1. 6.3 magnitude earthquake hits Philippines
  2. Sri Lanka government declares state of emergency after Easter Sunday bomb blasts
  3. Prasarana introduces special MyCity passes for travellers
  4. China asks Britain for help to boost image of Belt and Road Initiative

Earthquake of 6.3 magnitude strikes Philippines, several reported dead
Philippine media reported that a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the main island of Luzon today, killing several people. The U.S Geological Survey said the struck 60 km northwest of the capital, Manila, at a depth of 40 km. The governor of Pampanga province told a radio station that several people had been killed. Media reported some structures had collapsed and the Clark International Airport had suffered some damage and had closed. Tall buildings swayed in Manila’s main business district and some people evacuated their offices.

Sri Lanka government declares state of emergency after Easter Sunday bomb blasts
Sri Lankan authorities today ordered a state of emergency to be introduced following the deadly Easter attacks. The President’s Office said the special measures were being brought in “to allow the police and the three forces to ensure public security.” A first curfew had been ordered shortly after the blasts ripped through Sri Lanka, with social media access, including Facebook and WhatsApp, curbed to restrict “wrong information” from spreading. This initial curfew was lifted on Monday morning, but a second curfew – running from 8pm on Monday to 4am on Tuesday – was imposed. Cabinet minister Rajitha Senaratne said that the government was investigating whether a local extremist group, called the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), was behind the blasts and if it had “international support”. Officials said President Maithripala Sirisena would meet with Colombo-based diplomats on Tuesday to seek international assistance as part of the investigation. “The intelligence sections have reported that there are international terror groups which are behind the local terrorists,” the statement added. “International assistance will be sought to combat them.” At least 290 people died after the series of bomb blasts tore through churches and luxury hotels on Easter Sunday. More than 500 people were injured in the attacks. Most of those killed or injured were Sri Lankans although government officials said 32 foreigners were also killed. These included British, US, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Portuguese and Japanese nationals.

Prasarana introduces special MyCity passes for travellers
Prasarana Malaysia Berhad today introduced special MyCity 1-day and 3-day passes for unlimited travel on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), Monorail and the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – Sunway Line. Prasarana’s group chief operating officer Muhammad Nizam Alias said the special 1-day and 3-day passes were introduced in response to requests from the customers especially from international travellers and customers outside Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. “Our regular customers will have the privilege of unlimited travel with the use of the My100 pass for 30-day unlimited travels on our rail and BRT networks. “On the other hand, these new passes provide immense convenience to non-Malaysians and non-regular users for unlimited travel within a short period of time. This initiative is also part of our contribution to Malaysia’s tourism industry,” he said in a statement, today.

China asks Britain for help to boost image of Belt and Road Initiative
China has asked Britain for help to offset claims its “Belt and Road Initiative” investments are opaque and justify its overseas spending to critics. Beijing made the move days before UK Chancellor Phillip Hammond was expected to head to the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. In an article in London’s Evening Standard on Wednesday, China’s Ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming cited “rule-making” as an area for bilateral cooperation. “Britain has played a leading role in the establishment and management of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank,” Liu said. Liu’s comments followed news the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) was asked to join a new initiative aimed at improving China’s international accounting and transparency standards. China is thought to see DFID as a model for its new aid outfit, China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), which was established last year to oversee Beijing’s foreign aid.