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More than 20 dead after floods in south India

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(Last Updated On: October 18, 2021)

At least 22 people were killed after heavy rains lashed the south Indian state of Kerala over the weekend, officials said, Reuters reported.

Rainfall across the state led to flash floods and landslides in several areas, with the Indian army and navy called out to rescue residents.

According to the report some 13 of those were killed after a landslide in Kuttikkal village, officials and eyewitnesses said.

“There were four landslides that happened there yesterday, the hill behind me, which brought water and other items downwards,” a local resident told Reuters partner ANI on Sunday, standing in front of now-barren hillside.

P.K. Jayasree, the top government official in Kottayam district where the landslide took place, said almost half of the casualties were from a single family, Reuters reported.

“One family completely lost six members,” he said.

Light rainfall across the state is expected to continue, although weather alerts in many areas had been withdrawn, the state’s disaster management committee said in a statement.

Kerala was also a victim to the worst floods in a century in 2018 that had killed at least 400 people and displaced around 200,000.

India, with 1.3 billion people, relies on rainfall to support its population, many of whom live rely on farming. But excessive rainfall can cause floods, landslides and water-borne diseases, read the report.

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Pakistan receives $3 billion loan from Saudi Arabia

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

Pakistan on Saturday received a $3 billion loan from Saudi Arabia, the prime minister’s finance adviser said, as part of an economic support package.

The South Asian country has faced growing economic challenges, with high inflation, sliding forex reserves, a widening current account deficit and a depreciating currency, Reuters reported.

Pakistan’s total liquid foreign reserves stand at $22,498.8 million, based on central bank data.

Shaukat Tarin, finance adviser to Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan, said in a tweet: “I want to thank His Excellency Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the kind gesture.”

The loan from Saudi Arabia will be for one year at a 4% interest rate under the terms of the package, which was signed last month, Reuters reported.

“This is positive news … and will help bolster both the foreign exchange reserves and sentiments in the forex market,” Saad Hashemy, executive director at BMA Capital said.

The loan comes a week after the International Monetary Fund agreed with Pakistan on measures needed to revive a stalled $6 billion funding program.

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Uzbekistan’s Samarkand city named 2023 World Tourism Capital

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(Last Updated On: December 5, 2021)

Uzbekistan’s historic city of Samarkand was chosen as the 2023 World Tourism Capital at the 24th General Assembly of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) in Spain, Uzbekistan’s Tourism and Sports Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.

Samarkand will host the 25th General Assembly of the UNWTO, which will be a “historic event” as it marks the first time in history that the gathering will be held in Uzbekistan, read the statement.

The summit in Madrid was attended by a delegation led by Uzbekistan’s Tourism and Sports Minister Aziz Abdukhakimov, who is also the country’s deputy prime minister.

The opportunity to host a UN organization meeting for the first time is the result of the Uzbek government’s policies and efforts to develop tourism in the country, the statement added.

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Russia, Southeast Asia conclude first joint naval exercise

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(Last Updated On: December 4, 2021)

Russia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have concluded their first joint naval exercise, Indonesia’s navy said on Saturday, as the region faces rising tensions with China.

The three-day exercise off the coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island aimed at increasing interoperability between the ASEAN member states and the Russian navy in the strategic maritime area. It comes amid rising tensions between major powers in the South China Sea, a resource-rich waterway of geopolitical significance, Reuters reported.

“The exercise has a strategic impact because it was designed to cultivate friendships between the Indonesian government, ASEAN countries and Russia,” the navy said.

The two-stage drills involved eight warships and four aircraft from Russia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Brunei.

Aleksei Bolotnikov, commander of the Russian warship Admiral Panteleyev, was quoted as saying he hoped the next ASEAN-Russia exercise could take place in Vladivostok, Reuters reported.

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