin seized in Croatia in 2020 and returned to Turkey were also taken abroad as part of the organisation’s activities.

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–IANS

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113 drug users recover in Kabul

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113 drug users recover in Kabul

113 drug users recover in Kabul

Kabul, July 20 (IANS) A total of 113 people with drug dependence have recovered after receiving medical treatment at the rehabilitation centre here, Mufti Abdul Mateen Qani, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Interior Affairs, said on Saturday.

The former drug users have rejoined their families, the official said.

So far, 152 drug users are still under treatment at the rehabilitation centre.

The Afghan caretaker administration has banned the cultivation of opium poppy, processing it into drugs and drug trafficking, Xinhua news agency reported.

–IANS

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China initiates emergency response to flooding, typhoons in three regions

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China initiates emergency response to flooding, typhoons in three regions

China initiates emergency response to flooding, typhoons in three regions

Beijing, July 20 (IANS) The Chinese authorities on Saturday initiated a Level-IV emergency response in three provincial regions as the country continues to face severe flooding situations.

The regions involved are Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan, which are under the influence of two tropical depressions intensifying in the South China Sea and east to the Philippines, respectively, according to the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.

At a joint work conference Saturday, the Ministry of Emergency Management called on relevant departments to fulfill their responsibilities and improve the response to rainstorms and flood disasters, Xinhua news agency reported.

More efforts should be taken to strengthen dam inspections, especially in key sections, enhance the sharing and coordination of hydrological and meteorological information, and make good preparations for evacuation to prevent mass casualties, according to the meeting.

The authorities have also maintained Level-IV emergency responses in Sichuan, Shaanxi, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Hubei, Hunan and Anhui. Eight work teams from the central government are helping relief work in flood-prone regions.

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The Ministry of Water Resources and the China Meteorological Administration have issued yellow alerts for mountainous flooding in Sichuan, Yunnan and Xizang. In the past 24 hours, 68 rivers in 12 provincial regions have faced flood threats exceeding the alert level.

China has a four-tier flood-control emergency-response system, with Level I being the most severe response, as well as a four-tier color-coded weather warning system, with red representing the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.

–IANS

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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.

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–IANS

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