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News Wrap: Major Earthquake Strikes Haiti

January 12, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
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In other news, a major earthquake and aftershocks struck Haiti, and a bombing in Iran killed a nuclear physics professor who had been a supporter of the political opposition.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: A major earthquake shook the Caribbean nation of Haiti late today. It hit just 14 miles from the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The U.S. Geological Survey said it had a magnitude of 7.0 — reports that a hospital collapsed and that people were screaming for help. The quake also triggered a tsunami watch across parts of the Caribbean.

Moments ago, I spoke with Grant — Dale Grant of the USGS in Golden, Colorado.

DALE GRANT, U.S. Geological Survey: Approximately an hour ago, 4:55 local time, which is the same as Eastern Standard Time, we had a magnitude 7.0 quake in the Haiti area approximately 15 miles west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Now, that is a very large population center of at least 917,000 people. This is one of the — well, it is the largest quake that we have seen in this area. It has the potential of pretty catastrophic damage. We have already had reports from CNN that a hospital in Port-au-Prince has collapsed entirely.

This is an area that doesn’t receive quakes of this magnitude all that often. And we are expecting that there will be significant damage. There have been two fairly strong aftershocks, a 5.9 and a 5.5, which is what we would expect. And we would expect them to continue in the near future.

HARI SREENIVASAN: We will have more information on the online NewsHour as it becomes available.

A bombing in Iran today killed a nuclear physics professor. Masoud Ali Mohammadi had been a supporter of the political opposition. He was killed when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle blew up outside his home. Government officials charged U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies for being behind it. A spokesman for the U.S. State Department called the allegations absurd.

In Saudi Arabia, the government reported killing hundreds of Shiite rebels from Yemen on the Saudi side of the border. The offensive began last November. And across the border, officials in Yemen said government troops there killed at least 20 more rebels today.

One of Mexico’s top drug traffickers has been captured on the Baja California Peninsula. Teodoro “El Teo” Garcia Simental in the red shirt seen here was arrested early today. Authorities said his gang has terrorized Tijuana, even throwing rivals into vats of acid. Another accused drug kingpin in Mexico was killed last month by federal troops.

A woman who helped hide Anne Frank from the Nazis and then rescued her famous diary has died. Miep Gies was an office secretary in Amsterdam. For two years, she and others visited the Frank family in their secret annex, bringing food, books, and news. She recalled Anne in later years.

MIEP GIES: What me struck most at Anne Frank’s was always her curiosity. She always asked me every morning when I came in the hiding place about the things what happened outside.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Anne Frank and her family were found and shipped to death, death camps in 1944. Only her father survived. After the arrests, Gies gathered up the girl’s diary. It was published in 1947.

Miep Gies was 100 years old.

Jean Finnegan Biden, the vice president’s mother, was remembered today at a funeral mass in Wilmington, Delaware. President Obama, former President Clinton, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi were among those who attended. Vice President Biden delivered a eulogy.

JOSEPH BIDEN, vice president, United States: When we triumphed, she was quick to remind us that it was because of others. “There’s no one better than you. Every man is your equal, and every man deserves respect.” That was her creed.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Jean Biden passed away last Friday at the age of 92.