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Chatter: Italy rocked by second deadly quake

Another earthquake hits northern Italy, Kofi Annan goes tete-a-tete with Bashar al-Assad, and you too could be buried where Elvis was - or wasn't.
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Need to know:
Another deadly earthquake has hit northern Italy, a week after a tremor killed seven people in the same region. 

At least four people are reported dead in today's quake, which hit early this morning 24 miles north-west of Bologna. With a magnitude of 5.8, it was felt throughout northern and central Italy as well as across the border in Austria.

The earthquake caused more buildings to collapse in the areas already damaged by the 6.0-magnitude quake on May 20, where thousands were still sleeping outdoors in tents.

Want to know:
Peace envoy Kofi Annan is in talks with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

Annan admits that the peace plan he brokered in April has not so far been implemented. Nothing like it, in fact, as last Friday's massacre in Houla so graphically testifies. UN investigators have said that most of the 108 victims were summarily executed, they belive by pro-regime militias.

The UN-Arab League envoy has said he will push Assad to take "bold steps" to end the violence. They'll have to be bold indeed.

Dull but important:
Protesters torched the campaign headquarters of one of Egypt's presidential candidates last night, while nearby, hundreds of people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Ahmed Shafiq – the last prime minister under deposed president Hosni Mubarak – had his office burned shortly it was announced that he would face Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in a run-off next month. To many Egyptians, Shafiq represents the old regime – and Morsi, the Islamist alternative that not everyone wants to embrace.  

Is their head-to-head a sign that, in Egypt and elsewhere, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose? That's what Boualem Sansal, the Algerian author whose writings helped inspire the Arab Spring, would argue. "The Arab Spring has failed completely," he tells GlobalPost. "It is a catastrophe that only the Islamists will be able to take advantage of."

Just because:
Aung San Suu Kyi
will leave Myanmar today for the first time in 24 years.

The pro-democracy activist is due to fly to Thailand this evening ahead of the World Economic Forum in Bangkok. She hasn't left her country since 1988, for fear the military government would never let her return.

Suu Kyi received her first passport in two decades at the beginning of May. She'll make the most of it by traveling shortly to Switzerland, Britain, Ireland and Norway, where she'll finally pick up the Nobel Peace Prize she was awarded in 1991.

Strange but true:
Fans of Elvis Presley should start saving up now for the last word in King memorabilia: the original crypt where both Elvis and his mother were first buried is up for sale.

The crypt in Memphis, Tennessee, will be auctioned at the end of June, with a starting price of $100,000. The lucky bidder will get themselves the opening and closing of the vault and crypt for burial; a memorial inscription; and the use of the chapel for a service.

"I just consider that if you're an ultimate fan of Elvis Presley, it's an opportunity," says auctioneer Darren Julien. "Only one person can say, 'Hey, I'm going to be buried where Elvis Presley was.'"

Excuse us, but as any real fan knows, Elvis is alive and well in Roswell, New Mexico.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/chatter/chatter-italy-rocked-second-deadly-quake

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