Earth ChangesS


New earthquake sways buildings in Jakarta; Death toll passes 530

JAKARTA, Indonesia - A strong earthquake caused tall buildings to sway in the Indonesian capital Wednesday, sending panicked residents fleeing to the streets just days after a deadly tsunami struck main island of Java.

There were no immediate reports of damage or casualties.

The 6.0-magnitude quake was centered 25 miles beneath the Sunda strait, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its Web site, and struck 90 miles southwest of Jakarta.


Heavy rain in Japan leaves 23 dead or missing

TOKYO - Heavy rain in Japan triggered floods and mudslides that swallowed houses and destroyed roads, with at least 12 people killed and 11 missing since the start of the rainy season.

The rain has also been devastating in the neighboring Korean peninsula. At least 150 people there are believed dead or missing, mostly in the impoverished communist North, according to officials and aid workers Wednesday.

From western to central Japan, residents evacuated houses for shelters as muddy water swamped city streets and mudslides tore up highways.

The weather temporarily caused Shinkansen bullet trains to stop as the weather agency warned of more to come.


Pakistan hit by moderate earthquake

A moderate earthquake jolted an area along Pakistan's border with neighboring Iran on Wednesday, but there were no reports of injuries or any damage.

The magnitude 5.1 quake that hit at 4:27 am (0457 IST) was centered somewhere on the Pakistan-Iran border, about 1,200 kilometers west of the northwestern city of Peshawar, said Nasir Mahmood, assistant meteorologist at the state-run Seismological Centre in Peshawar.


Earthquake jolts northwest China

An earthquake measuring 5.6 degrees on the Richter scale jolted a county in northwest China's Qinghai Province at 5:53 p.m. (Beijing Time) Wednesday, according to China Seismological Bureau.


Europe gasps as heatwave temperatures soar

PARIS - Much of western Europe is sweltering under tropical temperatures, as a heatwave claimed its seventh victim since the start of the week.

Authorities in the eastern French town of Macon said a 53 year-old labourer died overnight of "malign hyperthermia" after working outside in temperatures of 33 degrees Centigrade (91.4 Fahrenheit).

Two elderly people died Tuesday in southwestern France as a result of the heat, and in the Netherlands two people died on the opening day of an annual walking event at Nijmegen.

In Spain a man who died of heat exhaustion in the northwest region of Galicia was the second to succumb after a man died in Murcia in the southeast on Sunday.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning sparks fire as tanker unloading

Providence, Rhode Island - Fire engulfed a dock area at the Port of Providence on Tuesday night when lightning struck as a tanker was unloading gasoline, sending large plumes of smoke and fireballs into the air.

Officials said the ship was able to safely pull away from the dock.


Girl Survives Lightning Strike That Evaporated Gold Cross Pendant on Her Neck

A 16-year-old girl has survived a direct lightning strike. The gold cross pendant on a chain melted and evaporated from the girl's neck.

Marina Motygina from Ekaterinburg in Russia's Urals went bathing with her friend Anya. She had just got out of water when a thunderstorm broke out, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reports.


Tropical storm forms off N. Carolina

MIAMI - Tropical Storm Beryl, the second named storm of 2006 Atlantic hurricane season, formed off the North Carolina coast Tuesday and a tropical storm watch was issued for the eastern part of the state.

A hurricane reconnaissance aircraft reported that the storm's maximum sustained winds were at least 40 mph, the National Hurricane Center said. At 5 p.m. EDT, Beryl was centered about 180 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras and was moving toward the north at about 6 mph.

The storm is expected to make its closest approach to North Carolina on Wednesday and it was forecast to remain a tropical storm, said hurricane specialist Eric Blake.


Fire ants on the rise in coastal Va. areas

NORFOLK, Va. - Fire ants are showing up in greater numbers in coastal Virginia, much to the alarm of gardeners and farmers who dare disturb their nests.

"The way they bite, you would think they were the size of an alligator ... " said Carl Lohafer, a Virginia Beach resident who discovered colonies in his yard two years ago. "It was like a hot poker jabbing you."

In Virginia and elsewhere, the ants appear to thrive in the favorable climate of the coastal region.

Infestations of the ants have been reported in greater numbers since 2000 than in all of the 1990s, according to Virginia's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Office of Plant and Pest Services.


Typhoon rains kill 100, wipe out North Korean villages

GENEVA - At least 100 people are believed dead or missing and 9,000 are homeless after typhoon rains caused severe flooding and landslides in North Korea, wiping out whole villages, the international Red Cross said.

"In some remote areas, whole villages have been swept away and essential public services, such as health care clinics, have been destroyed," said Jaap Timmer, the head of North Korean operations at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.