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Magnitude 7.5 quake strikes off Papua New Guinea

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 struck off Papua New Guinea late Saturday night, the US Geological Survey said. A tsunami warning has been issued for Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said. bur-lm/pj

Thai radar saw 'unknown aircraft' after MH370 vanished

Thai radar picked up an "unknown aircraft" minutes after flight MH370 last transmitted its location but officials failed to report the findings earlier as the plane was not considered a threat, the air force said Wednesday. The information emerged during checks of radar logs on Monday -- nine days after the Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 239 passengers and crew disappeared -- after a request from the Malaysian government, according to Air Marshal Monthon Suchookorn.

National interests hamper complex Malaysia jet search

National self-interest and confusion about operational control looked Wednesday to be unsettling the already daunting 26-nation search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet, with boats and planes sitting idle pending clear orders. Malaysia has underlined the importance of outside help in scouring two land and sea corridors equivalent in size to the entire land mass of Australia.

National interests hamper complex Malaysia jet search

National self-interest and confusion about operational control looked Wednesday to be unsettling the already daunting 26-nation search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet, with boats and planes sitting idle pending clear orders. Malaysia has underlined the importance of outside help in scouring two land and sea corridors equivalent in size to the entire land mass of Australia.

Spain revises Q4 growth downward to 0.2 per cent, contracted 1.2 pct over year

MADRID - Spain's National Statistics Institute says the economy grew a smaller-than-expected 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with the previous three-month period. The figure released Thursday revised earlier predictions by the institute and the Bank of Spain that estimated the economy had grown by 0.3 per cent for the October-December period. The institute confirmed that economic activity shrank 1.2 per cent for the whole of 2013.

Cambodia gov't says Thai soldiers shot dead 69 Cambodians last year

At least 69 Cambodians were shot dead by Thai border forces in 2013 after illegally crossing the border to engage in illicit logging or for other purposes, according to a government report seen Thursday. The annual Interior Ministry report shows there were 55 such cases last year compared with 39 in 2012 when 30 Cambodians were killed in similar circumstances. It says 15 Cambodians were killed in 2011 and nine in 2010.

Spain, Morocco must end 'widespread violence' against migrants

A group of Moroccan NGOs has called on Spain and Morocco to end "widespread violence" against illegal immigrants, in a letter to Spain's ambassador, after 12 people drowned trying to cross their common border. "We are deeply concerned to see the close cooperation between Spain and Morocco on border control today resulting in... widespread violence against migrants and security practices outside of any legal framework," the eight NGOs said in the open letter seen by AFP on Friday.

Leaders of St. Kitts, Grenada face opposition over ALBA bids

Basseterre, St Kitts, Jan 31 (EFE).- The St. Kitts and Nevis head of government has been taken to task for having announced in Cuba that the federation is about to become a member state of ALBA, the Venezuela-led Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of the Americas. That kind of decision should have been announced in Basseterre, not overseas, the leader of the Team Unity opposition coalition, Dr. Timothy Harris, said Friday.

Japan, Cambodia to upgrade ties to "strategic partnership"

Japan and Cambodia agreed Sunday to advance defense cooperation between the two countries, and to upgrade bilateral relations to a "strategic partnership." Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen oversaw the signing in Tokyo by the defense ministers of both countries of a memorandum of understanding concerning bilateral defense cooperation and exchanges.

New Zealanders vote 2-1 against government asset sales program but result symbolic only

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - More than two-thirds of New Zealanders who voted in a national referendum Friday said they oppose the government's program of state asset sales. The results of the poll are symbolic only. The referendum is not binding and the conservative government says it plans to carry on with its policy. The government this year raised 4 billion New Zealand dollars ($3.3 billion) by selling 49 per cent stakes in energy companies Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy and a 20 per cent stake in national carrier Air New Zealand.
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