Magnitude-6.5 quake strikes off Indonesia

Sunday, November 20, 2005

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A magnitude-6.5 quake struck an island off the coast of Sumatra on Saturday, triggering a tsunami alert, officials said. The quake's epicenter was located on Simeulue Island, about 160 miles southwest of Medan on Sumatra's west coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The island is near the epicenter of the Dec. 26 quake that caused a massive tsunami. Saturday's tsunami alert was issued by the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii.

Saudi king says that oil importers should cut taxes

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said Saturday that oil-consuming nations should cut taxes on petroleum products when oil prices rise. In a speech to a gathering of oil ministers, the world's major oil companies and energy organizations, Abdullah restated his commitment to reasonable oil prices and pledged to provide adequate oil supplies to the world market. But the monarch, whose nation is the world's largest oil exporter, issued strong advice for oil-consuming nations: reduce taxes on oil products and stop speculating.

Pakistan says $5.4 billion in earthquake aid raised

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- International donors have pledged $5.4 billion in quake aid to Pakistan, surpassing the amount sought by the government, the prime minister said Saturday. The U.S. nearly tripled its pledge to more than half a billion dollars in a show of support for a key ally in the war on terror. The new pledges came at a donors conference attended by about 50 nations. Pakistan had hoped to get $5.2 billion for rebuilding from the Oct. 8 quake. Before the conference, aid pledges totaled $2.4 billion but Pakistan had only received about 10 percent of it.

-- From wire reports

"The rough total we have as of now is $5.4 billion," Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told delegates at the close of the conference in Islamabad. The U.S. had already promised Pakistan some $180 million, of which $54 million had been spent. But USAID chief Andrew Natsios raised the offer to $510 million, including $100 million in cash.

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