April 13, 2007 in Nation/World

Earthquake rattles Acapulco

The Spokesman-Review
 

An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.2 rocked Mexico early today, striking 60 miles north of Acapulco on the country’s Pacific coast, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake – which hit about 1 a.m. local time – was strongly felt by residents in Acapulco – where tourists in hotels rushed out of their rooms and huddled together, fearing aftershocks.

The quake was also felt in parts of Mexico City, where power was knocked out.

There has been no word on injuries or damage.

In Mexico City, the quake sent people out into the streets. It lasted less than a minute but was strongly felt by residents.

Police patrolled streets while families waited out on the streets in their pajamas, fearing aftershocks.

Moscow

Foreign adoption agencies restricted

Authorities said Thursday they have halted the work of all foreign adoption agencies in Russia for several months, virtually shutting down the placement of children from one of the most important countries for U.S. families seeking to adopt.

The move follows new restrictive rules imposed by China on Americans trying to adopt and U.S. warnings against adopting from Guatemala.

The licensing delay in Russia is due to a law that took effect last year that imposed strict new rules on non-governmental organizations, including more complicated registration procedures. The rules were imposed after Russian officials complained that Western-funded groups were meddling in politics across the former Soviet Union.

Sergei Vitelis, an official at the Education Ministry’s department in charge of adoptions, said the licenses of dozens of agencies working in Russia expired Wednesday and it will take officials about two months to consider applications for new ones.

That leaves only one alternative for foreign families – to adopt without using an agency. But adoption agencies say such adoptions are rare.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Iran’s uranium claims discounted

The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Thursday Iran is operating only several hundred centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant at Natanz, despite its claims to have activated 3,000.

Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran’s nuclear program was a concern, but he discounted Tehran’s claims of a major advance in uranium enrichment, a process the United Nations demands Iran suspend or else be hit by increasing sanctions.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Monday that the Natanz facility had begun “industrial-scale” production of nuclear fuel. Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said workers had begun injecting uranium gas into a new array of 3,000 centrifuges, many more than the 328 centrifuges known to be operating at Natanz.

Experts say that 3,000 centrifuges would be enough in theory to develop a nuclear warhead in about a year, but they doubt Iran really had that many devices successfully running.

Iran ultimately aims to operate more than 50,000 of the devices at the site.

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