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Three shot dead in Indonesia's Aceh ahead of elections

Gunmen riding a motorcycle have shot dead three people including a toddler in Indonesia's Aceh, police said Tuesday, the latest violence in the western province before legislative elections next week. The victims were killed late Monday when two men on a motorcycle opened fire on a small van decorated with pictures of election candidates from the Aceh Party, which dominates local politics. Police said it was not clear who the gunmen were although there has been an upsurge in politically-linked attacks ahead of the April 9 polls.

17 countries join naval exercise for disaster preparation

Navies from 17 countries began a six-day joint exercise Saturday in the South China Sea to improve coordinated efforts on how to deal with natural disasters. "With this exercise, I hope international assistance can be better organized in future natural disasters," Djoko Suyanto, coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs, said at an opening ceremony on Batam Island, near Singapore.

Indonesia sharia stronghold bans New Year's festivities

Islamic police in Indonesia's sharia stronghold seized thousands of firecrackers and cardboard trumpets after the city administration banned New Year's Eve celebrations for the first time, an official said Tuesday. The Monday night raid on street stalls and shops selling the items followed a fatwa, or decree, by the clerical Ulema Consultative Assembly that said New Year's celebrations or wishing someone "Merry Christmas" was "haram" (forbidden) in the city of Banda Aceh. The Banda Aceh government backed the fatwa by banning New Year's Eve celebrations in the city.

Philippines typhoon death toll tops 6,000

The number of people dead after one of the world's strongest typhoons struck the Philippines has risen above 6,000, the government said Friday, with nearly 2,000 others still missing. Five weeks after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed entire towns across the nation's central islands, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council put the official death toll at 6,009, making it the Philippines' deadliest recorded typhoon.

Philippines typhoon death toll tops 6,000

The number of people dead after one of the world's strongest typhoons struck the Philippines has risen above 6,000, the government said Friday, with nearly 2,000 others still missing. Five weeks after Super Typhoon Haiyan destroyed entire towns across the nation's central islands, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council put the official death toll at 6,009, making it the Philippines' deadliest recorded typhoon.

Crucial jobs cleaning up after Philippine typhoon

Tens of thousands of desperately needed jobs are being created for survivors of a catastrophic typhoon in the Philippines by paying them to clear mountains of waste from ruined cities and farms. UN agencies are spearheading the "cash for work" programmes, which they hope will provide a triple-boost to communities destroyed by Super Typhoon Haiyan, with lifting morale as vital as cleaning up and helping economies.

Earthquake kills 1, injures 2 in Indonesia

Bangkok, Oct 22 (EFE).- A man was killed and two women were injured Tuesday in the magnitude-5.6 earthquake that rocked Aceh province, located on the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island, media reports said. "The fatality was a man who died from a heart attack," the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported, citing National Disaster Response Agency officials in the city of Pidie. The two women were seriously injured when their house in the Tangse district of Pidie collapsed.

Outrage in Indonesia over school's genitalia survey

"It is totally unnecessary because there is no need to measure the size of students genitals for any purpose."

Quake hits Indonesia's Sumatra days after deadly tremor

A strong 6.4-magnitude quake struck off Indonesia's Sumatra Saturday, US seismologists said, just days after a tremor on the vast island killed dozens and left thousands homeless. No tsunami warning was issued and there were no reports of damage after the quake struck at a shallow depth of just 23 kilometres (14 miles) off the southwest coast of the vast island, said the US Geological Survey. The epicentre was close to the remote archipelago of Mentawai. In 2010, a 7.7-magnitude quake triggered a tsunami that left more than 400 people dead on the island chain.

Aid reaches Indonesia villages after deadly quake

Aid began to trickle in to devastated villages in Indonesia's Aceh province on Thursday where thousands have been left homeless after a powerful earthquake that killed at least 30 people. The 6.1-magnitude tremor sparked landslides, flattened buildings and injured hundreds in the natural disaster-prone province, where a tsunami triggered by an earthquake in 2004 claimed more than 170,000 lives. The quake, which struck Tuesday in Aceh's mountainous interior, caused a mosque to collapse in one village, killing six children as they took part in a Koran reading session.
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