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Taiwan 7.5 magnitude earthquake sparks tsunami warning in Japan

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Building have collapsed in Taiwan after an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.5 struck on Wednesday morning, sparking a tsunami advisory in southern Japan.

Television footage showed collapsing buildings in the city of Hualien, on Taiwan’s eastern coast, with reports of people trapped inside amid continuing aftershocks.

A five-storey building in Hualien appeared heavily damaged, collapsing its first floor and leaving the rest leaning at a 45-degree angle. In the capital, Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings and within some newer office complexes.

The earthquake was Taiwan’s strongest since 1999, when a 7.7-magnitude quake 93 miles (150 km) south of Taipei killed 2,400 and injured 10,000.

The head of Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring bureau, Wu Chien-fu, said effects were detected as far away as Kinmen, a Taiwanese-controlled island off the coast of China. Multiple aftershocks were felt in Taipei in the hour after the initial quake.

Japanese media said the magnitude-7.5 quake could trigger waves as high as three metres in some areas of Okinawa prefecture, located roughly 1,000 miles south of Tokyo. Broadcaster NHK said an initial tsunami of 30cm had washed ashore on Yonaguni, a remote island just 110km from Taiwan, but warned that higher waves could follow.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake had a magnitude of 7.4, with its epicentre 18km (11 miles) south of Taiwan’s Hualien city at a depth of 34.8km. Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2.

The Philippines’ seismology agency on Wednesday issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas fronting the Pacific Ocean, saying they were expected to experience “high tsunami waves”. People in the coastal areas in several provinces were advised to immediately evacuate to higher grounds or move further inland.

“Owners of boats in harbours, estuaries or shallow coastal water of the above-mentioned provinces should secure their boats and move away from the waterfront,” it said in a statement. “Boats already at sea during this period should stay offshore in deep waters until further advised.”

Announcers on Japan’s public broadcaster NHK urged people not to go near the coast and to evacuate to higher areas, while warnings in English and Japanese appeared on the screen.

A 7.6-magnitude jolt hit Taiwan in September 1999, killing around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.

It has only been four months since a magnitude-7.6 quake and tsunami killed 244 people and caused widespread damage on the Noto peninsula in Ishikawa prefecture on the Japan Sea coast.

Japan’s biggest earthquake on record was a massive 9.0-magnitude undersea jolt in March 2011 off Japan’s northeast coast, which triggered a tsunami that left around 18,500 people dead or missing.

(This story, originally published by theguardian.com has not been edited by SLM staff)

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Tamil parties agree to field common Presidential candidate

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Several Tamil political parties and a group of representatives of civil organizations have reached an agreement to present a common Tamil candidate for the upcoming Presidential Election.

The agreement was signed in Jaffna today by seven parties including TELO led by MP Selvam Adaikkalanathan, PLOTE led by MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan, Tamil People’s Alliance led by MP C.V. Wigneswaran, Tamil National Party led by Attorney-At-Law N. Sri Kantha, and EPRLF led by Suresh Premachandran.

The Tamil People General Assembly, comprising of several Tamil civil organizations, also signed the agreement.

However, the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) comprising President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran and the Tamil National People’s Front comprising Attorney-At-Law Gajendra Kumar Ponnambalam did not sign the agreement today.

(News 1st)

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Club Wasantha’ murder: Tattoo studio owner makes confidential statement

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Dulan Sanjula, the owner of the tattoo studio in Athurugiriya, has made a confidential statement before the Kaduwela Magistrate over the recent shooting and killing of two individuals including Surendra Wasantha Perera alias ‘Club Wasantha’. 

Meanwhile, the seven suspects including Dulan Sanjula have been ordered to be remanded further until August 5, 2024. 

The suspect, who was arrested in connection with the incident, had requested permission to make a confidential statement to the Kaduwela Magistrate. He made this request when the seven suspects arrested in relation to the incident were produced before the court on July 10.

However, the Kaduwela Magistrate had advised the suspect in question to rethink the decision and make the request again during an upcoming court date.

Furthermore, the magistrate ordered the prison officers to provide additional security to the suspects, since there are accomplices of the criminal figure infamously known as “Loku Patee,” who is suspected to be involved in the incident, detained in the prison.

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AKD meets Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs

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National Peoples’ Power (NPP) Leader MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake, who is currently on a visit to Japan, has held discussions with the State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Tsuge Yoshifumi today (July 22).

The discussion, which took place at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, focussed on the current economic and political situation in Sri Lanka, the long-term friendship between the two countries and the next step in diplomatic and economic relations, while special attention was paid to Sri Lanka’s upcoming presidential election.

During the meeting, the Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs congratulated MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake on his visit to Japan.

The Southwest Asian Affairs Director Tsutsumi Taro, Deputy Director of the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs Iwase Kiichiro, and several members of the Japan Committee of the NPP were also present on the occasion. 

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