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Last updateMon, 18 Dec 2017 10am

World News

Earthquake hits Indonesia’s Java island


A strong earthquake shook the Indonesian capital yesterday on the country’s most populous island of Java, killing an unknown number of people, amid reports of collapsed buildings. Authorities issued a tsunami warning for parts of Java’s coastline after the quake struck just before midnight. Strong tremors were felt for about 20 seconds in the capital city and in areas in western and central Java. The US Geological Survey said the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter Scale. Indonesia sits on the “Pacific Ring of Fire” and has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

French school bus cut in two, in rail crash

At least four children were killed and 19 people injured, when a train crashed into a school bus at a level crossing in southern France. The bus, which was carrying around 20 students from a local secondary school, was struck by the train in Millas, close to the Spanish border. The bus was split in two by the force of the crash. Around 70 emergency workers and four helicopters were deployed as part of the rescue effort. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who flew to Millas by helicopter, said the process of identifying the victims was "extremely difficult".

UK PM May defeated over Brexit vote

The UK government has been narrowly defeated in a key vote on its Brexit bill after a rebellion by 11 Tory MPs. In a blow to Prime Minister Theresa May, MPs voted to give Parliament a legal guarantee of a vote on the final Brexit deal struck with Brussels. The government had argued this would jeopardize its chances of delivering a smooth departure from the EU. Despite a last-minute attempt to offer concessions to rebels, an amendment to the bill was backed by 309 to 305. Ministers said the "minor setback" would not prevent the UK leaving the EU in 2019.

Turkey President urges World leaders to recognize Jerusalem as Palestinian capital.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged leaders of Muslim nations to recognise Jerusalem as the "occupied capital of the Palestinian state". Addressing a summit of the Organization for Islamic Co-operation, he said the US decision to recognise the city as Israel's capital was "null and void".

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US ready for North Korea talks without preconditions

The US is ready to open nuclear disarmament talks with North Korea, without preconditions, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said yesterday. His statement appeared to shift the US position away from previous demands that North Korea must first disarm. North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons technology has led to heavy US-led sanctions against the regime.

Ice Warning in the UK as commuters face delays

Commuters are facing difficult journeys in icy conditions across parts of the UK, following another night of sub-zero temperatures. The British Met Office has extended yellow warnings for snow and ice and has warned that driving could be "hazardous". Temperatures as low as
(-13) Celsius were recorded last night in Shawbury and Shropshire and was recorded as the coldest night of the year so far. The deep freeze also left thousands without power. There were 220 homes without supply in the West Midlands early today. Following a day of train delays, the British National Railways has notified travellers to check with train operators before heading out. It recommends that customers either cancel or change their travel plans.

A ‘Santa Clause race’ for charity in Spain

More than 7,000 people dressed as Santa Claus ran through the capital of Spain yesterday to raise funds for cancer treatment and research. Participants in the annual event raced five kilometers in central Madrid as light snow fell across the city. Some ran with their babies in carriages dressed in Santa Claus costumes. Some ran with their dogs in Santa outfits. Each runner donated one euro to a cancer research foundation. One runner was quoted saying, it is a very good way to start the Christmas season.

The UK's Brexit negotiator David Davis says the EU deal is not binding.

The UK's Brexit negotiator David Davis has described the deal struck by Theresa May to move to the next phase of talks as a "statement of intent". He said it was not "legally enforceable" and if the UK failed to get a trade deal with the EU then it would not pay its divorce bill.

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Farthest monster black hole found

Astronomers have discovered the most distant "super-massive" black hole known to Science. The matter-munching sinkhole is a whopping 13 billion light-years away. It is about 800 million times the mass of our Sun and has managed to grow to a surprisingly large size after the origin of the Universe. The newly discovered black hole is busily devouring material at the centre of a galaxy, marking it out as a so-called “quasar”. Quasars are among the brightest and most distant known celestial objects and are crucial to understanding the early Universe. This quasar is interesting because it comes from a time when the Universe was just 5 percent of its current age. At that time, the cosmos was beginning to emerge from a period known as the "dark ages", which was just before the first stars appeared.

California fire burns Bel-Air mansions as spread continues

Residents of Los Angeles' wealthy Bel-Air neighbourhood have found their homes under threat after another wildfire erupted in California. The so-called Skir-ball Fire destroyed several homes in the exclusive area, quickly spreading over 150 acres.

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