Strong quake causes panic in eastern Indonesia

Residents gather outside their homes in Ternate on early July 8, 2019 after a strong magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck off Indonesia on July 7, the US Geological Survey reported, triggering a brief tsunami warning that sent panicked residents fleeing to higher ground. (AFP)
Updated 08 July 2019

Strong quake causes panic in eastern Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia: A strong subsea earthquake late Sunday night caused panic in parts of eastern Indonesian and triggered a tsunami warning that was later lifted. There were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties.
The US Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.9 quake was centered 185 kilometers (115 miles) southeast of Manado in the Molucca Sea at a depth of 24 kilometers (15 miles).
The national disaster agency said the tsunami warning that was in place for North Sulawesi and North Maluku was canceled just after midnight, about two hours after the quake hit.
It said it was still gathering information but was hampered by loss of communications with disaster officials in North Maluku.
A hospital in Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi province, was damaged and patients evacuated, according to a local disaster official.
The quake caused panic in the city of Ternate in the Maluku island chain, where people ran to higher ground, a witness told The Associated Press.
The disaster agency said residents in Manado ran out of their homes in panic. It said residents in North Sulawesi and North Maluku should return to their homes.
Indonesia, a vast archipelago of 260 million people, is frequently struck by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and tsunamis because of its location on the “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin.


Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

Updated 15 November 2019

Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

  • The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s tourists
  • Apsara authority plans to end the elephant rides by 2020
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia will ban all elephant rides at the country’s famed Angkor temple park by early next year, an official said Friday, a rare win for conservationists who have long decried the popular practice as cruel.
The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists — which topped six million in 2018 — and many opt for elephants rides around the ancient temples.
But these rides “will end by the start of 2020,” said Long Kosal, a spokesman with the Apsara Authority, which manages the park.
“Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore,” he told AFP, adding that some of the animals were “already old.”
So far, five of the 14 working elephants have been transferred to a community forest about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the temples.
“They will live out their natural lives there,” Kosal said.
The company that owns the elephants will continue to look after them, he added.
Cambodia has long come under fire from animal rights groups for ubiquitous elephant rides on offer for tourists, also seen in neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
The elephants are broken in during training and rights groups have accused handlers of overworking them.
In 2016, a female elephant died by the roadside after carrying tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex in severely hot weather.
The animal had been working for around 45 minutes before she collapsed.