Earthquakes cut power, topple buildings on Indonesian island of Lombok

This latest quake hit as relief work continues in the aftermath of two previous quakes to rock Lombok. (AFP)
Updated 19 August 2018
0

Earthquakes cut power, topple buildings on Indonesian island of Lombok

  • Strong earthquake rocks the Indonesian island of Lombok Sunday, triggering landslides and sending people fleeing into the streets
  • It was the third major quake in less than a month to rock the island, after deadly tremors on July 29 and August 5

MATARAM, Indonesia: A strong earthquake has cut power across the Indonesian island of Lombok and destroyed buildings as the tourist hotspot tries to recover from a temblor earlier this month that killed hundreds of people.
The shallow magnitude 6.9 quake that hit just after 10 p.m. Sunday was one of multiple powerful earthquakes in the northeast of the island that also caused landslides. The nighttime quake was followed by strong aftershocks.
An Associated Press reporter in Sembalun subdistrict, on the island's northeast in the shadow of Mount Rinjani, said the latest quake caused panic, but many people were already staying in tents following the deadly quake in early August and its hundreds of aftershocks.
There was no immediate official information about casualties.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said power was cut across the island, hampering efforts to assess the situation. Some houses and other buildings in Sembalun had collapsed, it said.
"People panicked and scattered," said disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. "Some people are hysterical because they feel earthquake aftershocks that are harder than before. They heard a roar that probably came from landslides in the hills and Mount Rinjani."
Dwikorita Karnawatim, who heads Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, said buildings that haven't collapsed so far have suffered repeated stress, and authorities have urged people to avoid both the mountain's slopes and weakened buildings.
The quake lasting five to 10 seconds also was felt in the neighboring islands of Bali and Sumbawa and as far away as East Java and Makassar in Sulawesi. An AP reporter said tourists and villagers in Bali ran out of buildings in panic.
The daytime quakes that included a magnitude 6.3 jolt caused landslides on the slopes of Rinjani, an active volcano, and panic in villages. Video shot by the Indonesian Red Cross showed huge clouds of dust billowing from the mountain's slopes.
The disaster agency said one person died from a heart attack during the biggest of the daytime quakes and nearly 100 houses near the epicenter were severely damaged.
A magnitude 7.0 quake that struck Lombok on Aug. 5 killed 460 people, damaged tens of thousands of homes and displaced several hundred thousand people.
Mount Rinjani has been closed to visitors following a July earthquake that killed 16 people, triggered landslides and stranded hundreds of tourists on the mountain.
Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that straddles the Pacific "Ring of Fire," is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

 


Trump-Xi meeting at G20 raises hope for trade truce

Updated 1 min 40 sec ago
0

Trump-Xi meeting at G20 raises hope for trade truce

  • Chinese president said the problems between US and China won’t benefit either sides
  • US and China raised tariffs on some of each other’s goods and companies
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have agreed to meet at the G20 summit in Japan next week, raising hopes for a truce in the bruising trade war between the world’s top two economies.
The two leaders spoke on the phone on Tuesday, weeks after negotiations broke down when Trump accused Beijing of reneging on its commitments, hiked tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods and then blacklisted Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
The US president took a conciliatory approach this time.
“Had a very good telephone conversation with President Xi of China. We will be having an extended meeting next week at the G-20 in Japan,” Trump said on Twitter.
“Our respective teams will begin talks prior to our meeting,” he said ahead of the June 28-29 summit.
Xi noted that bilateral relations had encountered difficulties that were “not in the interest of either side” but he warned that dialogue must be conducted on “an equal footing.”
“China and the US will both gain by cooperating and lose by fighting,” Xi told Trump, according to state media.
Global shares were buoyed by the announcement, with Wall Street rallying on Tuesday and Asian stock markets surging on Wednesday.
The White House readout of the call said the leaders “discussed the importance of leveling the playing field for US farmers, workers, and businesses through a fair and reciprocal economic relationship.”
“I think we have a chance. China wants a deal. They don’t like the tariffs,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I have a very good relationship with president Xi. We’ll see what happens.”
The White House repeated that the focus of the talks will be to address “structural barriers to trade with China and achieving meaningful reforms that are enforceable and verifiable.”
The United States and China seemed close to an agreement when talks collapsed last month.
Beijing retaliated to Trump’s tariffs and moves against Huawei by increasing custom taxes on $60 billion in US goods, creating its own list of “unreliable” companies and individuals and threatening to ban exports of rare earths to the United States.
Xi told Trump that the two countries must “accommodate each other’s legitimate concerns” and that “China hopes the US side can treat Chinese firms in a fair manner,” according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Trump had requested the call between the two leaders, according to Xinhua.
A week before the G20, Xi will visit North Korea on Thursday and Friday, his first trip there as president.
China is North Korea’s sole major ally, and analysts say Xi could use any leverage Beijing may have in the nuclear standoff between Washington and Pyongyang as a “bargaining chip” in his talks with Trump.
Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned that there are “no guarantees” of any resolution in Osaka, Japan.
“Our position continues to be (that) we want structural changes,” Kudlow told reporters.
“They’ll have a good conversation. The fact that they’re meeting is a good thing.”
In an editorial, the state-run China Daily said Communist Party decision-makers, like White House counter-parts, “want to evade a full-blown trade war.”
“Since neither side appears ready to really slam the door shut on further negotiations, they should refrain from escalating tensions, and engage each other in a more constructive manner,” the daily said.
Global markets are concerned about Trump’s threat to impose more steep tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese imports, which could hurt the already slowing Chinese economy and spread the gloom worldwide.
Trump last week threatened to “immediately” jack up tariffs should Xi fail to show up at the meeting. The United States already has 25 percent duties on more than $250 billion of imports from China.