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East Timor 7.5 magnitude quake, no tsunami feared

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A powerful deep 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the coasts of East Timor and Indonesia on Monday and was felt as far away as Australia.

However, the authorities said it did not have the potential to cause a tsunami.

Strong shaking caused alarm in the East Timor capital of Dili, prompting people to run out of their houses, a Reuters witness said, but there were no immediate reports of damage, injuries or deaths.

The quake struck in the Banda Sea in Indonesia and was felt across northern Australia and in Darwin, around 435 miles away from the epicentre.

Reports said the quake hit at lunchtime and office workers sought safety outside but no damage or injuries were reported.

“It was probably one of the strongest I have felt in my time here in Darwin,’’ Australian Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Chris Kent told ABC Radio Darwin.

“We ended up wandering outside for about 15 minutes to let things settle down,’’ he said.

Conoco Phillips, operator of the Darwin LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant, and Inpex, operator of Ichthys LNG onshore facilities, both said their sites were operating normally following the tremor.

The quake, initially recorded at a magnitude of 7.2, was at a depth 220 km (136 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Due to the quake’s depth there was no tsunami threat, said the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre.

The Indonesian geophysics agency recorded at least one aftershock measuring over magnitude four on the Richter scale.

The quake was also felt on Indonesia’s holiday island of Bali, several people said on social media. But there were no immediate reports of damage or injury in Indonesia, said Rita Rosita, an official of the national disaster mitigation agency.

Earlier on Monday, a strong quake of magnitude 6.1 struck the eastern province of Papua but no deaths were reported.

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APC has done well for South East, says Igbokwe

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A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Mr Joe Igbokwe, on Tuesday said the South East had benefited immensely under the APC government of President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made the statement in Ikeja while speaking with newsmen during the inauguration of new executives of Ndigbo APC in Lagos State.

Igbokwe, who is the leader of the group, said the South East had gotten more projects under the APC government than any other government since 1999.

He said the APC government would soon deliver the Second Niger Bridge after several failed promises by previous governments.

Igbokwe, also the Special Adviser to Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Drainage and Water Resources, urged more people from the South East to join the APC as the party meant well for the region and the country in general.

“I want more of our people to join the APC given what is happening in the South East now in terms of development.

“I do not think there is any project bigger than the Second Niger Bridge in Nigeria now; the bridge is getting to completion.

“I know that by next year, the government would have finished the bridge. The same bridge that was used to dupe our people for 22 years will soon be completed,” he said.

Igbokwe said the inauguration of the executives was to further strengthen Ndigbo in APC Lagos to take the party to greater heights both in the state and at the national level.

He added that the group had the mandate to mobilise Ndigbo for the APC to ensure the party’s continued foothold in Lagos and the nation.

Igbokwe charged the new executives to discharge their duties without let or hinderance and ensure the growth of the party “from strength to strength”.

He dismissed reports in some quarters that there was division in Ndigbo APC in Lagos State.

The governor’s aide said that whoever was parading himself as apex leader of Ndigbo in Lagos APC outside of the group was an imposter as the group was not factionalized.

Igbokwe said he was the face of Ndigbo in Lagos APC as he had done a lot for the party and that he was recognised as leader by all Igbo political stakeholders in APC.

He called for support for Gov. Sanwoolu, saying the governor was doing his best to take the state to greater heights.

Speaking on behalf of the newly inaugurated executives, the Coordinator, Chief Uche Dimgba,  thanked all members of the group, particularly Igbokwe, for the confidence reposed in them.

He also thanked the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, for giving all members of the party a sense of belonging.

Dimgba promised that he and other executive members of the Ndigbo in Lagos APC would do their best to move the party forward.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports the 15-member executive include Chief Chris Ekwulo(Deputy Coordinator);Princess Oby Onu(Women Leader);Chief Uche Babatata(Organising Secretary);and Mr Leo Obasi(Assistant Youth Leader).


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs dies

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South Sudan’s minister of East African Affairs in the current unity government, John Luk Jok has died, a government spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday.

Michael Makuei Lueth, minister of information and broadcasting, described the deceased as a liberator and scholar who helped write the country’s Constitution in 2011.

“It was this Tuesday morning when I received a telephone call and informed that brother John Luk Jok has passed on. So it is true that it has happened,” Makuei told Xinhua in Juba.

He said there was no official confirmation of the cause of the death.

“We have lost a great man who contributed a lot in a liberation struggle and after liberation. He had ever been a servant of people, and with his death, we have lost a great man,” said Makuei.

(XINHUA)

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Latvia confirms commitment to EU Eastern Partnership

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Latvia will continue to assist the European Union’s (EU) Eastern Partnership countries (the EU members plus Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine) in their efforts to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and supports the EU‘s joint efforts to provide a global response to the related challenges, the Baltic country’s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday in a report to the government.

The ministry drafted the report in preparation for a videoconference of EU ministers in charge of development cooperation, scheduled for June 8.

Latvia also calls for continued support to the partner countries’ ongoing reforms and sustainable development, taking into account the persisting challenges like security and stability risks, as well as the effects of climate change.

(XINHUA)

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Turkey vows to continue drilling activities in Eastern Mediterranean

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Turkey on Tuesday said it will continue the planned drillings in the Eastern Mediterranean upon a deal made with Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

“The new licensed areas that the Turkish Petroleum applied for, regarding the exploration and drilling activities, lie within the Turkish continental shelf as declared to the UN. Turkey will be resolutely continuing to exercise its sovereign rights over the area that we repeatedly announced,” Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said in a written statement.

On Monday, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that Turkish plans on drilling for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean were part of its attempts “to usurp the sovereign rights of

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was prepared to face this new “provocation if Turkey finally puts it into effect,” the minister stated.

Turkish energy minister Fatih Donmez on Friday said Turkey would start oil exploration in the eastern Mediterranean in three or four months under a deal it signed with Libya.

In 2019, Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for maritime delimitation with Libya’s GNA.

(XINHUA)

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At least 5 soldiers killed in ambush in Cameroon’s restive Anglophone region

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At least five Cameroonian soldiers were killed on Monday in an ambush by suspected armed separatist fighters in the country’s restive Anglophone region of Southwest, according to defense sources.

The incident occurred in Otu, a locality bordering Cameroon and Nigeria. A senior military Commander told Xinhua that bodies of up to five soldiers were recovered when suspected armed separatists laid an ambush on them after officials organised a football match “to ascertain the return to normalcy” in the locality that has been controlled by the separatists since 2018.

Several other soldiers were wounded in the ambush, said the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The victims are currently receiving treatment at a military facility.

The incident was not direct combat with the separatists, according to several security sources.

Ayaba Cho, Separatist leader based abroad, immediately claimed responsibility for the attack on social media and praised the militants for their “bravery”.

Government forces and armed separatists have been clashing since 2017 in Cameroon’s two English-speaking regions of Northwest and Southwest where separatists want to establish an independent nation.

(XINHUA)

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3 PKK members killed in southeastern Turkey

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Turkish security forces killed three members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in their anti-terror operation in the southeast of the country, the interior ministry said Monday.

The three PKK members were “neutralized” in an air-backed operation in the rural areas of the southeastern province of Hakkari, the ministry said in a written statement.

Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralized” in statements to imply that the terrorists in question surrendered, were killed or were captured.

Meanwhile, at least nine were arrested on Monday for their alleged links to the PKK and Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Party in the southern province of Mardin, semi-official Anadolu Agency reported quoting an anonymous security source.

Turkey has long been conducting operations against the PKK in southeastern Turkey and in northern Iraq where the group has hideouts.

These operations are intensified in the past few months as PKK members often use northern Iraq to launch cross-border attacks in Turkey.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the EU, has been rebelling against the Turkish government for more than 30 years, which has claimed the lives of more than 40,000 people.

(XINHUA)

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Palestine accuses Israel of paralyzing industrial zone for Palestinians in East Jerusalem

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Palestine on Monday accused Israel of attempting to take over the only industrial zone for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, after Israeli authorities ordered the demolition and eviction of nearly 200 private establishments in the area.

The Israeli authorities’ demolition orders in Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem will paralyze the only area where Palestinians own car repair workshops and commercial enterprises, said the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a statement.

“At the same time, Israeli authorities upscale the construction of industrial zones for settlers, as part of its colonial scheme to Judaize the city,” said the statement.

Palestinians want the eastern part of Jerusalem, which was occupied by Israel in 1967, as the capital of their future state, while Israel insists that the city is its undivided capital.

(XINHUA)

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At least 10 killed in Somalia roadside blast

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Death toll from the roadside blast in Somalia has risen to 10 while six others were injured after a roadside blast struck a commuter minibus outside Somalia’s capital Mogadishu on Sunday, an official said.

Ismael Mukhtar Omar, a government spokesman confirmed the death toll, saying the landmine exploded on the road between Mogadishu-Afgoye on Sunday morning.

“At least 10 people were killed and six others injured when a landmine exploded on a car on the road between Mogadishu and Afgoye,” Ismael said in a statement.

The commuter bus which was carrying around 20 passengers was heading to Mogadishu from Lower Shabelle region when the incident happened.

Photos from the scene show the commuter vehicle extensively damaged. The vehicle ran into a landmine suspected to have been planted on the road.

No one has claimed responsibility for the latest attack but militant group, al-Shabab often stages such attacks in a bid to topple the internationally-backed government.

(XINHUA)

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Anti-COVID-19 restrictions among East Africa countries boon for Kenyan farmers

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Restriction of movement between east African countries to curb spread of COVID-19 has come as a boon for Kenyan farmers, whose produce is currently selling at a better price as food demand surges.

The restrictions have seen a decline in food imports, allowing Kenyan farmers’ produce to dominate the market.

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have each limited movement of goods and people into and out of their borders.

While travel of people between the countries has been banned, movement of goods and cargo is allowed.

However, the transporters have to test for COVID-19 and get certificates to show they don’t have the disease.

The testing has occasioned delays, curtailing free movement of goods, thus creating a boon to Kenyan food producers.

Kenya imports a bulk of food produce from its neighbors Uganda and Tanzania. From Uganda, the country imports cereals, legumes, sugar and eggs mainly.

And from Tanzania comes fruits like oranges, lemons, pineapples and mangoes, onions, potatoes and tomatoes.

“It is a good time to be a farmer in Kenya because prices of commodities are now high due to COVID-19 restrictions. I produce eggs, at least 100 crates a day and for the first time, buyers are scrambling for them,” said Cornelius Mutuku, a farmer in Kitengela on the south of Nairobi.

Farmers growing onions and tomatoes are also enjoying the boom as imports from Tanzania remain restricted.

At Wakulima food market in the capital Nairobi, where most produce from Tanzania is usually offloaded for supply to other parts of the city, very few trucks from the country now deliver food at the market.

From about 40 trucks in a day to now less than 10 arrive daily due to the restricted movement, a trader said.

Beatrice Macharia, an agronomist with Growth Point, an agro-consultancy, observed that Kenyan farmers have been able to sustain the market amid limited imports due to good rains in the March to May season.

“The rains offered a boost in the production but in the long-term we still need the imports,” she said, adding good prices have cushioned farmer from high cost of inputs.

Kenya’s agriculture secretary Peter Munya on May 20 asked local farmers to use the window brought about constrained supply chains to reap from their ventures by supplying the market.

Kenya food imports topped 1 billion dollars in 2019, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, with the high imports blamed on erratic weather during the period.

(XINHUA)

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