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A crew missing after Ferries collide in Sunda Strait

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…As 8 killed, dozens feared trapped after earthquake hits Philippines***

A Ferry, WINDU KARSA DWITYA collided with ferry VIRGO 18 near Merak port, Java, Sunda Strait, at around 1630 LT on Monday, April 22, leaving one person who fell over board, missing.

WINDU KARSA DWITYA was leaving Merak, while VIRGO 18 was approaching port, when both ferries serving Merak Bakauheni line collided.

 One crew of WINDU KARSA DWITYA fell overboard and is missing, one passenger was injured and transferred to hospital, on arrival to Merak.

WINDU KARSA DWITYA suffered starboard bridge wing and fore deck hull dents and breaches, VIRGO 18 sustained stern damages.

WINDU KARSA DWITYA, according to Fleetmon has returned to port, withcall passengers left ferry. VIRGO 18 is also at Merak. 

However, on land, the story was more bizarre as at least eight people were killed when a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck the Philippines` main island of Luzon on Monday and officials feared dozens could be trapped in the rubble of a collapsed commercial building.

The quake hit 60 km (37 miles) northwest of the capital, Manila, disrupting air, rail and road transport and causing some damage to buildings and infrastructure. 

The province of Pampanga was worst hit. Eight people were killed and about 20 injured, provincial governor Lilia Pineda said by telephone, citing information from disaster officials.

Rescuers were using heavy duty equipment and search dogs to try to reach people trapped after a four-storey building went down, crushing the ground-floor supermarket, she said.

“They can be heard crying in pain,” she said of those trapped. “It won`t be easy to rescue them.”

The Zee noted that the quake was initially reported as being of 6.3 magnitude and later revised down to 6.1 magnitude, the U.S. Geological Survey and Philippines seismology authorities said.

The Philippines is prone to natural disasters, located on the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire”, a horse-shoe shaped band of volcanoes and fault lines that circles the edges of the Pacific Ocean. It is also hit by an average 20 typhoons a year, bringing heavy rains that trigger deadly landslides.

Pampanga`s international airport at Clark, a former U.S. military base, was closed and scores of flights were cancelled after damage to parts of the facility including check-in areas.

Large cracks appeared on provincial roads and electricity poles were felled. Rescue teams in Manila were preparing to reinforce efforts to reach people trapped in Pampanga. The government urged people to be calm as rumours of greater death and destruction gained traction online.

“We urge them to refrain from spreading disinformation in social media that may cause undue alarm, panic and stress,” said presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo.

In Manila, the quake, shortly after 5 p.m., caused tall buildings to sway for several minutes in the main business districts.

“We got nervous, we got dizzy. I ran downstairs with three kids,” said Arlene Puno, a domestic helper in a high-rise apartment in the Makati financial centre.

Elevated rail services were halted and workers were evacuated from offices and condominiums, sending a flood of people onto sidewalks and into bus queues and adding more chaos to roads that are among the world`s most congested.

The quake was initially reported as being of 6.3 magnitude and later revised down to 6.1 magnitude, the U.S. Geological Survey and Philippines seismology authorities said.

Mark Genesis Samodio, 23, a maintenance worker at a Makati condominium in the capital, said the quake`s impact was unusual, even for a city that has grown used to them. 

“I was sitting down then it shook so strong I thought I was being rocked in a cradle,” he said.

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Palestine ends security coordination with Israel after deadly raid in West Bank

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Palestine ends security coordination with Israel after deadly raid in West Bank

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has announced the end of security coordination with Israel in response to the killing of nine Palestinians in the West Bank city of Jenin.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman of the Palestinian presidency, said in a press statement.

“In the light of the repeated aggression against our people and the undermining of signed agreements, we consider that security coordination with the Israeli occupation government no longer exists as of now.”

The decision came after an emergency meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee, the Fatah Central Committee, and the Palestinian government.

The meeting was chaired by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Earlier, the Israeli army force stormed the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank and killed nine Palestinians, including an elderly woman, and wounded 16, four of them in serious condition.

Abu Rudeineh called on the Palestinian factions for more peaceful popular resistance “to protect the Palestinians and their capabilities in the face of settler terrorism and the Israeli occupation forces.”

The Palestinian leadership has decided to immediately turn to the UN Security Council for international protection for the Palestinian people under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to stop unilateral measures, he said.

The Palestinian leadership will also go urgently to the International Criminal Court to add “the file of the massacre committed by Israeli forces in Jenin on Thursday to the files previously submitted to the court,” the spokesman added.

Security coordination between Israel and the PA was brought on by the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the PLO in the 1990s.

 The establishment of the PA itself was also an outcome of the Oslo Accords.

More than 170 Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in 2022, and at least 29 have been killed in January this year, according to figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.

According to a statement by the United Nations, 2022 was the deadliest year for Palestinians since 2006.

The tensions had been further aggravated since Israel’s most right-wing government, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, took office last month. 

Xinhua

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S. Korea’s childbirths hit record low in Nov.

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S. Korea’s childbirths hit record low in Nov.

 The number of babies born in South Korea has reached yet another record low in November, data showed on Thursday, reflecting the country’s dire population crisis.

A total of 18,982 babies were born in November, plunging 4.3 percent from the previous year, according to data from Statistics Korea.

This, the data said, marked the lowest number for any November since the statistics agency started compiling related data in 1981.

South Korea remains dogged by a chronic decline in childbirths as many young people delay or give up on having babies in the face of an economic slowdown and high home prices.

However, between the periods of January and November, a total number of 231,863 babies were born, down 4.7 percent from a year earlier.

Its total fertility rate, the average number of children a woman bears in her life-time came to just 0.79 in the third quarter, the data showed.

In 2021, it stood at 0.81, marking the fourth straight year to hover below one. It was much lower than the replacement level of 2.1 which would keep South Korea’s population stable at 51.5 million.

South Korea, which first reported more deaths than births in 2020, is also widely expected to maintain the trend for the third consecutive year in 2022.

Over the January-November period, South Korea had 107,004 more deaths.

The number of deaths came to 30,107 in November, up to 6.1 percent from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the data showed that the number of marriages rose to 2.2 percent on-year to 17,458 in November as more people tied the knot following the ease of  COVID-19 regulations.

Divorces fell by 3.1 percent on-year to 8,498 in the month.

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Zelensky repeats his rejection of negotiations with Putin

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Zelensky repeats his rejection of negotiations with Putin

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has reiterated his rejection of negotiations with Russia before a withdrawal of Russian troops.

“Talks would only be possible if Russia withdraws its soldiers, admits its mistake and there is a new government in Moscow,’’ Zelensky said on Thursday.

“ Only then would talks be possible,’’ he said.

The president had already banned negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin by decree at the end of September 2022.

Zelensky stressed that a meeting with Putin made no sense. “It is not interesting for me. Not interesting to meet, not interesting to speak,” he said.

“They don’t want talks, and that was the case even before the invasion. President Putin decided so.”

He said he was convinced that Ukraine was only the first step for Putin.

“Before the war, there were meetings with Putin.

“I saw a man who said one thing and then did another,” Zelensky said.

“Who is he now? After a full-scale invasion, for me, he is a nobody.” 

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