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7.5 magnitude earthquake triggers tsunami warning for Russia



A 7.5 magnitude earthquake struck near Russia’s far eastern Kuril Islands on Wednesday, prompting a tsunami warning for the closest shores.

The US Geological Survey said the quake struck 136 miles south-southeast of Severo on the Kuril chain north of Japan. It was 37 miles deep.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said hazardous tsunami waves were possible within 620 miles of the quake’s epicenter.

It said earthquakes of this strength in the past have caused tsunamis far from the epicentre, and the US National Tsunami Warning Centre was analysing the event to determine the level of danger.

The US National Tsunami Warning Centre also still was analyzing the event to determine the level of danger for Alaska and the US West Coast.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said the quake was a stronger 7.8 magnitude and may cause a slight change of sea levels around Japanese coasts.





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Israel set for unprecedented third election amid political gridlock



Israel is heading towards an unprecedented third election in one year after both Benjamin Netanyahu and his centrist rival failed to form a government and were unable to agree a deal for a unity coalition.

As a midnight deadline passed, there was no last-minute deal between the two sides and MPs instead voted through a bill to send Israelis to the polls for a third time in 11 months on March 2, 2020.

By a vote of 94 in favour to none opposed, lawmakers approved a motion dissolving parliament and setting the new election date.

Mr Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, the leader of the centrist Blue & White party, blamed each other for what has become the worst stalemate in Israeli political history.

Mr Gantz said the prime minister was dragging the country into new elections to try to win a Right-wing majority which would grant him immunity from the criminal corruption charges he faces. He denies wrongdoing. 

“It now seems that we will be going into a third election cycle today because of Netanyahu’s attempt to obtain immunity,” Mr Gantz said. 

Mr Netanyahu said Mr Gantz and his allies had never seriously entered into negotiations on a unity government.

“It’s time that for one day, for the citizens of Israel, we sit and have a serious discussion about forming a broad unity government,” he said. 





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Australian police find body of man in search for missing British backpacker



Australian police have found a body they believe to be that of Aslan King, a British backpacker who went missing from a campsite at the weekend.

The body has not yet been formally identified, but local authorities believe it is that of King, 25, who has been missing in the state of Victoria since Saturday.

King, an illustrator from Brighton, was last seen at a camping ground in Princetown, on the Great Ocean Road, at about 2am on Saturday. His disappearance prompted an intensive search.

King had been camping with friends near the Twelve Apostles, about three hours southwest of Melbourne, when he suffering a suspected seizure and hit his head, before suddenly running into bushland.

Fearing King – who had been on holiday in Australia – had become disorientated and lost in the bush, police deployed a helicopter, horses, motorcycle riders, specialist rescue teams and volunteers to find him.

“The body was located about 10:15 am this morning in a creek just over a kilometre from the camping ground where Aslan was last seen,” police said.





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Chinese spy says he tried to infiltrate Hong Kong universities



In another alarming claim for the island of Taiwan, Mr Wang said his Chinese handlers issued him with a fake South Korean passport to travel there to manage a “cyber army” and to support China’s campaign to infiltrate its political system and meddle in its municipal and presidential elections.

China wants to annex Taiwan, a democracy of 23 million which operates like any other country with its own government, military and currency.

Taipei has consistently accused Beijing of trying to sway its January presidential election – by poaching from its small group of remaining formal diplomatic allies and by switching off lucrative income from Chinese tourists.

Mr Wang went further, alleging that his intelligence operation was in contact with media executives as part of a systematic influence campaign to topple candidates Beijing considered hostile, including Tsai Ing-wen, the current president.

A spokeswoman for Ms Tsai’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party said that the information was a reminder of China’s interference. .

“We solemnly appeal to the Taiwanese public to face up to the fact that whether it is the Chinese internet army or the Chinese government, it is using the democratic system of Taiwan to infringe upon our democracy,” the spokeswoman, Lee Yen-jong, said.





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