New Zealand Earthquake Kills 65, Somali Pirates Kill 4 Americans
Rescuers search for survivors Tuesday in a collapsed building in Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images.
A 6.3-magnitude earthquake left Christchurch, New Zealand, in ruins, toppling buildings and leaving at least 65 people dead. More than 100 people are still believed to be trapped in rubble as rain fell Tuesday night. Rescue crews are struggling to find them, as some were able to use cell phones to pinpoint their locations. Among those trapped were a contingent of language students visiting from Japan.
A major earthquake had also hit the city in September, but caused less damage. Tuesday’s quake reportedly broke ice off a massive glacier 120 miles away from Christchurch, a city of 350,000 people.
Prime Minister John Key described it as “a scene of utter devastation.” Wounded people were seen on the streets as ambulances were quickly overwhelmed by casualties. Power and telephone services were hard hit and the city’s airport closed.
Defense Official Says American Couples Killed By Somali Pirates
Two American couples traveling by yacht have been killed by Somali pirates, according to a defense official. The U.S. Navy had been trailing their boat, which was reportedly hijacked on Friday.
Jean and Scott Adam and Phyllis Macay and Bob Riggle had been traveling as part of the Blue Water Rally, which organizes long-distance trips.
North Korea Requests Food Aid
After months of military tensions, the North Korean government has asked for food assistance, a rare occurrence for the tightly-controlled and secretive regime.
Floods and a severe weather have exacerbated the food crisis in an already-hungry country. Widespread famine in the early 1990s killed an estimated 1 million people.
The United States and other donor nations have little ability to monitor or control how the assistance is distributed because aid is funneled through the government. Despite around $2 billion in aid given over more than a decade, many in the country are undernourished and malnourished.
The United States suspended aid two years ago because it could not track how it was spent; and “has no plans for any contributions at this time,” according to State Department official Kurt Campbell.
Iranian Warships Reportedly Enter Suez Canal
Two Iranian warships have reportedly entered the Suez Canal, the first such passage since the country’s revolution in 1979. The ships’ arrival comes days after the military government of Egypt allowed for such a passage, highlighting tensions with Israel.
The 1978 Camp David Accords require that Israel be allowed to use the canal, which Egypt had not previously allowed. The new military government has said it will honor all existing international treaties, including Camp David.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel views the move “gravely.”
The Suez Canal, which links the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea, is a key route for oil and other cargo.