New Delhi, India A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake hit India’s southern Nicobar Islands on Sunday, triggering panic in the islands and prompting Thailand to issue a tsunami warning for the region devastated by December’s earthquake and tsunami.
There were no immediate reports of casualties or damages. The islands are in the Indian Ocean between India and Thailand, where some 5,400 people died in the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami. By late Sunday, no tsunami was seen and Thailand withdrew its warning. Sunday’s quake also was felt in Indonesia’s Aceh province, the area hit hardest in the December tragedy.
U.S., North Korean diplomats to meet
Beijing The U.S. envoy to six-nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear program said today he would hold a rare one-on-one meeting with his North Korean counterpart before the talks.
Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said he would meet North Korea’s envoy today before the full round of talks open Tuesday after a gap of more than a year.
“We are just trying to get acquainted, review how we see things coming up and compare notes,” Hill told reporters. Referring to Tuesday’s talks, he said, “We are looking forward to working hard and trying to make some progress.”
The talks also include host China, South Korea Russia and Japan.
Hill said Sunday that he did not expect the meetings this week to be the last negotiations over demands for the North to give up its nuclear program.
Philippine president faces impeachment
Manila, Philippines Philippine opposition lawmakers filed an impeachment complaint today against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, accusing her of vote-rigging and other allegations.
The filing against Arroyo, a staunch U.S. ally, claims she “stole, cheated and lied” to obtain and hold power. Her aides have moved to block the complaint on a legal technicality after Congress convenes following Arroyo’s State of the Nation speech later today.
A summary of the complaint, seen by the Associated Press, accuses Arroyo of 10 major crimes including election fraud and corruption. Arroyo has said she is ready to face an impeachment trial to clear her name and has announced a “truth commission” also will probe the allegations against her.
Left-wing lawmakers have warned of a popular revolt – like those that ousted late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 and President Joseph Estrada in 2001 – if pro-Arroyo lawmakers kill or weaken the complaint.
Iranian judiciary report acknowledges torture
Tehran, Iran In an unprecedented report, Iran’s hard-line judiciary acknowledged widespread human rights violations in prisons, including the use of torture, state-run media reported Sunday.
The report said prison guards and officials in detention centers have ignored a legal order banning torture. It also said police have made several arrests without sufficient evidence and held suspects in undeclared detention centers. The report, which was broadcast on state-run radio and appeared on the front page of several newspapers, said a judicial investigation had discovered the human rights violations.
The report has been handed over to the head of judiciary Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi.