News Wrap: Strong earthquake strikes Myanmar; militants bomb Afghan university

HARI SREENIVASAN:  Five thousand miles away from Italy, another powerful earthquake rocked Myanmar today, killing at least four people.  The 6.8-magnitude quake struck near the town of Chauk, 20 miles from the former capital of Bagan.  Officials estimated almost 200 of Bagan's centuries-old Buddhist pagodas were damaged.  The devastation could have been worse, had the quake not hit so deep underground.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Militants attacked the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, the capital, today.  At least one person was killed and 18 more were wounded.

Foreign staff and dozens of students were reportedly trapped inside the compound.  Student witnesses said the shooting lasted for more than an hour.

ZIAUCOIN, Student, American University of Afghanistan (through translator):  First, an explosion happened, and then we heard the sound of gunfire.  Twenty of us were in the class.  Two bullets hit on the door of our classroom.  All the boys escaped through the window of the class.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  There was no immediate claim of responsibility.  This is the second time this month that the university or its staff have been targeted.

HARI SREENIVASAN:  In South Sudan, at least 275 people have died in fighting between government troops and rebel forces.  Each side blamed the other today for launching attacks in a northeastern town less than a week ago.  Those reports came after word that opposition leader Riek Machar, who'd recently fled the country, is now in Sudan for urgent medical attention.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  North Korea's successful launch of a ballistic missile triggered swift condemnation today.  It was fired from a submarine, and flew over 300 miles within range of hitting South Korea and parts of Japan.  It is the farthest distance the North has successfully fired such a weapon.  The foreign ministers of China, Japan, and South Korea denounced the launch today in Tokyo, in a rare show of unity.

WANG YI, Foreign Minister, China (through translator):  China opposes North Korea's nuclear missile program, and opposes any words or deeds that could cause tensions on the Korean Peninsula.  China will adhere to its consistent and firm stand of making persistent efforts towards denuclearization on the peninsula.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  The U.S. State Department echoed that sentiment, saying its commitment to protecting its allies in the region from North Korean aggression was — quote — "iron-clad."

HARI SREENIVASAN:  And stocks slipped on Wall Street today, led by drops in the health care and materials sectors.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 66 points to close at 18481.  The Nasdaq fell 42 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 11.

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