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News Wrap: Magnitude 6.4 earthquake strikes Southern California

In our news wrap Thursday, a powerful earthquake shook Southern California. The magnitude 6.4 quake, the strongest the area has felt in 20 years, was centered about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Experts warned strong aftershocks could follow. Also, British Marines in Gibraltar seized an Iranian oil tanker suspected of violating European sanctions against Syria, for which it was bound.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A powerful magnitude-6.4 earthquake shook Southern California today. It was the strongest to rock that area in 20 years.

    The quake was centered in the Mojave Desert near the town of Ridgecrest, about 150 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Emergency crews responded to house fires, damaged buildings, and gas leaks. Multiple injuries were reported.

    Seismologists in Pasadena warned residents to be on alert for strong aftershocks.

  • Lucy Jones:

    There is about a one in 20 chance that this location will be having an even bigger earthquake within the next few days, that we have not yet seen the biggest earthquake of the sequence.

    It's certain that this area is going to be shaken a lot today, and some of those aftershocks will probably exceed magnitude-5, which means they will become damaging.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The earthquake forced several California theme parks, including Disneyland, to temporarily close some of their attractions. The temblor was even felt as far as Las Vegas, Nevada.

    Venezuela's armed forces are sending death squads to murder young men, and staging the scenes to look like the victims resisted arrest. That is according to a new report from the United Nations. It said Venezuela's government recorded nearly 5,300 such deaths during last year's security operations. The U.N. said it was all part of a strategy by embattled President Nicolas Maduro's regime aimed at — quote — "neutralizing political opponents."

    A boat carrying migrants from Libya capsized in the Mediterranean overnight; 82 passengers are still missing and feared dead. The incident happened off the coast Tunisian city of Zarzis as the vessel was en route to Europe. The tragedy came a day after a deadly airstrike on a Libyan detention center killed 44 migrants.

    British Marines in Gibraltar today seized an Iranian oil tanker bound for Syria. It was suspected of violating European sanctions. Local officials said the U.S. had requested the operation, a move Iran condemned as illegal.

    The British territory's chief minister confirmed today's seizure.

  • Fabian Picardo:

    This action arose from information giving the Gibraltar government reasonable grounds to believe that the vessel, the Grace 1, was acting in breach of European Union sanctions against Syria.

    In fact, we have reason to believe that the Grace 1 was carrying its shipment of crude oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    It is believed to be the first time Europe has detained a tanker at sea since it banned oil shipments to Syria in 2011.

    This afternoon, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton tweeted he was glad the tanker had been detained to prevent regimes from profiting off — quote — "illicit trade."

    Heavy rains that have battered Southern Japan for days are starting to let up. But authorities are maintaining evacuation orders for more than a million people. They are still at risk for more landslides, after as much as 39 inches of rain inundated some areas over the past week. At least one person has died. Another is missing.

    And back in this country, U.S. Representative Justin Amash of Michigan announced he is leaving the Republican Party to become an independent. In an opinion article he wrote for The Washington Post, Amash said he was disenchanted that politics are in a — quote — "partisan death spiral."

    The fifth-term congressman was the only congressional Republican to call for impeachment proceedings against President Trump, in the wake of the findings in the Mueller report.

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