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Zelensky calls for second event as Ukraine peace summit ends

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Zelensky calls for second event as Ukraine peace summit ends

Vienna, June 16 (IANS/DPA) The two-day Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland should be quickly followed up with a second meeting, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday towards the close of proceedings.

Preparations would take only months and not years, Zelensky said after representatives of some 100 countries and organisations came together at the Burgenstock mountain hotel resort near Lucerne.

Some countries had already signalled their willingness to host such a summit, according to Zelensky.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that a prerequisite for Russia’s participation would be Moscow’s commitment to the UN Charter.

The final declaration of the summit, which was signed by 80 of the countries present, makes no mention of a follow-up conference.

Swiss President Viola Amherd acknowledged diverse perspectives at the conference but emphasized that it marked the first high-level discussion on a peace process. Some substantive prerequisites for a path to an end to the war in Ukraine had been created, she said.

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The fact that the vast majority of the states present agreed on the Burgenstock Communique shows what diplomacy can achieve through patient work, Amherd added.

Russia had not been invited to the event and showed no interest in participating. The summit was also an attempt by the West to involve other countries in South America, Asia and Africa in peace efforts based on international law.

Ukraine is calling for a “just and lasting” peace.

–IANS/DPA

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Death toll from Philippine floods, landslides rises to 21

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Death toll from Philippine floods, landslides rises to 21

Death toll from Philippine floods, landslides rises to 21

Manila, July 25 (IANS) The death toll in the Philippine floods and landslides triggered by southwest monsoon enhanced by typhoon Gaemi has climbed to 21, police said on Thursday.

In a preliminary report, police said seven people died in the Philippine capital region Manila, three in Cavite province, five in Batangas province, and three in Rizal province. Police also reported that one died in Bulacan province and another two in Angeles City in Pampanga province.

The cause of death mainly was drowning, landslides, fallen trees, and electrocution, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Philippines’ national disaster agency has yet to report deaths due to the twin effects of southwest monsoon and Gaemi, which exits the Philippines on Thursday morning.

Gaemi, the third typhoon to lash the Philippines this year, has dumped rains, triggering flash floods and landslides in Metro Manila and many regions.

Aside from taking lives, Gaemi submerged and destroyed houses, primarily shanties in coastal and riverside communities, and swept away cars.

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Displaced residents spent Wednesday night in covered courts, schoolhouses, churches, and other makeshift evacuation centers while waiting for the floodwaters in their areas to recede.

The Philippines is one of the most disaster-prone countries globally, mainly due to its location in the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Pacific typhoon belt. On average, the archipelagic country experiences 20 typhoons yearly, some intense and destructive.

–IANS

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Australian shipwreck found 55 years after maritime disaster

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Australian shipwreck found 55 years after maritime disaster

Australian shipwreck found 55 years after maritime disaster

Canberra, July 25 (IANS) Researchers from Australia’s national science agency have solved one of the country’s biggest maritime mysteries by discovering the wreck of a ship that sank over 50 years ago.

The motor vessel (MV) Noongah was carrying steel between the east coast cities of Newcastle and Townsville on August 25, 1969, when it encountered a storm and sank, triggering one of the largest searches for survivors in Australian maritime history, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of the 26 crew on board at the time of the incident, 21 died. Only one body was recovered and the wreck was never found.

However, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) on Thursday announced it has confirmed the final resting place of the 71-meter freighter.

The CSIRO’s advanced research vessel (RV) Investigator surveyed an unidentified shipwreck in June 2024, collecting video footage and high-resolution seafloor mapping data.

In collaboration with experts from New South Wales (NSW) Heritage and NGO The Sydney Project the team was able to identify the wreck as the MV Noongah.

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The investigation showed the wreck is sitting upright at a depth of 170 meters.

Matt Kimber from the CSIRO’s Marine National Facility (MNF) informed stakeholders including surviving crew members and the families of the sailors who died, of the outcome of the RV Investigator survey.

The data and vision collected by the CSIRO have been provided to the project partners to allow planning for a dive by The Sydney Project to collect additional vision of the wreck.

–IANS

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Israel recovers bodies of five hostages from Gaza

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Israel recovers bodies of five hostages from Gaza

Israel recovers bodies of five hostages from Gaza

Jerusalem, July 25 (IANS) The bodies of five Israeli people, who were held hostages by Hamas after the attack on the country, have been recovered, Israeli forces said on Thursday.

They were identified as Maya Goren from Kibbutz Nir Oz and four soldiers, whose bodies were held hostage, according to a joint statement released by the Israeli military and the Shin Bet internal security agency. The soldiers — Oren Goldin, Tomer Ahimas, Ravid Aryeh Katz, and Kiril Brodski — were killed in combat with Hamas militants on October 7, 2023, Xinhua news agency reported.

The bodies were retrieved in an operation carried out in Gaza on Wednesday by commando and Shin Bet forces and taken to Israel for identification, according to the statement.

Kibbutz Nir Oz, one of the communities most severely affected by Hamas’ assault, released a statement saying that Goren, a 56-year-old kindergarten teacher, was “brought home for burial” after nine months of being held in Gaza. Israeli authorities said in December 2023 that she was believed to be dead.

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With about 110 people still being held hostage in Gaza, at least a third of them are feared dead, according to Israeli estimates.

–IANS

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Three killed in road accident in Afghanistan

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Three killed in road accident in Afghanistan

Three killed in road accident in Afghanistan

Charikar, July 25 (IANS) Three commuters lost their lives and three others were injured following a road accident in Afghanistan’s Parwan province on Thursday morning, police said.

The accident occurred in Siagard district when a passenger car rammed into a truck, leaving three dead including two women, and injuring three others, said Fazal Rahim Muskinyar, spokesman for the provincial police.

Three women, who were injured in the accident, were transported to the provincial hospital for treatment, Xinhua news agency reported.

Dilapidated roads, reckless driving, overspeeding, overloading, and lack of safety measures often cause deadly accidents in Afghanistan.

–IANS

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One missing after oil tanker capsizes in Philippines

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One missing after oil tanker capsizes in Philippines

One missing after oil tanker capsizes in Philippines

Manila, July 25 (IANS) One person went missing after an oil tanker sank in the Philippines’ Bataan province on Thursday, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) personnel said.

Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said the vessel, Motor Tanker Terra Nova, carrying 1.4 million litters of industrial fuel oil, capsized and eventually sank 3.6 nautical miles east of Limay town around 1:10 a.m. local time Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Balilo said the vessel was sailing south to Iloilo province in the central Philippines when the accident happened.

Balilo said the Coast Guardsmen rescued 16 of the 17 crew, four of whom were injured. “The search and rescue operation for the missing crew is ongoing,” he added.

According to Balilo, a marine environmental protection team has been sent to the area to combat oil spills, and an investigation is underway to find the cause of the accident.

–IANS

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