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In brief: Earthquake kills dozens in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – A powerful earthquake rocked a remote part of western Pakistan on Tuesday, killing at least 182 people, injuring dozens and destroying rudimentary houses in the sparsely populated area, according to officials and local media.

The United States Geological Survey issued a “red” alert, which means that fatalities could exceed 1,000 and damages cost more than $1 billion.

USGS said the magnitude-7.7 quake struck 145 miles southeast of Dalbandin, in Pakistan’s earthquake-prone Baluchistan province bordering Iran.

Pledge seeks to end sexual violence

UNITED NATIONS – Ministers from 113 countries have signed a declaration pledging new action to end sexual violence in conflict.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the declaration prohibits amnesties for sexual violence in peace agreements and allows suspects to be apprehended wherever they are in the world. It also pledges to adopt a new International Protocol in 2014 to help ensure that evidence collected can stand up in court.

Hague, who co-hosted Tuesday’s meeting on the sidelines of General Assembly, called the declaration “a milestone towards shattering impunity for those who commit horrific crimes during times of war.”

He said Britain will be encouraging the 80 U.N. member states that haven’t signed the declaration to do so.

Scores of elephants die from poisoning

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Authorities in Zimbabwe said Tuesday that more than 80 elephants have died from cyanide poisoning in the country’s biggest national park over the past four weeks.

“The situation is getting bad, as the poison might have been taken by many other animals – not only elephants,” said Environment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, after touring Hwange National Park, Africa’s third-largest wildlife sanctuary.

Last month the authorities reported they had arrested six poachers who had poisoned elephants with cyanide in the national park, which is roughly the size of Switzerland and is located about 50 miles southwest of Harare.

Kasukuwere has pledged stricter jail sentences for poachers.


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Zimbabwe leader calls assassination attempt ‘cowardly act’

UPDATED: 8:14 p.m.

updated  Zimbabwe’s president was unscathed Saturday by an explosion at a campaign rally that state media called an attempt to assassinate him, later visiting his two injured vice presidents and declaring the “cowardly act” will not disrupt next month’s historic elections.