Thursday, December 22, 2011

Multiple blasts rock two Nigerian cities

Six blasts and gunfire rocked the Nigerian city of Maiduguri on Thursday, residents and a military source said, after explosions and shooting earlier broke out in another northeastern city.

"There has so far been six explosions, and four of them in the same area," the military source said, adding that a shootout had also occurred on Thursday.

Gunfire and explosions had earlier broken out in Damaturu. Both cities have previously been badly hit by violence blamed on the Islamist group Boko Haram.

Residents reported that people were fleeing in Maiduguri, but it was unclear whether there were casualties.

A witness said one of the explosions shattered the windows of a mosque in an office complex.

In Damaturu, a police officer said gunmen opened fire on a checkpoint, but the attack was repelled. Residents said explosions and gunfire broke out in the afternoon and was still occurring a couple of hours later.

Police could not immediately be reached for comment.

"For the past 40 minutes, there have been explosions and shootings around the Pompomari area of the city," Damaturu resident Kabiru Musa said by telephone in the afternoon. more

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake MINDORO, PHILIPPINES - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck Mindoro, Philippines at a depth of 44.3 km (27.5 miles), the quake hit at 04:27:13 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 58 km (36 miles) WSW of Calapan, Mindoro, Philippines
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF AISEN, CHILE - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck off the Coast of Aisen, Chile at a depth of 8.7 km (5.4 miles), the quake hit at 04:18:42 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 606 km (376 miles) Southwest of Puerto Montt, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Strong earthquakes rattle New Zealand's Christchurch - 23rd Dec 2011

Image: the Damage done by the 6.3 Magnitude Earthquake in February which claimed 182 lives.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A series of strong earthquakes struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Friday, rattling buildings, sending goods tumbling from shelves and prompting terrified holiday shoppers to flee into the streets. There was no tsunami alert issued and the city appeared to have been spared major damage.

One person was injured at a city mall and was taken to a hospital, and four people had to be rescued after being trapped by a rock fall, Christchurch police said in a statement. But there were no immediate reports of serious injuries or widespread damage in the city, which is still recovering from a devastating February earthquake that killed 182 people and destroyed much of the downtown area.

The first 5.8-magnitude quake struck Friday afternoon, 16 miles (26 kilometers) north of Christchurch and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) deep, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Minutes later, a 5.3-magnitude aftershock hit. About an hour after that, the city was shaken by another 5.8-magnitude temblor, the U.S.G.S. said, though New Zealand's geological agency GNS Science recorded that aftershock as a magnitude-6.0. Both aftershocks were less than 3 miles (5 kilometers) deep.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center did not issue an alert.

The city's airport was evacuated after the first quake and all city malls shut down as a precaution.

About 60 people were treated for minor injuries, including fractures, injuries sustained in falls and people with "emotional difficulties," Christchurch St. John Ambulance operations manager Tony Dowell told The Associated Press.

"We have had no significant injuries reported as a result of the earthquakes today," he said.

Warwick Isaacs, demolitions manager for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, said most buildings had been evacuated "as an emergency measure." The area has recorded more than 7,000 earthquakes since a magnitude-7.0 quake rocked the city on Sept. 4, 2010. That quake did not cause any deaths.

Rock falls had occurred in one area and there was liquefaction — when an earthquake forces underground water up through loose soil — in several places, Isaacs told New Zealand's National Radio.

"There has been quite a lot of stuff falling out of cupboards, off shelves in shops and that sort of thing, again," he said.

Isaacs said his immediate concern was for demolition workers involved in tearing down buildings wrecked in previous quakes. Read More

4.0 Magnitude Earthquake NEAR THE COAST OF NEW ZEALAND - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.0 earthquake has struck near the Coast of New Zealand at a depth of 9 km (5.8 miles), the quake hit at 04:06:21 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles) Northeast of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake CHRISTCHURCH NEW ZEALAND - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck near Christchurch, New Zealand at a depth of just 8 km (5.2 miles), the quake hit at 03:50:12 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) East of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

6.0 Magnitude Earthquake CHRISTCHURCH NEW ZEALAND - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake has struck near Christchurch, New Zealand at a depth of just 4.9 km (3 miles), the quake hit at 02:18:02 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 10 km (6.2 miles)East of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.3 Magnitude Earthquake CHRISTCHURCH NEW ZEALAND - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.3 earthquake has struck near Christchurch, New Zealand at a depth of just 3.7 km (2.3 miles poorly constrained), the quake hit at 01:06:25 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles)East of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.8 Magnitude Earthquake CHRISTCHURCH NEW ZEALAND - 23rd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.8 earthquake has struck near Christchurch, New Zealand at a depth of just 4.7 km (2.9 miles), the quake hit at 00:58:36 UTC Friday 23rd December 2011.
The epicenter was 20 km (12.4 miles) ENE of Christchurch, New Zealand
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

More to follow

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake TONGA - 22nd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck Tonga at a depth of 10.2 km (6.3 miles), the quake hit at 23:50:15 UTC Thursday 22nd December 2011.
The epicenter was 45 km (27 miles) NNW of Hihifo, Tonga
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.8 Magnitude Earthquake WESTERN XIZANG (TIBET) - 22nd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.8 earthquake has struck Western Xizang (Tibet) at a depth of 27 km (16.8 miles), the quake hit at 23:42:59 UTC Thursday 22nd December 2011.
The epicenter was 217 km (134 miles) East of Lumaringbo, Xizang (Tibet), China
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake TAIWAN REGION - 22nd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck the Taiwan Region at a depth of 22.4 km (13.9 miles), the quake hit at 19:39:57 UTC Thursday 22nd December 2011.
The epicenter was 96 km (59 miles) Southeast of Su'ao, Taiwan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.6 Magnitude Earthquake HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION - 22nd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.6 earthquake has struck Hokkaido, Japan Region at a depth of 52.5 km (32.6 miles), the quake hit at 19:14:02 UTC Thursday 22nd December 2011.
The epicenter was 86 km (53 miles) Southeast of Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

Police use tear gas on protesters in China - 22nd Dec 2011

Demonstrators faced tear gas and a heavy police presence as they gathered for a third straight day to protest a coal power plant in southern China.

Video from CNN affiliate i-CABLE News showed the massing protesters and confrontations with police in Haimen Thursday.

Police checkpoints dotted intersections in the city and students said police questioned people traveling in groups in an attempt to get them to disperse.

The protests began Tuesday morning when a group of residents went to the local government with a petition asking for the removal of the power plant and to stop the construction of a second.

When they did not get a response, they gathered on a street outside the government building. Some people were beaten.

Protests have been on the rise in China, where public displays of dissatisfaction are typically rare. The protests are driven by socioeconomic issues like income inequality, corruption, pollution and inflation, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Source

Arab league observer team heads to Damascus - 22nd Dec 2011

Syrian opposition cites regime 'acts of genocide' - 22nd Dec 2011



Syria's major opposition group condemned Bashar al-Assad's regime Wednesday for "brutal massacres" this week and urged the U.N. Security Council to protect civilians against "acts of genocide."

"The regime is using children as human shields so that tanks and armored vehicles can storm residential areas," said the Syrian National Council, which said that about 250 people have died over a 48-hour period.

"Incidents of gruesome murders have been recorded," the council said Wednesday, including the killings of four brothers and the beheading of a sheikh, whose head was hung above a mosque entrance. Both incidents occurred in Idlib, and the council says "acts of genocide" are occurring in Zawiyah Mountain in Idlib province in the northwest and the city of Homs in the west.

It cites "the regime's use of heavy weapons and artillery in shelling civilian neighborhoods, as was the case in the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs, as well as in the villages of Kansafra, Kafar Awaid, and Mazrain, where a large number of residents were killed. Other residents were forced to flee under heavy gunfire," the council said. The villages are in Idlib province. Read More

Is Iraq Falling Apart? - 22nd Dec 2011

Less than a week after the final U.S. troops pulled out, a string of more than a dozen bombings have left more than 60 dead in largely Shiite neighbors around Baghdad. It apparent signals a resumption of the Shiite-Sunni violence that Saddam Hussein – and then the U.S. military – kept largely bottled up for decades. “These are the kinds of attacks that can take Iraq right back to 2006” when the country found itself amid a civil war, warns Stephen Biddle, an Iraq expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

But the attacks – and more like them sure to come – don’t necessarily mean the country is falling apart, says Anthony Cordesman, military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This kind of unstable transition is almost typical of what happens under these conditions, and Iraq may muddle through,” he says. “This political power struggle may actually catalyze something approaching a real national compromise.” But Cordesman, in a report released Wednesday, concludes the war was a misadventure for Washington.

“U.S. and Iraqi forces scored impressive tactical victories against the insurgents in Iraq from 2005-2009, but the U.S. invasion now seems to be a de facto grand strategic failure in terms of its cost in dollars and blood, its post-conflict strategic outcome, and the value the US could have obtained from different uses of its political, military, and economic resources,” he writes. Read More

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake NIAS REGION, INDONESIA - 22nd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck the Nias Region, Indonesia at a depth of 28.3 km (17.6 miles), the quake hit at 19:21:21 UTC Thursday 22nd December 2011.
The epicenter was 252 km (156 miles) Southwest of Sibolga, Sumatra, Indonesia
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

4.9 Magnitude Earthquake TARAPACA, CHILE - 22nd Dec 2011

A magnitude 4.9 earthquake has struck Tarapaca, Chile at a depth of 95.2 km (59.2 miles), the quake hit at 16:41:15 UTC Thursday 22nd December 2011.
The epicenter was 132 km (82 miles) Northeast of Iquique, Tarapaca, Chile
No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time

5.0 Magnitude Earthquake OFF THE COAST OF AISEN, CHILE - 22nd Dec 2011

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake has struck off the East Coast of Aisen, Chile at a depth of 34.5 km (21.4 miles), the quake hit at 15:06:41 UTC Thursday 22nd December 2011.
The epicenter was 277 km (172 miles) West of Coihaique, Aisen, Chile
No Tsunami Warning Issued - No Reports of Injuries or Damage at this time