Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has appointed economic expert Fatih Karahan as the new head of the Turkish Central Bank, replacing Hafize Gaye Erkan, who requested to be relieved of his duties. The appointment was published in the official gazette.Karahan, 42, graduated from the mathematics and industrial engineering department at Turkiye's Bogazici University and has a doctoral degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.Karahan began his professional career as an economic expert at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2012. He also served as the head of labor market studies and product policy advisor at the same institution until 2022. (QNA)
A 5.1 magnitude earthquake struck the Aegean Sea off the coast of western Turkiye on Saturday.The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced that the epicenter of the earthquake was off the coast of the Mandaris district in the Izmir province, occurring in the Gulf of Kusadasi at a depth of 8.51 kilometers.On Feb. 6, 2023, southern Turkiye and northern Syria were struck by earthquakes of magnitudes 7.7 and 7.6, followed by thousands of violent aftershocks. The disaster, centered in the province of Kahramanmaras, claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people and caused extensive damage in 11 Turkish provinces. (QNA)
The final round of parliamentary elections began in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan on Tuesday.Voting started at 8:00 in the morning and will continue until 5:00 in the evening, said the Election Commission of Bhutan.More than 6,000 officials, including security personnel, were deployed to 812 polling stations across the country.Bhutan Tendrel Party (BTP) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are competing in the elections in all electoral districts, as one of the two parties must win at least 24 electoral districts to form the government.The results announced by the Election Commission in Bhutan showed that the preliminary round that took place last November restricted the race to the two parties, as PDP obtained 42.53% of the total votes, while BTP obtained 19.58%.Bhutan, a landlocked country with a population of about 800,000, held elections for the first time in 2008, after political reforms created a bicameral parliament. (QNA)
An earthquake measuring 5.6 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Tonga, in the South Pacific Ocean, on Thursday.The earthquake occurred 112 km west of Houma, at a depth of 187.9 kilometers, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.There have been no reports of human loss or material damage, and no tsunami warnings have been issued.Tonga is an archipelago of 176 scattered islands in the South Pacific Ocean, of which only 52 are inhabited, located in northwest New Zealand and Australia. (QNA)
An earthquake measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale struck Chiriqui Province in Panama on Sunday.The US Geological Survey reported that the quake occurred 197 kilometers south of the town of Burica, located in the province, at a depth of 10 kilometers.No tsunami warnings were issued as a result of the earthquake, and there were no reports of human or material losses. (QNA)
A 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck the Gulf of Gemlik in the Sea of Marmara, Turkiye on Monday. The Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) reported that the earthquake occurred at a depth of approximately 9 kilometers.Southern Turkiye and northern Syria experienced a devastating 7.7 magnitude earthquake on Feb. 6, followed by another earthquake of 7.6 magnitude and thousands of violent aftershocks. These earthquakes resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of lives and caused significant damage to buildings and properties in both countries. (QNA)
An earthquake measuring 5.7 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Tonga on Tuesday.The US Geological Survey said that the earthquake occurred 62 kilometers from the village of Hihifo, at a depth of 25 kilometers.So far, there have been no reports of human loss or material damage as a result of the earthquake.Tonga is an archipelago of 176 scattered islands in the South Pacific Ocean, of which only 52 are inhabited. (QNA)
A United Nations mission arrived in Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday, Azerbaijan said, after almost the entire ethnic-Armenian population fled since Baku recaptured the breakaway enclave.An Azerbaijani presidency spokesman told AFP that a "UN mission arrived in Karabakh on Sunday morning" - mainly to assess humanitarian needs.It marks the first time in about 30 years that the international body has gained access to the region.Armenian separatists, who had controlled the region for three decades, agreed to disarm, dissolve their government and reintegrate with Baku following a one-day Azerbaijani offensive last week.The end of Karabakh's separatist bid dealt a heavy blow to a centuries-old dream by Armenians of reuniting what they say are their ancestral lands, divided among regional powers since the Middle Ages.Nearly all of Karabakh's estimated 120,000 residents fled the territory over the following days, sparking a refugee crisis.Armenia, a country of 2.8 million, faces a major challenge housing the sudden influx of refugees.Authorities said 35,000 were now in temporary accommodation.The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on Friday announced an emergency appeal for 20 million Swiss Francs ($22 million) to help those fleeing.Azerbaijan is now holding "re-integration" talks with separatist leaders while at the same time detained some senior figures from its former government and military command.
The president-elect of the Maldives, Mohamed Muizzu, said he wanted to unite the Indian Ocean archipelago after divisive polls that saw the pro-Beijing leader vow to rebalance relations with New Delhi."No matter their political affiliation, they are all Maldivian citizens in front of me," Muizzu told supporters after his win late Saturday."They are entitled to the same rights. They are entitled to equality in everything."There was no immediate reaction from China to his win, but India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Muizzu on Sunday.New Delhi is "committed to strengthening the time-tested India-Maldives bilateral relationship", Modi said in a post on the social media platform X.The Maldives, a chain of atolls scattered 800 kilometres across the equator better known for its upmarket beach resorts, sits in a strategically vital position astride one of the world's busiest east-west shipping lanes.Muizzu, 45, won 54 percent of the vote in the run-off contest, prompting incumbent Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to concede defeat shortly before midnight on Saturday."He has started work on drawing up his team", a source close to Muizzu said Sunday. "He wants a smooth, peaceful transition".Solih, 61, who will serve as caretaker president until his successor is inaugurated on November 17, declared the usual working day of Sunday a holiday.Streets were quiet across the island capital Male on Sunday morning.Muizzu told a meeting with Chinese Communist Party officials last year that his party's return to office would "script a further chapter of strong ties between our two countries".The result upends Solih's efforts to revert the country's diplomatic posture back towards New Delhi since taking office five years ago.There was no immediate reaction from Solih to Muizzu's request to free his mentor and former president Abdulla Yameen from prison and confine him to house arrest in the capital.Muizzu was a proxy candidate of Yameen, who is serving an 11-year sentence for corruption when he was in power between 2013 and 2018.
More than 100,000 refugees have arrived in Armenia since Azerbaijan's military operation to retake control of Nagorno-Karabakh, the United nations said, while thousands more endured long hours of delay in a huge traffic jam at the border."Many are hungry, exhausted and need immediate assistance," Filippo Grandi, head of the UN refugee agency UNHCR, said on social media late on Friday. "International help is very urgently required."Italy said Armenia had asked the European Union for temporary shelters and medical supplies to help it deal with the refugees.Siranush Sargsyan, a freelance journalist who has been reporting on the flight of the ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, told Reuters thousands of people, their belongings crammed into cars, trucks and tractors, were stuck on the mountain highway leading to Armenia.Many required urgent medical attention, Sargsyan said. "As you can see, we are still stuck on the road.""This exodus is already unbearable physically because we have already spent 16 hours on this road... It seems in the next 24 hours we still won't be able to reach the border."Following a lightning Azerbaijani offensive that returned the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijani control, many of Karabakh's 120,000 Armenians began what became a mass exodus towards Armenia.Azerbaijan said that one of its servicemen was killed by sniper fire from Armenian forces in the border district of Kalbajar, but the alleged incident was denied by Armenia.
Turkish Trade Minister Omer Bolat discussed with visiting Japanese counterpart Yasutoshi Nishimura the bilateral relations in trade, investment and economy.The two sides also discussed cooperation in fields of financing and technology.At the end of the talks, the two countries signed a joint statement to boost trade and mutual investment.Bolat noted that trade exchange between the two countries exceeded $5 billion, and is expected to reach $6 billion by the end of 2023.On his part, Nishimura said that the two sides agreed to accelerate talks on the economic partnership agreement for the mutual development of trade and investment, adding that the two sides agreed to hold the Trade and Investment Summit (TRINS) in Tokyo as soon as possible next year. (QNA)
Two Hong Kong men were arrested on Tuesday for colluding with "a foreign country or with external elements" to endanger national security, police said, part of Beijing's long-running crackdown on what remains of the city's pro-democracy movement.China in 2020 enacted a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong after the finance hub saw months of huge and sometimes violent protests calling for greater democratic rights.Authorities have arrested more than 260 people under the law, with around 80 of them convicted or awaiting sentencing.Police said the two men arrested Tuesday, aged 33 and 59, were suspected of "conspiracy to collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security".They were also accused of "conspiracy to incite others to commit riot", police added.The two men, who authorities did not name, were linked to the "612 Humanitarian Relief Fund", a now-defunct group that helped pay legal and medical costs for people arrested during the 2019 protests.The duo were suspected of colluding with the fund to "receive donations from various overseas organisations to support people who have fled overseas or organisations which called for sanctions against Hong Kong", police said.Identical allegations were made on August 10 when Hong Kong police arrested 10 other people with ties to the fund.The fund disbanded in October 2021 after national security police demanded it hand over details that included information about its donors and beneficiaries.Authorities have accused the group of fomenting dissent among jailed protesters and scrutinised its ties with Hong Kong activists who have fled overseas.Last month, police put out bounties of HK$1 million ($128,000) each on eight pro-democracy activists living abroad, accusing them of violating the security law.Some of the targeted activists have decried the bounties as "harassment" and the move was condemned by the United States, Britain and Australia.
At least 13 people, including seven children, were killed Friday in a crowd stampede at a stadium in the Madagascar capital of Antananarivo, according to the Red Cross and a local member of parliament."So far 13 people have been killed and 107 injured," said opposition MP Hanitra Razafimanantsoa on a local radio station.The Red Cross, who were on the scene, added: "We don't yet have the final list. Seven minors died."The prime minister of the Indian Ocean nation Christian Ntsay had initially put the toll at "12 dead and some 80 injured".The stampede occurred at the entrance to the Barea stadium where a crowd of around 50,000 spectators had arrived to attend the opening ceremony of the Indian Ocean Island Games.The cause of the tragedy was not immediately known but the Red Cross said the toll could climb."There were a lot of people at the entrance, which triggered a stampede," Antsa Mirado, a communications manager with the Red Cross, told AFP.Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina, who was present at the opening ceremony, called for a minute's silence."A tragic event occurred because there was pushing. There were injuries and deaths at the entrance," he said in a televised speech.TV images broadcast images of dazed and shocked people trying to locate their shoes piled amongst objects lost in the deadly crush.Other images from inside the stadium, shared on social media, showed the stands packed with spectators.The Indian Ocean Island Games are a multi-disciplinary competition being held in Madagascar until September 3.They have been staged every four years in different islands in the south-west Indian Ocean for around 40 years. The previous edition took place in Mauritius.
Iranian security forces have arrested eight foreign suspects after detaining a gunman in the killing of one person at a Shiite Muslim shrine, state media reported on Monday.The attack came less than a year after a mass shooting at the same holy site, the Shah Cheragh mausoleum in Shiraz, capital of Fars province in Iran's south."Eight people suspected of links with the terrorist attack... have been arrested," according to the judiciary's Mizan Online website, quoting Fars province chief justice Kazem Mousavi."All the people arrested are foreigners," Mousavi said, without elaborating.The eight are in addition to the main suspect arrested on Sunday night after the attack. Mizan identified him as Rahmatollah Nowruzof from Tajikistan.Sunday's shooting wounded eight people, the official IRNA news agency reported.Windows were left shattered by bullets, and blood stained the ground in a courtyard of the arched and colonnaded complex after the shooting.There was no immediate claim of responsibility but Fars provincial governor Mohammad Hadi Imanieh blamed the extremist Islamic State group.He told state TV that the assailant sought "to take revenge for the execution of two terrorists" convicted of carrying out the similar attack last year.On Monday, Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi told state TV during a visit to the site that the "terrorist" was collaborating with a "network operating" outside Iran.On October 26, a mass shooting at the shrine left 13 people dead and 30 wounded. IS later claimed the attack.Iran hanged two men in public on July 8 over the killings after their conviction for "corruption on earth, armed rebellion and acting against national security," Mizan said at the time.Three other defendants in the case were sentenced to prison for five, 15 and 25 years for being members of IS, according to Moussavi.In November, Tehran said 26 "takfiri terrorists" from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan had been arrested in connection with the mass shooting.In Shiite-dominated Iran, the term takfiri generally refers to jihadists or proponents of radical Sunni Islam.The Shah Cheragh mausoleum is home to the tomb of Ahmad, brother of Imam Reza -- the eighth Shiite imam -- and is considered the holiest site in southern Iran.Last year's shooting occurred as nationwide protests gripped Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, 22, arrested for an alleged breach of strict dress rules for women.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday said that the United States believes Russia's defence minister is in North Korea to secure supplies of weapons to aid the stalled invasion of Ukraine.Following Sergei Shoigu's arrival on a rare trip to Pyongyang, Blinken said that Russia is scrambling to buy arms from allies across the world."I strongly doubt he's there on holiday," Blinken told reporters in Australia."We're seeing Russia desperately looking for support, for weapons, wherever it can find them to continue to prosecute its aggression against Ukraine," he said."We see that in North Korea, we see that as well with Iran, which has provided many drones to Russia that it's using to destroy civilian infrastructure and killed civilians in Ukraine."While in North Korea, Shoigu met the country's leader Kim Jong Un, in what Pyongyang's state media described as "a friendly talk."Russia, a historic ally of North Korea, is one of a handful of nations with which Pyongyang maintains friendly relations.
Suy Se and Rose Troup Buchanan Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's heir apparent insisted Monday on the legitimacy of elections his party won against no meaningful opposition, defying international criticism that the polls were neither free nor fair.Hun Sen has presided over Cambodia for nearly 40 years -- stifling all real opposition, freedom of speech and democratic reform -- but has indicated recently that he will soon hand power to his eldest son Hun Manet.The United States on Monday condemned the polls, in which the ruling Cambodian People's Party (CPP) is predicted to win all but five of 125 parliamentary seats in the lower house.But Hun Manet posted a triumphant message across multiple social media platforms hailing his party's victory."The Cambodian people have clearly expressed their wills through votes," he wrote."An overwhelming number have expressed support for the Cambodian People's Party."He thanked Cambodians "for choosing to vote, and especially for all the love and confidence in the CPP".Official results will not be available for weeks, although the CPP claimed late Sunday to have won a "landslide" victory.The small government-aligned royalist FUNCINPEC party, headed by Prince Norodom Chakravuth, is expected to take five seats -- giving the new parliament at least a patina of diversity after the CPP won every seat in the last election.The disqualification of the only viable opposition force, the Candlelight Party, on a technicality, meant there was no realistic outcome other than a big CPP win.The United States said the elections were "neither free nor fair", pointing to "a pattern of threats and harassment against the political opposition, media, and civil society"."These actions denied the Cambodian people a voice and a choice in determining the future of their country," US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement on Monday.He said Washington was preparing to impose visa restrictions on some individuals for undermining democracy, and halting some aid programmes.- Opposition silenced –In the months running up to the national polls, freedom of speech was heavily stifled, with one of the few remaining independent news outlets, Voice of Democracy, shut down in February.And Hun Sen ordered election laws changed, banning anyone who fails to vote in the poll from ever running for office -- a move that will affect exiled rivals.Authorities are investigating 27 people for inciting voters to spoil their ballots on polling day, interior ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak told AFP.With no meaningful opposition, intentionally invalidating their ballot papers would have been one way for voters to show dissatisfaction with Hun Sen's rule.In the run-up to polling day, election authorities banned exiled opposition figurehead Sam Rainsy -- Hun Sen's long-time arch-enemy -- from running for office for 25 years for urging people to void their ballots.While during the counting AFP reporters witnessed a number of spoiled ballots -- later downplayed by the CPP -- there was little chance of protests in a country entirely under Hun Sen's thumb.On Monday, Phnom Penh was calm, with few people on the streets."The situation is normal, calm and good," 42-year-old news stand vendor Khon Sokna told AFP.Behind her a number of English and Khmer-language newspapers flapped from a string, celebrating Hun Sen's victory at the polls."There is no problem at all," she said.In a country that was torn apart by genocide and war within living memory, many were grateful for the continuity of Hun Sen, and his intention of passing on power to his son.Shop owner Lon Mon, 52, said it would be sad when the prime minister retired.
A powerful earthquake measuring 7.1 magnitude on the Richter scale struck the Kermadec Islands region in New Zealand on Thursday.According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the quake was estimated at a depth of 10 km.A tsunami warning was issued after the quake, the US Tsunami Warning System said.No causalities or material damage have been reported.The Kermadec Islands are subjected to strong earthquakes frequently, the most recent of which was an earthquake of a 6.9 magnitude on March 4.
An earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale struck Papua New Guinea.The US Geological Survey reported that the quake occurred 61 kilometres near the city of Panguna, at a depth of 60 kilometres.So far, there have been no reports of human or material losses due to the earthquake.Papua New Guinea is located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur. This region includes 90 percent of the active volcanoes in the world.In February 2018, it witnessed a devastating earthquake that killed at least 100 people and caused landslides that buried dozens of villages.
Two workers for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have been kidnapped in Mali, the organisation's Mali branch said on Twitter."We confirm the kidnapping of two of our colleagues this morning between Gao and Kidal," it said Saturday, adding that the agency had been present in Mali for 32 years, and was "a neutral, independent and impartial organisation.""We ask not to speculate on this incident so as not to hinder its resolution," it added.The kidnapping had taken place on the road between Gao and Kidal.Mali has been in the grip of a security crisis since 2012.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approves about USD 114.8 million in emergency funding support for South Sudan.In a statement, IMF said that the emergency financing under the Food Shock Window will help South Sudan to address food insecurity while maintaining social and growth-enhancing spending, explaining that four years of severe floods, in addition to the war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic, exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation, as about 8.3 million people, or two-thirds of the population, face acute food insecurity.IMF's statement pointed out that the fund's executive board also discussed a 9-month staff-monitored programme that was approved in February by its management with the aim of helping the authorities establish a track record toward an IMF-supported upper credit tranche (UCT) programme.In 2011, South Sudan also declared its independence from Sudan, but two years later it descended into a civil war that claimed 400,000 lives. Despite a 2018 peace agreement between the two main rivals, warfare has persisted, killing many civilians and forcing many more to flee their homes.