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Two killed in light plane crash in Australia's Victoria

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Sydney, April 27 (IANS) Two people were killed after an aircraft crashed in Mount Beauty in the Australian state of Victoria on Saturday, police said.

Located in the state’s northeastern, Mount Beauty is a small town surrounded by the Alpine National Park, which features lakes, forests and snowfields, Xinhua news agency reported.

It is believed that the pair were flying over Embankment Drive when the aircraft went down at about 1:45 p.m. local time. Both the pilot and the passenger died at the scene, whose identities remain to be formally confirmed.

According to Victoria Police, they were the only occupants of the aircraft, and a report would be prepared for the Coroner.

A statement from the state’s Country Fire Authority (CFA) indicated that the crashed plane was a “powered glider.”

“Incident deemed under control at 2:13 p.m. and safe at 3:34 p.m. Emergency service crews will remain on scene for quite some time,” said the CFA.

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–IANS

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EAM Jaishankar to visit UAE for high-level talks today

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) External Affairs Minister (EAM), S Jaishankar, will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Sunday, marking a significant diplomatic engagement between the two nations.

During his official visit, EAM Jaishankar will hold a comprehensive meeting with his UAE counterpart, Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The two ministers are expected to discuss a wide range of issues pertinent to the India-UAE partnership, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Sunday.

This high-level dialogue will provide an invaluable opportunity to review the entire spectrum of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries that has been elevating in recent years, as well as to address regional and global developments.

Earlier, the EAM visited Sri Lanka, emphasising India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

This was his first bilateral visit after the formation of the BJP-led NDA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

–IANS

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Three killed, 9 injured in car bomb attack in Colombia

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Bogota, June 23 (IANS) Three people were killed and nine others injured in a car bomb attack in the Colombian city of Taminango in the southern department of Narino, local authorities said.

In a statement, Luis Alfonso Escobar, the governor of Narino, confirmed that two citizens and a young police officer were among the killed, expressing his categorical rejection of “this demented act.”

President Gustavo Petro expressed condolences to the bereaved families in a post on his account on X, warning the criminals “who choose the path of war over peace” will “bear the full burden of the law,” reports Xinhua news agency.

The shock wave of the car bomb, detonated near the police station of El Remolino in the rural area of Taminango on Friday, also affected several houses and vehicles.

Fernando Latorre, the mayor of Taminango, told local media that this police station suffered two other attacks in the past year, in addition to various murders, calling for “security to be strengthened to give peace to the local inhabitants.”

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–IANS

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Eight missing after landslide in rain-drenched China's Hunan

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Beijing, June 23 (IANS) Eight people are missing after a landslide in central China’s Hunan Province early on Sunday, local authorities said.

The landslide happened in Douxi Village, Xinhuang Dong Autonomous County of Huaihua City, and was reported to the county’s emergency response centre at around 4 a.m. on Sunday.

It led to the collapse of four houses, reports Xinhua news agency.

All other people at the site have been relocated to safe areas, and rescue work is underway. The county has been hit by heavy rain.

Heavy downpours or rainstorms hit parts of the Sichuan Basin, Guizhou, Hunan, Jiangxi, Zhejiang, Fujian, Guangxi, Guangdong, Henan, Hubei and Heilongjiang this month, leading to extensive damage and deaths caused by floodings

–IANS

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North Korea to hold key meeting after signing partnership treaty with Russia

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Seoul, June 23 (IANS) North Korea is to hold a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) this week to review policy performances in the first half, amid attention over whether it would discuss follow-up measures to implement a new partnership treaty signed with Russia.

In May, the WPK’s politburo decided to hold a plenary meeting of the party’s Central Committee in late June to review progress in its economic and other projects in the first half without disclosing other details, such as the date of the meeting, reports Yonhap news agency.

North Korea usually holds a party plenary meeting for a few days in June. However, the upcoming gathering draws more attention due to the possibility that it could discuss detailed measures to expand cooperation with Russia following its signing with Moscow of the treaty of comprehensive strategic partnership.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a summit in Pyongyang on Wednesday and clinched the sweeping treaty that calls for providing military assistance without delay if either comes under attack.

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Article 4 of the 23-point treaty could be seen as warranting automatic military intervention in the event of aggression on either country. That would amount to the restoration of a Cold War-era alliance for the first time in 28 years since a mutual defence treaty was scrapped in 1996.

The treaty also indicates North Korea and Russia could join hands in resisting international sanctions against Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. Article 16 of the treaty calls for both sides to oppose “unilateral coercive measures of an extraterritorial nature.”

The new pact specifies science and technology, space, the peaceful use of nuclear power and artificial intelligence as among the areas for cooperation. This raises concerns that North Korea and Russia’s cooperation in such fields could assist the North’s development of weapons of mass destruction banned under UN sanctions.

Whether North Korea would ratify the treaty at the WPK meeting will also garner attention. Under the North’s constitution, an “important treaty” can be ratified or scrapped solely by its leader, Kim, though the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA), the North’s parliament, approves ordinary treaties.

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After this week’s party plenary meeting, North Korea is widely expected to hold a key session of the SPA in a bid to revise the constitution. The North’s leader earlier called for revising the constitution to define South Korea as the North’s “primary foe” and clarify its territorial boundaries, including the maritime border.

Experts said at this week’s WPK meeting, Kim may issue a message critical of the United States and South Korea over the allies’ joint military drills scheduled for August.

Seoul and Washington plan to stage the annual Ulchi Freedom Shield (UFS) in August, which the North has long denounced as a rehearsal for a northern invasion.

Separately, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, a US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, arrived in the southeastern port city of Busan on Saturday in a show of force against North Korea’s military threats. The US, South Korea and Japan will hold their first-ever trilateral multidomain exercise later this month.

–IANS

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Two South Korean hospitals to suffer $71.89 mn losses over doctors' walkout this year

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Seoul, June 23 (IANS) Two major hospitals run by the Seoul city government are forecast to suffer losses of nearly 100 billion won ($71.89 million) this year due to the prolonged walkout by trainee doctors, officials said on Sunday.

According to the city government, the two municipal hospitals, Seoul Medical Center and Boramae Medical Center, are projected to suffer 89.7 billion won in losses combined this year if striking trainee doctors do not return to work and their operation disruptions continue through the year-end, Yonhap news agency reported.

Trainee doctors nationwide have walked off the job since late February in protest against the government’s increase of the medical school admission quota that aims to address the shortage of doctors.

Of 203 doctors at Seoul Medical Center, 22 per cent were trainee doctors, and the proportion at the Boramae Hospital came to 33.9 per cent.

The walkout caused the operation of their hospital beds to drop by more than 20 per cent each, and the number of outpatients in the Boramae Hospital fell more than 10 per cent.

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The city government said it plans to inject 45.6 billion won to support them to prevent the medical service vacuum from worsening.

The hospitals activated an emergency management mode and have implemented cost-cutting measures.

“The decision to inject the city budget was inevitable to ensure that they provide necessary medical services for citizens. We will work hard to persuade trainee doctors to end their strike,” an official said.

Despite strong opposition from doctors, the government late last month finalised an admissions quota hike of some 1,500 students for medical schools, marking the first such increase in 27 years.

–IANS

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