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Morning Briefing: At least 1,000 die in Afghan quake, Australia and India boost defence ties, and election results finalised

Good morning. It’s Thursday 23rd June, and here’s a round up of the latest news.

At least 1,000 people killed in Afghan earthquake

At least 1,000 people have been killed and 1,500 injured in .
The 6.1 magnitude earthquake hit the country’s remote south-eastern Paktika Province, near the city of Khost.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund’s Samantha Mort said the humanitarian agency is finding it hard to reach people who need urgent help.

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“We’ve got supply trucks on the road, we are getting into some of the communities but not all of them,” she told SBS News.
“Some of these communities are up in the mountains, they don’t have proper roads, so that’s challenging.
“On top of that, because of the poverty and the simple lifestyle of these villages, you don’t have sophisticated equipment to get through the rubble and get people out.”

The death toll is expected to rise as rescue efforts continue.

Australia and India boost defence and climate change ties

Federal Defence Minister Richard Marles is pledging greater cooperation with India on climate change and defence, following a meeting with his Indian counterpart.
The deputy prime minister received a guard of honour in New Delhi while on a four-day visit to India to enhance bilateral co-operation between the two nations.

India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said there are several reasons why strong ties between the two countries will be beneficial.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles poses with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles has held talks with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi. Source: AP / Manish Swarup

“(We) recently concluded Free Trade Agreement, commerce, joins cultural and people-to-people relations,” he said.

“Bilateral defence co-operation is an important pillar of our comprehensive strategic partnership. Our close defence and security cooperation is an important factor of stability in the Indo- Pacific region.”

Relations have deepened between Australia and India as both seek to balance China as the dominant Asian power.

Election results finalised

The results of the federal election have been made official, with all 151 lower house seats declared.

The 47th parliament will have 47 new members, with 35 in the House of Representatives and 12 in the Senate.

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The Western Australian seat of O’Connor, won by Liberal candidate Rick Wilson, was the last electorate to be declared.
Newly elected members will travel to Canberra next week for an induction ahead of parliament’s resumption next month.

The new Labor government will have 77 lower house seats, the Coalition will have 58, and the Greens four.

Sri Lanka’s economy collapses

, after months of food, fuel and electricity scarcities.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe delivered an announcement to parliament on Wednesday, highlighting the South Asian country’s situation, and calling on international leaders and lenders for help.

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Officials from the International Monetary Fund are visiting Sri Lanka to discuss a rescue package.

UN urges government to help Australian women and children trapped in Syria camps

The United Nations is calling on the Australian government to urgently send home its citizens .

Conversations with the new Albanese administration about evacuating women and children from the country have begun, and a meeting is set for the coming weeks.

SYRIA-CONFLICT-IS

Women and children walk at the Roj camp, where relatives of people suspected of belonging to the self-proclaimed IS group are held in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah province. Source: AFP / DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images

UN representative for counter-terrorism and human rights Fionnuala Ni Aolain said the Australian government has a responsibility to its citizens stuck in the war-torn country.

“The Australian government is under an unequivocal international obligation to bring their nationals home, including their children,” she told SBS News.

“It behoves this new government to take those obligations seriously, and to commit and to react speedily to the opportunity to bring them home as quickly as possible.”

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