Powerful earthquake kills at least 20 people, injures more than 295 in western China


Originally posted on National Post | News:

A strong earthquake struck a rural part of western China on Monday morning, killing at least 20 people and injuring 296, according to the local government.

The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a region of mountains, desert and pastureland with a population of 26 million. That makes it one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the Dingxi area has a greater concentration of farms and towns with a total population of about 2.7 million.

The deaths and injuries were reported in Min County and other rural southern parts of Dingxi municipality, the provincial government said in a statement posted on its official microblog.

Residents described shaking windows and swinging lights but little major damage and little panic. Shaking was felt in the provincial capital of Lanzhou 177 kilometers north, and as far away as Xi’an, 400 kilometers to the east.

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“You could…

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Minor Earthquake Hits Tea Gardens


I live at Tea Gardens, but I can’t say that I felt an earthquake here tonight. It was quite minor, so no real surprise I guess. The link below is to an article reporting on the minor quake.

For more visit:
http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1652030/minor-earthquake-hits-tea-gardens/

See also:
http://www.ga.gov.au/earthquakes/getQuakeDetails.do?quakeId=3387356&orid=787107&sta=MGCD

New Zealand Escapes Major Damage from Massive Earthquake


The links below are to articles reporting on a major earthquake that hit New Zealand today, measuring 6.9 and located between the two islands in Cook Strait.

For more visit:
- http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/8945358/Big-quake-shakes-central-New-Zealand
- New Zealand hit by quake of magnitude 6.9, minor damage | Reuters
- http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/strong-69-magnitude-earthquake-hits-wellington-new-zealand/story-e6frg6so-1226682714587
- http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/21/19590327-65-earthquake-strikes-near-wellington-new-zealand

A large number of earthquakes have hit the New Zealand area in recent days.

For more visit:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/8945362/Quakes-shake-central-New-Zealand

Costa Concordia employees found guilty of manslaughter in cruise ship disaster, face less than three years in jail


Originally posted on National Post | News:

GROSSETO, Italy — Five employees of an Italian cruise company were convicted Saturday of manslaughter in the Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed 32 people, receiving sentences of less than three years that lawyers for victims and survivors criticized as too lenient.

The guilty verdicts for multiple manslaughter and negligence were the first reached in the sinking of the cruise liner carrying more than 4,000 crew and passengers near the Tuscan shore in January 2012.

The ship’s captain, the only remaining defendant, was denied a plea bargain and is being tried separately. He faces up to 20 years, if convicted of manslaughter, causing the shipwreck and abandoning the ship.

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On Saturday, lawyers representing the 32 victims of the shipwreck said the sentences of the plea bargain — a fraction of what is usually handed down for manslaughter — were inadequate given the gravity of the disaster.

“It seems like…

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