World Briefs

China quake kills one

BEIJING: A moderate earthquake struck southwestern China on Sunday, killing one person, injuring at least 11 others and collapsing some homes, the government said. The quake measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale struck Sichuan province at 2136 GMT on Saturday with its epicentre near the city of Suining, the Sichuan earthquake authority said. The US Geological Survey rated the quake at magnitude 5.2. State television showed pictures of single-story homes that had collapsed into rubble. The reports indicated that dozens of homes were damaged.

Karzai renews call

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday renewed his call for Taliban militants to give up fighting, saying he will intensify efforts to bring the rebels in from the cold. At a news conference in Kabul, the US-backed leader hailed the support of the country’s international allies last week in London for a new initiative aimed at reconciling moderate Taliban insurgents. “We as Afghans are trying our best to reach as high as possible to bring peace and security to Afghanistan,” Karzai said.

Yemen rejects truce

SAN’A: Yemen’s government on Sunday rejected a cease-fire offer from the country’s northern rebels and issued a fresh demand calling on the militants to pledged not to attack neighbouring Saudi Arabia. On Saturday, the leader of the country’s northern rebels, Abdel-Malek al-Hawthi, said he is ready to accept the government’s original conditions for a cease-fire. Yemen’s Supreme Defense Council on Sunday rejected that offer, but added that it was ready to halt military operations “under a certain framework.” Meanwhile, clashes broke out overnight between forces and rebels, as the government claimed another 24 Huthis killed.

New AU president

ADDIS ABABA: Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has been chosen to assume the rotating presidency of the African Union, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, the body’s outgoing president, said on Sunday. “My brother president of the republic of Malawi will replace me and take over,” Kadhafi said at the opening day of a three-day summit in Addis Ababa. Kadhafi’s presidency of the body has been marked by his efforts to promote his vision of a “United States of Africa” — a project that has made little progress.