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China says it is open for talks with India

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Beijing. June 30 : China on Friday indicated it was open for talks with India, saying a “meaningful dialogue” over the border stand-off is the “pressing issue”.

This is a climbdown for Beijing which earlier ruled out any talks until India withdrew its troops from “Chinese territory”.

“Diplomatic channels are unimpeded between India and China for talks on the stand-off in Sikkim,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

“The pressing issue is to have a meaningful dialogue for the withdrawal of Indian troops from the Doklam area in Sikkim sector,” Lu added.

Lu again charged Indian troops with trespassing the Chinese border. India has denied the allegation.

He also rejected Bhutan’s claims over Donlong, calling it Chinese territory.

By Gaurav Sharma

IANS

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Afghanistan: Blast near office of ‘Save The Children’ aid group in Jalalabad

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Afghan, Jan 25: A blast occurred near office of ‘Save The Children’ aid group in the eastern Afghanistan city of Jalalabad – government official said on Wednesday.

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6.1-magnitude quake hits Jakarta

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Jakarta, Jan 23: An earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale jolted the Indonesian capital on Tuesday, damaging dozens of houses and sending people fleeing into the streets in panic.

The earthquake struck around 1.34 p.m. about 100 miles southwest of Jakarta, with its epicentre in the Indian Ocean. There were no immediate reports of casualties, Efe news reported.

Reports said that buildings in the capital shook for several seconds, with some being evacuated. In Lebak district of Banten province, as many as 116 houses were damaged after the quake, an official of the disaster management agency said.

A total of 13 houses were damaged in Serang district of Banten province and four others in West Java province.

Around Jakarta, panicky Indonesians fled schools, office buildings and other high-rises, the New York Times reported.

“It felt like a giant rock had dropped either in the hallway or just outside the building,” said Marcoen Stoop, a Belgian businessman who lives on the 35th floor of an apartment building in Jakarta.

“Then, the building started swaying and the swaying increased steadily,” he added, saying the rocking lasted less than a minute.

In 2004, a powerful quake in the northern part of Sumatra Island triggered a tsunami in the Indian Ocean that killed around 230,000 people in a dozen countries, mostly in Indonesia.

IANS

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Powerful 8.2 magnitude Earth Quake jolts Alaska

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New Delhi, Jan 23: A powerful earthquake of 8.2 magnitude shook the coast of Alaska on Tuesday. Following this tsunami warning has been issued across the United States.

The quake hit 300 km southeast of Kodiak at a depth of 10 km at 12.21 a.m., the US Geological Survey said.

The US National Tsunami Warning Centre issued a tsunami alert for areas that included the coast of Alaska to British Columbia and the border with Washington State, and a tsunami watch all the way down to the border of Mexico and the coast of Hawaii, the New York Times reported.

Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, issued an extreme warning, saying there was “extraordinary threat to life or property”.

The alert told people to seek refuge on higher grounds in affected areas. Authorities said that based on the preliminary earthquake parameters, “widespread hazardous tsunami waves were possible”.

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