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1. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake in southern Turkey early Monday killed more than 1,300 people across the country and in neighboring Syria, officials said, as rescuers searched flattened buildings in frigid weather for survivors. At least 912 people were killed and 5,385 injured in Turkey alone, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a news conference. The earthquake — felt as far away as Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt — occurred in Kahramanmaras province, north of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border. It was followed by dozens of powerful aftershocks. Most of the damage is in southern Turkey and northern and central Syria, and the death toll is expected to grow as casualty reports come in from individual provinces. (Source: washingtonpost.com)
2. A second, 7.5-magnitude earthquake was recorded in southeastern Turkey shortly before 1:30 p.m. local time Monday, the United States Geological Survey said. It occurred about 2.5 miles south-southeast of Ekinozu, which is in Kahramanmaras province, the location of the epicenter of the first, early-morning earthquake. (Source: washingtonpost.com)
3. Beijing’s abrupt shift from expressing regret to threatening retaliation over the US’s spy-balloon claims reflects the domestic imperative for Xi Jinping to show he’s standing up for China against external pressure, further narrowing the window to reset ties before the US election season gets into full swing. This weekend was supposed to be a step forward, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken arriving in Beijing for the first such visit in more than four years. But the dispute meant it was spent trading barbs real and figurative, as an F-22 Raptor blasted the high-tech Chinese balloon out of the sky off the coast of South Carolina with a single Aim-9X Sidewinder missile. Instead of establishing “guardrails” and holding high-level meetings — including possibly with President Xi — Blinken ended up postponing his trip until a date yet to be determined. (Source: bloomberg.com)
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