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Geopolitics

Death Toll Rises In Chinese Earthquake

SICHUAN RIBAO, CHINADAILY, XINHUA,GLOBALTIMES (China)

Worldcrunch

LU SHAN – The death toll from this weekend's earthquake in central China climbed to 188 on Monday, with thousands injured and forced from their homes, reports Xinhua.

The quake's epicenter was registered in Lushan County in the southwest of Sichuan Province at around 8 a.m. local time Saturday.

According to the latest reports from the Ministry of Civil Affairs, at least 188 people died and some 12,000 are injured as of Monday 2 p.m. local time.

According to Xin Hua news agency, a total of 2,283 aftershocks have been recorded in Lushan by Monday afternoon, with the strongest registering a magnitude of 5.4.

Sichuan Daily reports that Prime Minister Li Keqiang visited Huaxi hospital in Chengdu where emergency experts have been called to help during this time of crisis. Li Keqiang supported the earlier Chinese president’s Xi Jinping statement saying that saving lives is the primary task, for the military and for the hospitals. “ The golden time for saving lives are the first 24 hours” said Li Keqiang.

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Sichuan Daily

Xi Jinping arrived Sunday at the scene of the earthquake, as Xin Hua reports that more than 17,000 Chinese soldiers have joined the rescue mission organized by the Sichuan provincial party committee.

The disaster has evoked comparisons to the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake, which occured just 200 kilometers from Lushan, and was one of the worst to strike China in decades, leaving 87,000 dead or missing.

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Geopolitics

How A Drone Strike Inside Iran Exposes The Regime's Vulnerability — On All Fronts

It is still not clear what was the exact target of an attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory in central Iran. But it comes as Tehran authorities appear increasingly vulnerable to both its foreign and domestic enemies, with more attacks increasingly likely.

Screenshot of one of the Saturday drone attacks arms factory in Isfahan, central Iran

One of the Saturday drone attacks arms factory in Isfahan, central Iran

Screenshot
Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — It's the kind of incident that momentarily reveals the shadow wars that are part of the Middle East. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory complex north of Isfahan in central Iran.

But the explosion was so strong that it set off a small earthquake. Iranian authorities have played down the damage, as we might expect, and claim to have shot down the drones.

Nevertheless, three armed drones reaching the center of Iran, buzzing right up to weapons factories, is anything but ordinary in light of recent events. Iran is at the crossroads of several crises: from the war in Ukraine where it's been supplying drones to Russia to its nuclear development arriving at the moment of truth; from regional wars of influence to the anti-government uprising of Iranian youth.

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That leaves us spoiled for choice when it comes to possible interpretations of this act of war against Iran, which likely is a precursor to plenty of others to follow.

Iranian authorities, in their comments, blame the United States and Israel for the aggression. These are the two usual suspects for Tehran, and it is not surprising that they are at the top of the list.

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