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Buildings shake as 7.5-magnitude quake kills 4 in Mexico

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Earthquake Strong

New Delhi, A powerful earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale hit the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, killing four people and injuring four others, the National Civil Protection Coordination (CNPC) said Wednesday.

A tsunami warning was sounded on the Oaxaca coast. The country’s seismological service recommended that residents move away from the coastline.

The epicentre of the quake, which hit at 10.29 a.m. here Tuesday, was located 23 km south of La Crucecita, a Pacific Coast village in southern Oaxaca state, the National Seismological Service (SSN) said via Twitter.

Two men and a woman were among the dead in separate incidents as a result of damage to roofs and walls. The fourth victim was a male employee of the state oil company Pemex, who fell from a structure during the quake and died from his injuries in the hospital, Xinhua news agency reported.

The strong quake was felt in 12 south and central states, and by 2.30 p.m. over 447 aftershocks had been reported. Some structures, including houses, markets, schools, churches and four hospitals at different locations, sustained damage, according to the CNPC.

In Mexico City, 32 buildings in the downtown area, near the National Palace, sustained damage to their facades, but only one already condemned building had structural damage, the CNPC said.

Mexico’s oil refinery in Salina Cruz, some 143 km from La Crucecita, briefly suspended operations as a precaution, and restarted again.

Mexico is located above various fault lines. In the past 35 years there were several powerful quakes in the southern and central parts of the country, which caused wide-scale destruction and heavy casualties.

Middle East

Turkey may suspend ties with UAE over Israel deal, Erdogan says

The deal makes UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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erdogan

ISTANBUL : Turkey is considering suspending diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates and withdrawing its ambassador over the Gulf state’s accord to normalise ties with Israel, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

The Turkish foreign ministry said history would never forgive the UAE’s “hypocritical behaviour” in agreeing such a deal, which recasts the order of Middle East politics.

Under the U.S.-brokered, the first between Israel and a Gulf Arab, the Jewish state agreed to suspend its planned annexation of areas of the occupied West Bank. Palestinian leaders have denounced it as a “stab in the back” to their cause.

“The move against Palestine is not a step that can be stomached. Now, Palestine is either closing or withdrawing its embassy. The same thing is valid for us now,” Erdogan said, adding he gave orders to his foreign minister.

“I told him we may also take a step in the direction of suspending diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi leadership or pulling back our ambassador,” he told reporters after Friday prayers.

The Foreign Ministry had earlier said Palestinians were right to reject the deal in which the UAE betrayed their cause.

“History and the conscience of the region’s peoples will not forget and never forgive this hypocritical behaviour,” it said. “It is extremely worrying that the UAE should, with a unilateral action, try and do away with the (2002) Arab Peace Plan developed by the Arab League.”

Turkey has diplomatic and trade ties with Israel, but relations have been strained for years. In 2010 Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish activists trying to breach a blockade on the Gaza Strip, which is ruled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas.

The deal makes UAE the third Arab country to establish full relations with Israel, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

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Election

Trump plans to accept Republican presidential nomination at White House

Trump’s intent to give the speech at the White House triggered criticism from the Democrats, who said it would be both illegal and unethical for the President to do so.

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Donald Trump

Washington, Aug 14 : President Donald Trump said that he plans to deliver his convention speech while formally accepting the Republican presidential nomination from the White House lawn, according to media reports.

“I’ll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It’s a place that makes me feel good. It makes the country feel good,” Xinhua news agency quoted Trump as saying to the New York Post in an exclusive interview on Thursday.

Earlier this week, he had floated the idea of giving the speech at either the White House or Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, an American Civil War battlefield.

Trump told the New York Post that he would visit Gettysburg at a later date.

“We’d do it possibly outside on one of the lawns. We have various lawns, so we could have it outside,” he said, citing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as a reason.

Trump’s intent to give the speech at the White House triggered criticism from the Democrats, who said it would be both illegal and unethical for the President to do so.

A federal law known as the Hatch Act generally forbids the use of government property and employees for political activities with some exceptions

“Whether it’s legally wrong or ethically out of the question, it shouldn’t even have been something that was expressed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

“For the President of the US to degrade once again the White House, as he has done over and over again by saying he’s going to completely politicize it, is something that should be rejected right out of hand,” she added.

The pandemic, which has infected over 5 million people and killed more than 160,000 in the US, has forced the Republican Party to scale back its national convention, scheduled for August 24-27, by moving most of the activities to be held online, while only some in-person business meetings will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Trump scrapped the part of the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida, due to skyrocketing COVID-19 caseloads in the state.

He originally planned to give the acceptance speech there on the last day of the convention.

The President still insisted on having a big crowd of supporters at his speech, telling the New York Post that “it’s very big, a very big lawn. We could have a big group of people”.

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Middle East

United Nations Chief Antonio Guterres welcomes Israel-UAE agreement

The UAE on August 13 became the first Gulf country and the third in the Arab world to establish diplomatic relations with Israel as part of a deal to halt the controversial annexation of parts of the West Bank that Palestinians see as a part of their future state.

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Antonio Guterres

United Nations, Aug 14 : UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the US-brokered historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), under which Israel will suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

Thursday’s agreement is something the Secretary-General has consistently called for, Stephane Dujarric, UN chief’s spokesman, in a statement.

“The Secretary-General welcomes this agreement, hoping it will create an opportunity for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to re-engage in meaningful negotiations that will realize a two-state solution in line with relevant UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements,” Xinhua news agency quoted Dujarric as saying.

Annexation would effectively close the door for a renewal of negotiations and destroy the prospect of a viable Palestinian state and the two-state solution, it noted.

Peace in the Middle East is more important than ever as the region confronts the grave threats of COVID-19 and radicalization.

The Secretary-General will continue to work with all sides to open further possibilities for dialogue, peace and stability, said the statement.

The agreement on Thursday took place via a phone call between Trump, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE.

As part of the agreement, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in Trump’s vision of peace and focus its efforts now on expanding its ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world.

The UAE and Israel will also immediately expand and accelerate cooperation regarding the treatment of and the development of a vaccine for coronavirus.

According to reports, this is the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country in 25 years.

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