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21 schoolchildren among nearly 250 dead in powerful Mexico quake

Mexico City (AFP) - At least 248 people were killed when a powerful 7.1-magnitude earthquake struck Mexico on Tuesday, including 21 children crushed beneath an elementary school that was reduced to rubble.

Rescuers, firefighters, policemen, soldiers and volunteers desperately remove rubble and debris from a flattened building in search of survivors after Mexico's powerful quake. - AFP

Kenya tightens security as country waits for Supreme Court verdict

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Police sealed off roads near Kenya's Supreme Court on Wednesday as judges prepared to deliver a detailed ruling laying out their reasons for annulling last month's presidential election.

New Zealand fuel shortage disrupts air travel just days before poll

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - New Zealand's National Party government on Wednesday set up a commission to oversee the response to a fuel shortage crisis that has roiled air travel in and out of the country's biggest city just days before a tight national election.

China calls for understanding of Myanmar's need to protect stability

BEIJING (Reuters) - Violent incidents in Myanmar's Rakhine state are unacceptable and there should be understanding of the Myanmar government's efforts to protect social stability, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Indonesian counterpart, state media said.

Erdogan says Turkey to consider sanctions over Kurdish independence vote - Anadolu

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey will consider imposing sanctions on Kurdish northern Iraq over its planned independence referendum, President Tayyip Erdogan was cited by state-run Anadolu news agency as saying.

Philippine lawmakers defer decision on appointment of environment minister

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine lawmakers on Wednesday said they would hold more hearings before deciding whether to confirm the appointment of the country's environment minister, although some said they were likely to approve the step.

Saudi Arabia to unblock internet calling apps

Riyadh (AFP) - Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on internet calling applications on Wednesday, authorities said, easing restrictions online as the conservative kingdom faces new criticism over censorship.

Saudi Arabia will lift its ban on internet calling applications on Wednesday, such as Skype, easing restrictions online as the conservative kingdom faces new criticism over censorship.-AFP

Maria to remain category 5 hurricane until Puerto Rico landfall - NHC

(Reuters) - The core of Hurricane Maria is expected to reach the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico on Wednesday morning and is likely to remain a category 5 storm until landfall, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Australian PM says first refugees to be resettled in U.S. under swap deal

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Wednesday the first group of about 50 men and woman held in two controversial detention centres for asylum-seekers on remote Pacific islands will be resettled in the United States within weeks.

China says upholds peaceful resolution of North Korea issue

BEIJING (Reuters) - China supports a peaceful resolution to the North Korea issue and it is incorrect to say China has not been doing enough, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his French counterpart, China's Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.