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Foreign Affairs wants to know if its embassies can stand up to earthquakes

OTTAWA - Four years after an earthquake devastated Haiti, the federal government wants to know how a handful of its embassies would hold up to similar tremors. Foreign Affairs served notice last week that it will be looking for contractors to determine whether six of its consulates in Asia are structurally sound and quake-proof. The work is part of a larger exercise that identified dozens of embassies and consulates that were at risk, according to a contract document.

Record number of earthquakes hit Korean Peninsula last year

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- Ninety-three earthquakes of magnitude 2.0 or above hit the Korean Peninsula last year, the most since seismic monitoring began in 1978, the weather office said Monday. The figure is also more than double the annual average of 44.5 recorded since 1999 when the observation system was first digitalized. Also last year, 17 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or above struck the peninsula, with 15 of them felt by people, the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said.

Strong quake rattles Turkey's Mediterranean coast

Istanbul, Dec 28 (EFE).- A magnitude-6.0 earthquake shook the southwestern Turkish province of Antalya on Saturday but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, the NTV news agency said. The quake was centered 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the coast of the Mediterranean city of Antalya, the provincial capital, at a depth of 11 kilometers (6.8 miles). The provincial governor's office told NTV that no injuries or damage from the temblor had been reported thus far.

5.6-magnitude quake hits south Pakistan

A 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit south Pakistan early on Friday, seismologists said. The quake struck at 00:28 am local time (1928 GMT) at the relatively shallow depth of five kilometres (three miles), 32 kilometres west of Warah in Sindh province, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. In an initial assessment, the USGS said there was a low likelihood of casualties and damage.

25 years on, Armenians count cost of quake that shook USSR

Sitting on her bed in a converted metal shipping container that was only meant to be a temporary home, Anahit Sahradyan recalls the moment 25 years ago when a devastating earthquake tore through northern Armenia -- and her life. "Before my eyes all the buildings just crumbled like sandcastles," said Sahradyan, who only just managed to escape with her family.

Earthquake rocks Mexico's southern Pacific coast

Mexico City, Dec 1 (EFE).- A magnitude-5.4 earthquake rocked the coast of Guerrero, a state in southern Mexico, but no injuries or damage were reported, the National Seismology Service said. The earthquake occurred at 9:20 p.m. Saturday in the Pacific Ocean about 39 kilometers (24 miles) southwest of the city of Zihuatanejo, with the epicenter located at a depth of 10 kilometers (6.2 miles).

Two quakes rattle El Salvador, no damage

Two offshore earthquakes rattled El Salvador on Friday but there were no reports of casualties or damage, officials said. The quakes, registering 5.2 and 4.6 magnitude, were epicentred in the Pacific Ocean, the country's Environmental Observatory said. The first quake at 10:01 am (1601 GMT) had an epicenter off the coast of the department of La Paz, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of San Salvador, according to a report by the the country's Environmental Observatory.

5.5 quake hits northeast China

A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck northeast China Saturday at a shallow depth of 12.5 kilometres, the US Geological Survey said. The quake hit at 6:04 am (2204 GMT Friday) 34 kilometres (21 miles) north of Changling in Jilin province. USGS estimated the earthquake may have caused some damage but there was a low likelihood of casualties. A magnitude 6.6 earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan province killed about 200 people in April, five years after almost 90,000 people were killed by a huge tremor in the same province. bur/mtp/gk

In Oklahoma, water, fracking - and a swarm of quakes

By Carey Gillam NORMAN, Oklahoma (Reuters) - Seismologist Austin Holland wants to start an earthquake. From his office a few feet below the earth's surface - a basement at the University of Oklahoma in Norman - Holland, who tracks quakes for the Oklahoma Geological Survey, is digging into a complex riddle: Is a dramatic rise in the size and number of quakes in his state related to oil and gas production activity? And, if so, what can be done to stop it?

Magnitude 5.7 earthquake hits eastern Japan

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Japan on Tuesday morning, seismologists reported. The quake struck at around 04:10 am local time (1910 GMT) off the eastern Honshu coastline, 25 kilometres (16 miles) from the city of Toba and 37 kilometres from the city of Ise, according to the US Geological Survey which monitors earthquakes worldwide. The tremor struck far down at a depth of 332 kilometres, USGS added. There were no initial reports of damage.
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