Strong quake hits Indonesia, Timor Leste
JAKARTA • A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the eastern Indonesian island of Alor yesterday, severely damaging homes and other buildings, the authorities said.
Indonesia's disaster management agency said there were no reports of casualties from the quake which also rattled Timor Leste. The epicentre was 83km north-west of the Timor Leste capital of Dili, said the US Geological Survey.
China to push Mandarin in troubled Xinjiang
BEIJING • China will push the study of Mandarin and the "blending" of different races as part of a new stability push in the troubled far western region of Xinjiang, the region's top Communist Party official said in remarks published yesterday.
The government blames the unrest on Islamist militants who want to establish an independent state called East Turkestan for minority Uighurs, a mostly Muslim people who speak a Turkic language and hail from Xinjiang.
Pakistan to toughen child sex abuse laws
ISLAMABAD • Pakistan has taken a step towards punishing those guilty of sexually abusing girls with life imprisonment or even death, after a parliamentary committee voted to amend current laws.
The National Assembly's standing committee approved the proposal by lawmaker Shaista Perveiz Malik on Tuesday, said a statement on the Parliament's website. It appears to address only the abuse of girls below 14, not boys.