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Update: Death toll in Haiti earthquake rises to 1,297 – Official



Update: Death toll in Haiti earthquake rises to 1,297 – Official

The death toll in the earthquake in southern Haiti has risen to 1,297 people, the country’s civil protection authority said Sunday.

The U.S. Geological Survey declared a red alert after the 7.2-magnitude quake struck Saturday morning about 12 kilometres from Saint-Louis-du-Sud.

Authorities had previously recorded 724 deaths and 2,800 injured, but the death toll was expected to climb as rescue workers continue to search for survivors.

The full extent of the destruction and damage to homes and infrastructure is not yet clear.

Rescue workers and regular citizens in Haiti are racing against an impending tropical storm to pull survivors from the rubble of buildings destroyed by the earthquake.

Interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry has declared a one-month state of emergency in response to the quake.

Search and rescue efforts by the International Red Cross have focused on the area around the particularly affected towns of Jeremie and Les Cayes, and relief supplies for at least 4,500 people were ready.

Further trouble could be on the way in the form of Tropical Storm Grace.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm could hit the region on Monday, with fierce winds and heavy rain worsening the situation in the earthquake-hit area and hampering rescue efforts.

Offers of aid and condolences came pouring in from abroad.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that his country, the former colonial ruler of the Caribbean nation, “remains at the side of Haiti and its people, and stands ready to support” on Twitter on Sunday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UN Secretary General Antonio Gueterres and Pope Francis also expressed their condolences.

The Organisation of American States (OAS), Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Canada and the United States have offered assistance.

Haiti, considered the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still living with the impact of the January 12, 2010 magnitude-7.0 earthquake that killed some 220,000 people and left one million people homeless. Damage from that earthquake, which struck near densely populated Port-au-Prince, was estimated at 8 billion dollars.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) put the epicentre of Saturday’s quake, which also triggered smaller aftershocks, on Haiti’s Tiburon peninsula, about 125 kilometres west of the capital Port-au-Prince.

The quake was also felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, Dominican newspaper Diario Libre reported. Jamaica, hundreds of kilometres away, also felt rattled.

Haiti has also been in political turmoil since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July.

He was shot dead in a middle-of-the-night attack at his residence by a heavily armed commando force.




– dpa


Foreign News

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



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. 


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Foreign News

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



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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Foreign News

Zelensky repeats his rejection of negotiations with Putin



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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