Posted: 12 Mar 2011 07:17 AM PST
TOKYO (Reuters) - More than 1,700 people are likely dead or missing following a massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, Kyodo news agency reported on Saturday.
About 300,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and that number is likely to rise with the government increasing the size of an evacuation area around two nuclear power plants in Fukushima in northern Japan, Kyodo said.
Police accounts put the death toll at 637 and those missing at 653, but the total number is likely to be much bigger as 200-300 dead bodies were being transported in the city of Sendai and another 200 were being taken to gyms in other parts of Miyagi prefecture, Kyodo said.
(Reporting by Taiga Uranaka; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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Posted: 12 Mar 2011 06:46 AM PST
KHARTOUM (Reuters) - South Sudan on Saturday accused Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir of plotting to overthrow the south's government before the secession of the oil-producing region in July.
Senior southern official Pagan Amum said the south would suspend talks with Bashir's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) about plans for the secession and would look into alternative routes for sending its oil to market, away from the north.
Southerners overwhelmingly voted to declare independence from the north in a January referendum promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of north/south civil war.
"We in SPLM (the south's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement) have details of a plan by the NCP (Bashir's ruling National Congress Party) to overthrow the government of south Sudan before July," Amum, SPLM secretary general, told journalists.
"The NCP has been creating, training, supplying and arming militia groups in southern Sudan with the aim to destabilise and overthrow the government before July. This plan is being overseen by the president of the republic Omar Hassan al-Bashir himself."
Amum added southern President Salva Kiir had phoned him and asked the SPLM's negotiating team to look into finding alternative routes for the south's oil -- the lifeblood of the economies of both north and south Sudan.
"(Kiir) has directed us in the negotiating team to look into a possibility of stopping the export of oil of south Sudan through the north in July and see possibilities of alternative routes of transport other than northern Sudan," said Amum.
Amum said the SPLM had complained to the United Nations Security Council about a series of militia raids in its territory which it were being backed by Khartoum.
"For all these reasons, the SPLM is suspending discussions and negotiations with the NCP until they stop this conspiracy or until the Security Council investigates these and takes appropriate measures," said Amum in a news conference in Khartoum.
(Editing by Jon Boyle)
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