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6.9 magnitude earthquake rocks Papua New Guinea

Gorkha Post

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NEW BRITAIN — A powerful earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale has struck off the southern coast of Papua New Guinea’s New Britain Island, killing at least on Friday a month after a deadly quake that killed more than 100 people.

The quake struck at a depth of 10km, about 162 kilometres from the town of Rabaul on New Britain Island, about 7.25am on Friday. It has reportedly triggered a tsunami warning for surrounding coastlines but later called off.

There have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

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According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake occurred 144km East of Kimbe, Papua New Guinea. The depth of the earthquake was 35.0 km depth.

Earlier on March 26, an earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale hit PNG and on March 24, another quake of the magnitude 6.8 shook the country.

On that note, it is pertinent to mention that the country is still recovering from a magnitude 7.5 quake on 26 February.

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China conduct live fire drill along southeast coastline

Thompson Reuters

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BEIJING — China’s military has conducted live-fire drills along the southeast coastline, state television reported, but it was unclear if these were the same exercises that had been flagged as taking place in the sensitive Taiwan Strait.

The government had said the drills would happen on Wednesday off the city of Quanzhou, in between two groups of islands close to China’s coast but that Taiwan has controlled since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the Chinese civil war.

Chinese state media has said the drills were a direct response to “provocations” by Taiwan leaders related to what China fears are moves to push for the self-ruled island’s formal independence. China claims Taiwan as its sacred territory.

Late on Wednesday, Chinese state television showed footage of helicopters firing missiles during an exercise it said was happening on China’s southeast coast.

State television only showed pictures of helicopters, with no mention of ships or other military equipment such as tanks or amphibious assault vehicles.

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The exercises took place from 8 a.m. (0000GMT) until midnight, the report said, giving the same time frame for the previously announced drills in the Taiwan Strait.

The Defence Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the exercise, and whether it was the same ones previously reported to be happening in the Taiwan Strait.

Taiwan on Wednesday denounced the exercises, saying Beijing was using “cheap verbal intimidation and saber rattling” to threaten the island.

Taiwan is one of China’s most sensitive issues and a potential military flashpoint. China has ramped up military exercises around Taiwan in the past year, including flying bombers around the island.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said on Wednesday afternoon two Chinese H-6K bombers had flown around the island, passing first through the Miyako Strait to Taiwan’s northeast and then back to base via the Bashi Channel between Taiwan and the Philippines.

The latest Chinese military movements come during a time of heightened tension between Beijing and the island and follows strong warnings by Chinese President Xi Jinping against Taiwan separatism last month.

China claims Taiwan as its own and considers it a breakaway province.

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