In our news wrap Friday, an earthquake rattled parts of Turkey and Greece, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 700. The tremor knocked down buildings and triggered a small tsunami. Also, an investigation into Australia’s devastating wildfire season concludes that conditions will only get worse due to climate change and that the country needs to overhaul its fire response.
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In the day's other news: The number of coronavirus cases worldwide exceeded 45 million, fueled by surges in the United States and Europe.
Belgium is Europe's worst hot spot. And, this evening, the government there imposed a partial lockdown, restricting travel, shopping and even family contacts for six weeks.
Alexander de Croo (through translator):
We are moving in the direction of a reinforced confinement with a single objective, to prevent health care services from collapsing. I realize that these are particularly drastic and painful measures. But they are the fruit of a long reflection based on facts.
France and Germany also imposed new stay-at-home orders and restrictions this week.
An earthquake rattled parts of Turkey and Greece today, leaving at least 19 people dead and injuring more than 700. The tremor knocked down buildings and triggered a small tsunami.
Chaos as buildings collapsed in Turkey's third largest city, Izmir. Panicked residents fled into the streets. Paramedics rushed to treat the injured. And crews worked furiously to pull out those trapped beneath the wreckage.
Hundreds of people were hurt and dozens had to be rescued.
Man (through translator):
I thought that the ground was shattered. You cannot think at that moment. All you try to do is get out. Everywhere was collapsing down. We were really panicked and managed to go out at the very last minute.
The earthquake struck in the Aegean Sea between the Turkish coast and the Greek island of Samos in the early afternoon, local time.
The shockwave sent a small tsunami into a coastal district near Izmir, triggering street flooding in the streets. And the earthquake could be felt as far away as Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul, some 300 miles from Izmir, and in Greece's capital, Athens.
Seismologists predict the shallow depth of the quake's epicenter could lead to aftershocks for several weeks or even a month.
Here in the U.S., people in coastal Louisiana and Mississippi are also picking up the pieces in the aftermath of Hurricane Zeta. The storm washed boats onto streets and yards after coming ashore Wednesday, and it wrecked homes and left widespread power outages well into Northern Georgia. The hurricane is also blamed for six deaths.
An investigation into Australia's devastating wildfire season reports that things will only get worse, and it calls for detailed climate change projections. The so-called Black Summer fires killed at least 33 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes. Officials said it's clear that the country needs to overhaul its fire response.
Frankly, the federal response to the bushfires up until Christmas was a debacle. It was very difficult to get anybody to listen about what was happening, and there was insufficient funding flowing out to the states and territories. This must change.
A new wildfire season has now begun in Australia, but forecasts call for above-average rainfall, in contrast to last year's drought.
In Poland tonight, protesters staged what may be the largest rally yet in Warsaw, aimed at a opposing a court ruling on abortion. The decision barred abortions even when the fetus has severe deformities. Thousands of demonstrators converged, despite official warnings to stay home, as COVID cases surge. The nation's top prosecutor threatened criminal charges against organizers.
Back in this country, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ordered the U.S. Postal Service, to ensure that millions of ballots get delivered by Election Day. The order calls for — quote — "extraordinary measures" at sites where fewer than 90 percent of ballots are being processed on time.
And the COVID surged spooked Wall Street again. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 157 points to close at 26,000 501. The Nasdaq fell 274 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 40. For the week, the Dow lost six-and-a-half percent, the Nasdaq and the S&P dropped five-and-a-half percent. Still to
where on-time delivery of ballots has dropped below 90 percent. And the COVID surge spooked Wall Street again. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 157 points to close at 26501. The Nasdaq fell 274 points, and the S&P 500 gave up 40. For the week, the Dow lost 6.5 percent. The Nasdaq and the S&P dropped 5.5 percent.