Saturday 16 December 2017
News ID: 47207
Publish Date: 06 December 2017 - 23:20

JAKARTA (AFP) -- A tropical cyclone that pounded Indonesia's main island of Java has killed 41 people, the country's disaster agency said Wednesday, more than double the initial toll, with tens of thousands displaced by severe flooding and landslides.
Among the victims of Cyclone Cempaka were 25 people killed by a single landslide in east Java last week, the agency said. The initial cyclone death toll was 19.
Some 28,000 people have been displaced by the storm, which hit Indonesia's most populous island last week.
"Almost five thousand homes have been damaged and more than three thousand others were inundated by flooding," said agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho.
The destruction from the cyclone came as the rumbling Mount Agung volcano on the neighboring resort island of Bali threatened to erupt, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes.
Cempaka has moved away from Indonesia, but Nugroho warned that more flooding and landslides still could happen. Indonesia is prone to natural disasters and is often hit by floods and landslides.
 
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BRUSSELS (AFP) -- Deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said Wednesday that he will stay in Belgium "for now" despite Spain dropping European arrest warrants against him and four former ministers.
Puigdemont accused Spain of backtracking on the warrants, which are on charges of sedition and rebellion over Catalonia's illegal independence referendum, only because it was "scared of world opinion".
He said that if his party wins elections in Catalonia on December 21 then "we should return" but did not give any further details of whether he would actually go back for the polls.
Spain has said it will still arrest the separatists if they return. Madrid had dropped the European warrants "because it is scared", Puigdemont said. "The Spanish state is scared of world opinion," he added.

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TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) -- The Honduran opposition battling President Juan Orlando Hernandez over a disputed presidential election proposed that a runoff be held if authorities would not recount the entire vote.
TV star Salvador Nasralla, who claimed victory in the Nov. 26 election after early results put him ahead of Hernandez, has been locked in a bitter row over the vote count since the process broke down and suddenly swung in the president's favor.
The dispute has sparked deadly protests and a nighttime curfew in the poor, violent Central American country.
Nasralla said Wednesday the electoral tribunal should review virtually all the voting cards. "If you don't agree with that, let's go to a runoff between (Hernandez) and Salvador Nasralla," he said on Twitter.
Former President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a 2009 coup and now backs Nasralla, said that the opposition was seeking a total recount of the vote, or legislation to permit a runoff, which is not used in Honduras.

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) -- China accused Australia of hysteria and paranoia on Wednesday after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull vowed to ban foreign political donations in a move to curb external influence on its domestic politics.
Foreign powers were making "unprecedented and increasingly sophisticated attempts to influence the political process" in Australia and the world, Turnbull told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday. He had cited "disturbing reports about Chinese influence".
"Some Australian media have repeatedly fabricated news stories about the so-called Chinese influence and infiltration in Australia," the Chinese Embassy in Australia said in an English-language statement on its website.
"Those reports, which were made up out of thin air and filled with cold war mentality and ideological bias, reflected a typical anti-China hysteria and paranoia."

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KIEV (Reuters) -- Dozens of Ukrainian police in riot gear raided a protest camp outside parliament on Wednesday in a failed attempt to detain former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who was freed from custody by supporters a day earlier.
Saakashvili later said police had searched the wrong tent at the camp, continuing a surreal hide-and-seek game between him and Ukrainian law enforcement ever since he barged across the border from Poland three months ago.
Saakashvili was granted Ukrainian citizenship and invited by President Petro Poroshenko to become governor of the Odessa region after the "Maidan" protests ousted a pro-Russian president in early 2014, but the two later fell out.
The saga threatens to embarrass the pro-Western leadership in Kiev, although Saakashvili's party, which is now seeking to unseat Poroshenko at the ballot box, does not have nationwide support, opinion polls show.
Protesters defended the camp, which was set up in September, leading to clashes in which four policemen and an unknown number of civilians were wounded, Kiev police said in a statement.

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ATHENS (AFP) -- Masked youths on Wednesday threw stones and vandalized property in Athens during annual protests in remembrance of a teenage boy killed by police in 2008.
The small groups of youths also tore down street signs, toppled garbage bins and set fire to debris. Riot police were on the scene but generally did not interfere.
School pupils, university students and left-wing organizations are holding protests in Greece's main cities in memory of 15-year-old Alexis Grigoropoulos, who was fatally shot by a police officer in 2008.
At the time, Grigoropoulos' death sparked days of youth unrest around Greece.
Greek police are already on alert over a two-day visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan starting on Thursday.

 



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