A magnitude 7.8 earthquake has struck south-east Iran, the US Geological Survey (USGS) reports. The epicentre of the huge quake was 86km (53 miles) from the city of Khash in Sistan Baluchistan province, near the border with Pakistan.
Foreign ministers from
the G8 group of nations have condemned in the "strongest possible terms"
North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
Tensions have risen on the Korean peninsula in recent weeks.
The ministers also expressed "deep concerns about the increasing human tragedy of the conflict in Syria".
They also endorsed what they called a historic pledge on preventing sexual violence in conflict.
The Group of Eight nations comprises the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia.
Britain currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the G8
and the talks are a prelude to the annual G8 summit later this year in
In a news conference after the talks, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague
said that "if the DPRK [North Korea] conducts another missile launch or
nuclear test, we have committed ourselves to take further significant
Correspondents say Japan, present at the talks, had been looking for a strong statement of solidarity over Korea.
North Korea has been making bellicose threats against South Korea, Japan and US bases in the region.
Mr Hague said the ministers condemned North Korea's "current
aggressive rhetoric", saying it would "only serve further to isolate the
The G8 ministers also pledged to work to end sexual violence
in conflict, calling for urgent action to address "comprehensively" the
"culture of impunity" in conflict zones.
UK Foreign Secretary William Hague had said the issue of
sexual violence in conflict zones was his own "personal priority" for
The BBC's diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says
ministers agree that the combination of warlike threats from North Korea
and preparations for new missile tests amount to dangerous provocation.
South Korea has raised its alert level amid indications that the North is preparing for a missile test.
Pyongyang has moved two Musudan missiles to
its east coast. Estimates of the ballistic missile's range vary, but
some suggest it could be as high as 4,000km (2,500 miles).
A missile therefore has the potential of hitting US bases on
Guam, although it is not known whether the Musudan has been tested
There is also no evidence the North has miniaturised a nuclear weapon sufficiently to be used on a ballistic missile.
North Korea has increased its fiery rhetoric following fresh
UN sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test and joint military
manoeuvres by the US and South Korea.
The North says it will restart a mothballed nuclear reactor,
has shut an emergency military hotline to the South and has urged
countries to withdraw diplomatic staff, saying it cannot now guarantee
However, in the past few days North Korea's media appear to
be in more of a holiday mood, as Kim Il-sung's birthday on Monday
approaches - a potential launch date for a new missile test.
Mr Hague said the ministers had agreed on plans to tackle "the
horrific use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war in
conflicts around the globe", which he described as "one of the greatest
and most persistent injustices in the world".
Mr Hague said the G8 had "committed to the development of a
comprehensive international protocol on the investigation and
documentation of rape and sexual violence in conflict".
The UN special envoy for refugees, Angelina Jolie, said that
wartime rape should not be regarded as inevitable, saying: "It can be
prevented and must be confronted."
She said she welcomed the "long overdue stance of the G8".
"Finally have some hope to offer victims," she said.
On Syria, Mr Hague admitted that "the world has failed so far
in its responsibilities, and continues to do so", adding that divisions
over the conflict continue.
Ministers called for greater humanitarian assistance to Syrians affected by the conflict.
They affirmed their support for a "political transition", but
did not mention any punitive measures against President Bashar
Fresh evidence of links between some opposition fighters and
al-Qaeda has made it even harder for governments to decide a course of
action, correspondents say.
G8 ministers met Syrian opposition figures on Wednesday on the sidelines of the two-day forum.
Leaders of the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) had reportedly pressed for more humanitarian assistance.
Mr Kerry, however, stressed the importance of the opposition becoming better organised, a senior US official told reporters.
More than 60,000 people are estimated to have died since the uprising
against the government of President Assad began in March 2011.
The London talks were also the first chance for G8 ministers
to discuss face-to-face the failure of last week's meeting in Almaty,
Kazakhstan, on curbing Iran's nuclear programme.
Mr Hague called that failure "disappointing".
"We will continue to work with the twin-track approach of
sanctions and negotiations, but... the window of diplomacy will not
remain open forever," he went on.
Tehran says it only wants to produce energy but the US and its allies suspect it is trying to develop a nuclear weapon.
Burma, Somalia and cyber-security were also topics on the agenda.