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Suicide Bombers Blow up Church in Indonesia

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An explosion shook a Roman Catholic cathedral compound in the eastern Indonesian city of Makassar on Sunday morning, shattering the calm of Palm Sunday, a holy day for Christians.

The blast took place around 10:20 a.m. at the gate to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral compound, said Inspector General Raden Prabowo Argo Yuwono, the Indonesian National Police spokesman.

No churchgoers were killed, but at least 14 people were being treated for injuries at Makassar hospitals, Mr. Argo said.

Local police had previously said the bomber had acted alone.

Authorities were looking into which radical networks the bombers came from and whether the attack was linked to recent arrests of suspected militants, national police spokesman Argo Yuwono said.

In January, a counter-terrorism unit raided a militant hideout in Makassar and killed two men suspected by police of involvement in twin bombings at a Philippine church in 2019 that killed more than 20 people.

Father Wilhemus Tulak, a priest at the church, told Indonesian media that a suspected bomber tried to enter the church grounds on a motorbike, but had been stopped by a security guard.

Police did not say who might be responsible for the attack and there was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Police blamed the Islamic State-inspired Jamaah Ansharut Daulah group for suicide attacks in 2018 on churches and a police post in the city of Surabaya that killed over 30 people.

Boy Rafli Amar, the head of the country’s National Counterterrorism Agency, described Sunday’s attack as an act of terrorism.

Makassar Mayor Danny Pomanto said the blast could have caused far more casualties if it had taken place at the church’s main gate instead of a side entrance.

Makassar, Sulawesi’s biggest city, reflects the religious makeup of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country with a substantial Christian minority and followers of other religions.

“Whatever the motive is, this act isn’t justified by any religion because it harms not just one person but others, too,” Yaqut Cholil Qoumas, Indonesia’s religious affairs minister, said in a statement.

Gomar Gultom, head of the Indonesian Council of Churches, described the attack as a “cruel incident” as Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday, and urged people to remain calm and trust the authorities.

Indonesia’s deadliest Islamist militant attack took place on the tourist island of Bali in 2002, when bombers killed 202 people, most of them foreign tourists.

In subsequent years, security forces in Indonesia scored some major successes in tackling militancy, but more recently there has been a resurgence of militant violence.

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Asia

India Celebrates National Science Day

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On February 28th, India celebrates the annual National Science Day commemorating Indian physicist C V Raman’s discovery in 1928 of the Raman effect, the scattering of photons or light particles by matter.

India has registered notable advances in the missile, space technology, medicine, IT and many other fields with this former British colony now emerging as a leading country in the comity of nations.

This is a moment to celebrate the progress that India has made in science and technology research, thanks to its science policies.

Science and technology has assumed great significance and the theme for the current year is : Future of STI-Impacts on Education, Skill and Work”.

The event is now organized with seminars, conferences, public debates and discussions in schools, colleges, universities and other academic, scientific, technical, medical and research institutions all over the country.

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, a top scientist who had served as the 11th President of India in his book “India 2020” had strongly advocated for an Action Plan to develop India into a knowledge superpower and developed nation.

He had worked on high positions in DRDO, ISRO and was popularly known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology as also India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests in 1998.

India is on the right tract of science and technology highway and it must now go with quick and sure steps.

Key to Advancement The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been underscoring the role of scientific knowledge, technology and innovations through bold initiatives for overall speed development so that India emerges as a safe and super strong nation.

Some positive signals are emerging with leading advanced educational and other institutions already in place coupled with lot of promise, scope and talent .

India has made tangible strides it has still to move forward for transformation of society to attain the status of super power with a mission of working for peace, progress and spiritual enlightenment for humanity.

The report published by the National Science Foundation of the U.S. in December 2019, India was the third largest publisher of peer-reviewed science and engineering journal articles and conference papers, with 135,788 articles in 2018.

This milestone was achieved through an average yearly growth rate of 10.73% from 2008, which was greater than China’s 7.81%.

However, China and the United States had about thrice and twice the number, respectively, of India’s publications.

According to Stanford ranking, hope for Indian science The not-so-good news is that publications from India are not impactful.

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7.1-magnitude Earthquake Jolts Japan

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Japan has been hit by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which struck at 11:07 p.m. local time (9.07 a.m. ET), was located 73.9 kms northeast of Namie, a coastal town about two hours from Fukushima.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said at least 50 people were injured and the quake knocked multiple power plants offline. No tsunami warning was issued for Saturday’s earthquake.

Some 830,000 households in the Kanto region, which includes greater Tokyo, and about 90,000 households in Tohoku region, were without power following Saturday’s quake, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Katsunobu Kato, said.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency says it considers Saturday’s earthquake off the east coast to be an aftershock of the deadly 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck the same area almost 10 years ago.

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said although the damage is still being assessed, no major casualties have been reported.

However, he asked residents in the affected area to stay indoors and be prepared for aftershocks.

The March 11, 2011, earthquake caused the country’s worst nuclear disaster when three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant melted down, releasing radioactive materials into the air and forcing more than 100,000 people to be evacuated.

More than 20,000 people died or went missing in the quake and tsunami, while hundreds of thousands more lost their homes.

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Typhoon Vamco Kills 67 In Philippines, Now Rolling To Vietnam

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For those living in landlocked countries especially in Africa may never understand the dangers of living in countries that kiss the sea. The sea can turn deadly when wind and the high waters disagree.

Several kilometers away, Typhoon Vamco has thrashed into Thailand killing nearly 67 people in a single hit while displacing millions. This makes it country’s deadliest storm this year.

Philippines coast guard and disaster agencies scrambled on Saturday to rescue thousands in a northern province after the 21st cyclone to hit the Philippines this year tore through the main island of Luzon late on Wednesday and early Thursday. On Sunday, 21 people were injured and 12 were missing.

More than 25,000 houses have been damaged and $9.7 million (469.7 million Philippine peso) worth of infrastructure has been destroyed, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council spokesman Mark Timbal said Sunday.

Another $24.7 million worth of agriculture has been damaged by the flooding and landslides caused by heavy rainfall and strong winds brought by Typhoon Vamco.

In this handout photo provided by the Philippine Coast Guard, houses are submerged in flooded areas in Cagayan valley region, northern Philippines on Friday Nov. 13, 2020. Thick mud and debris coated many villages around the Philippine capital Friday after Typhoon Vamco caused extensive flooding that sent residents fleeing to their roofs and killing dozens of people. (Philippine Coast Guard via AP)

The storm is now reportedly speeding to Vietnam with wind speed of up to 150 kph (93 mph), Vamco hit Vietnam’s coast roughly 100km (62 miles) northwest of Da Nang Sunday local time.

“This is a very strong typhoon,” said Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, before the storm hit as he warned provinces in Vamco’s projected path to prepare for its impact.

The provinces planned to evacuate 468,000 people by the end of Saturday, according to state media citing the government’s disaster management authority.

Residents affected by floods from Typhoon Vamco are rescued on a boat, at Marikina, Metro Manila, Philippines, November 12, 2020. 

Vietnam is prone to destructive storms and flooding due to its long coastline. Vamco is the 13th storm to hit the Southeast Asian country this year, where more than 160 people have been killed in natural disasters triggered by a series of storms since early October.

“There has been no respite for more than eight million people living in central Vietnam,” said Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu, president of the Vietnam Red Cross Society. “Each time they start rebuilding their lives and livelihoods, they are pummeled by yet another storm.”

 

wirestory

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