Strong earthquake cracks streets in western Japan, injures 5

A photo by Shimane Nichinichi Shimbun via Jiji Press shows a damaged tarmac at a street in Oda, Shimane prefecture. Officials have warned stronger tremors could come in the days ahead. (Shimane Nichinichi Shimbun via Jiji Press / AFP)
Updated 09 April 2018
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Strong earthquake cracks streets in western Japan, injures 5

TOKYO: A strong earthquake hit western Japan early Monday, cracking streets, cutting water and power to a number of homes and injuring five people.
The Meteorological Agency said the magnitude 6.1 quake struck 12 kilometers underground near Ohda city, about 800 kilometers west of Tokyo.
Five people sustained injuries, but most of them were minor and not life-threatening, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
The quake also rattled nearby Izumo, home to one of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines. No damage was reported at the shrine.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said roads were cracked in some locations, while more than 1,000 households lost water supplies and dozens of homes were without electricity. Local officials said dozens of trains in the region were delayed or suspended.
There was no danger of a tsunami.


Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

In this file photo taken on August 5, 2016, Andy Chan (R), leader of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), gives a press conference at the start of a rally near the government's headquarters in Hong Kong. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Hong Kong bans pro-independence party

  • The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover

HONG KONG: Authorities in Hong Kong on Monday took an unprecedented step against separatist voices by banning a political party that advocates independence for the southern Chinese territory on national security grounds.
John Lee, the territory’s secretary for security, announced that the Hong Kong National Party will be prohibited from operation from Monday.
Lee’s announcement did not provide further details. But Hong Kong’s security bureau had previously said in a letter to the National Party’s leader, 27-year-old Andy Chan, that the party should be dissolved “in the interests of national security or public safety, public order or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.” Chan had no immediate comment.
That letter had cited a national security law that has not been invoked since 1997. The ban is likely to raise further questions about Beijing’s growing influence in the former British colony, which was promised semi-autonomy as part of the 1997 handover. Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials have warned separatist activity would not be tolerated.
Chan, the National Party leader, had previously told The Associated Press that police approached him with documents detailing his speeches and activities since the party’s formation in 2016.
The party was founded in response to frustration about Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong. Despite a promise of autonomy, activists complain mainland influence over its democratic elections is increasing.
Chan and other pro-independence candidates were disqualified from 2016 elections to the Hong Kong legislature after they refused to sign a pledge saying Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. The Hong Kong National Party has never held any seats on the council.