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Fri, 30 Oct 2020
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7.6 earthquake rattles North Island overnight

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale was recorded at 10.39pm Tuesday.

The Geological & Nuclear Sciences website said the quake was at a depth of 150km and centred 800km north east of Auckland, near the Kermadec Islands. It was felt widely in the North Island and as far south as Ashburton.

GNS duty seismologist, Ken Gledhill, says the quake would have been felt as a strong rolling motion which lasted for at least half a minute.

A seismologist at Victoria University says the depth of the earthquake mitigated its impact. Professor Ewan Smith told Morning Report that the quake did not cause damage because it was so deep and so far away. He said there was also little chance of a tsunami.

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Indonesia's Mount Merapi Erupts Violently

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia - Mount Merapi shot a large cloud of searing hot ash and gas into the sky Wednesday, ending two days of relative calm and underscoring the dangers still facing thousands of people living on the volcano's slopes.

Witnesses said the eruption appeared to be smaller than the mountain's most violent sputterings Monday, when ash and gas clouds surged around 2 1/2 miles from the peak and triggered panic.

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Indonesia's bird flu toll jumps to 30 with five more deaths

Indonesia's bird flu toll jumped to 30 on Wednesday after the World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed five more people had died of the virus in the world's fourth most populous nation.

The WHO said four of the confirmed deaths came from a cluster in North Sumatra: a 19 and 17-year-old male, a 29-year-old female and an 18-month old baby. A fifth person, a 25-year-old male, was infected but alive, the agency said.

"WHO is carefully investigating these cases, as any possible cluster case raises increased suspicions that human-to-human transmission may have occurred," spokeswoman Sari Setiogi told AFP.

Cloud Lightning

180,000 evacuated in southern China as Typhoon Chanchu nears

More than 180,000 people were evacuated from coastal areas of southern China Wednesday as Typhoon Chanchu, the strongest storm to hit the region at this time of year, churned towards the mainland and Hong Kong.

The evacuees, all from Guangdong province, were relocated to safe shelters while the province also recalled more than 25,000 ships at sea, China's offical Xinhua news agency quoted the provincial disaster relief office as saying.

In Hong Kong 26 flights have been cancelled, most of which were heading for mainland China. Eight international flights were delayed. Many ferry services were suspended and beaches closed.

The typhoon, which killed 41 people and left thousands homeless when it tore through the Philippines Saturday, is the strongest on record to have entered the South China Sea in May, the Hong Kong Observatory said.

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Quakes rock region as Pacific tests tsunami alert system

SYDNEY - Dozens of countries across the Pacific took part in a test of a regional tsunami warning system as a series of earthquakes hit the region for real.

The exercise, code-named Pacific Wave '06, was declared a success by officials at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii, who said the earthquakes had not disrupted the test.

"If those events were large enough to cause a tsunami warning to be issued then we would have terminated the test at that point," duty geophysicist Stuart Koyanagi told AFP.

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck off the coast of New Zealand's Kermadec Islands late Tuesday, just hours before the test began, the US Geological Survey reported.

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake then struck near Indonesia's Nias island at 1528 GMT Tuesday and two temblors of magnitude 5.8 and 6.0 struck Tonga after the exercise began at 1900 GMT with a mock 9.2 quake off Chile, the USGS said.

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U.S. Has Warmest April on Record

WASHINGTON - Last month was the warmest April on record for the United States, offering many Americans a pleasant spring month.

For the 48 contiguous states the average temperature was 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the month, the National Climatic Data Center reported Tuesday.

That made it the nation's warmest April since record keeping began in 1895.

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Utah Campground Closed Because of Plague

SALT LAKE CITY -- A campground at Natural Bridges National Monument has been closed because of bubonic plague detected among field mice and chipmunks.

Plague also has been found this spring in rodent populations at Mesa Verde National Park and Colorado National Monument.

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Major earthquake rocks Pacific near Kermadec Islands

A magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of the Kermadec Islands, northeast of New Zealand, at 1039 GMT, the US Geological Survey reported on its website

Better Earth

Climate change a 'deadly threat'

The Christian Aid charity has warned that 184 million people in Africa alone could die as a result of climate change before the end of the century.

Climate-induced floods, famine, drought and conflict could reverse recent gains in reducing poverty, it says.

Its report says rich nations must aid poorer ones to adopt non-fossil-fuel energy sources such as solar power.

The report comes as almost 190 states gather in Bonn, Germany, to discuss climate change.

The Christian Aid report, entitled The Climate of Poverty: Facts, Fears and Hopes, says rich countries must end their dependence on fossil fuels and aid poorer nations to switch to wind, solar and wave energies.

"Climate change is taking place and will inevitably continue," the report says.

Cloud Lightning

Indonesia Hit by Magnitude 6.9 Tremor; Local Tsunami Possible

Indonesia today was hit by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake, which may generate a "destructive local tsunami,'' the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The tremor struck shortly before 10:28 p.m. local time off the coast of northern Sumatra near the island of Nias, the U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors seismic events, said in a report on its Web site, putting the magnitude at 6.8.