Wednesday 19 June 2019

Majority of Chinese quake orphans have been reunited with relatives

THE majority of young children orphaned in China's Sichuan province by May's devastating earthquake, have found homes with relatives, leaving only 88 to be put up for adoption, state media said on Saturday.

Tens of thousands of Chinese families offered to take in the orphans after the disaster, which killed at least 70,000 people. Provincial officials at one point estimated that as many as 2,000 children had been orphaned.

Only Chinese couples with no children of their own, who are both over the age of 30, are eligible to adopt.

Israel lets Gaza mercy boats dock

ISRAEL yesterday allowed a pro-Palestinian activist group to sail two boats carrying humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip, after earlier hinting it would block the shipment from reaching the coastal territory.

The boats, with 46 activists on board -- including Lauren Booth, half-sister of Middle East envoy Tony Blair's wife, Cherie -- reached Gaza at 4pm Irish time, defying Israel's year-long blockade of the territory.

Since June 2007, Israel has allowed little more than basic humanitarian supplies into Gaza -- causing widespread shortages of fuel, electricity and basic goods.

Flood in Chad leaves 10,000 homeless

FLOODS in southern Chad have forced 10,000 people from their homes and killed three, the UN said on Saturday, adding to the toll from seasonal rains spreading destruction and disease across Africa's Sahel region.

The United Nations said last week floods had uprooted an estimated 200,000 people across West Africa.

Kurdish group claims Turkey bombs

A KURDISH group yesterday claimed responsibility for a suicide bomb attack and a car bombing this week that wounded 29 people in Turkey.

The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, believed to be linked to PKK rebels, said its militants carried out the attacks.

A suicide bombing in the southern city of Mersin Tuesday and a car bomb attack in the Aegean port city of Izmir on Thursday wounded 29 people. They were mostly policemen who tried to stop the suicide bomber in Mersin. The others injured were on a bus in Izmir.

Suu Kyi rejects Burma UN envoy meet

THE UN special envoy to Burma/Myanmar failed to meet detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi before he left Myanmar on Saturday, an apparent setback in his bid to promote democratic reforms in the country.

In a meeting with diplomats yesterday, the envoy said that it was Suu Kyi and not Myanmar's military-controlled junta who refused to hold the meeting.

The news adds to speculation that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate is dissatisfied with the UN's unsuccessful efforts to bring about change in the military-ruled nation.

Western journalists seized in Somalia

GUNMEN kidnapped two Western journalists on Saturday near the Somalian capital of Mogadishu.

The pair, an Australian man and Canadian woman, were seized during a visit to camps for displaced civilians at Elasha, south of the city.

Gun-point abductions are common in the lawless Horn of Africa nation, where Islamist insurgents have been fighting the interim government and its Ethiopian military allies since the start of last year.

Coalition air strike 'killed 76 civilians'

AFGHAN President Hamid Karzai yesterday condemned a US-led coalition air strike that killed 76 civilians, most of them women and children. The US military said only armed Taliban militants were killed in Friday's attack.

According to figures from the United Nations, nearly 700 Afghani civilians were killed in the first six months of this year, 255 of them by Afghan government or international troops, the rest by Taliban militants.

Ten killed in US airplane crash

A TWIN-ENGINED plane crashed and burned near an airport close to Arches National Park in the US state of Utah, killing the pilot and nine passengers connected with a group of dermatology clinics.

Suicide bomber kills five in Iraq

A SUICIDE bomber killed five people and wounded eight more in Iraq's northern city of Kirkuk yesterday.

Control over the oil-rich city, which is home to a mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turks, has stoked ethnic tensions as Iraq prepares for provincial elections.

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