June 4, 2007 in Nation/World

Earthquake forces 120,000 to flee

The Spokesman-Review

An earthquake in southwest China early Sunday left at least three people dead – including a boy crushed by debris – while injuring hundreds, destroying buildings, and forcing the evacuation of 120,000 residents, state media reported.

The 6.4-magnitude quake struck the county seat of Ning’er shortly after 5:30 a.m., said China’s official Xinhua News Agency. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake’s magnitude at 6.2.

At least three people died and more than 290 were injured, 15 seriously, Xinhua reported. One of the dead was a 5-year-old boy who was crushed by debris.

The evacuation of 120,000 residents was ordered after many buildings were deemed to be unsafe.


TV images show energetic Castro

Talking at length, grinning for cameras and even cracking jokes, Fidel Castro looked stronger and more vibrant Sunday as the first TV images of the ailing Cuban leader in four months appeared to confirm official reports he is feeling better.

The two-and-a-half-minute clip appears to show Castro in the same red track suit with black and white trim that he wore in past official images. At times, the 80-year-old shakes his fist and waggles a finger for effect while talking to Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nong Duc Manh, who met with him on Saturday.

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Helicopter crash kills at least 20

A helicopter ferrying passengers to Sierra Leone’s main airport crashed late Sunday, bursting into flames and killing at least 20 people, local radio stations and a witness at the airport said.

One station, Kalleone FM, said 22 people died, including a pilot who jumped from the helicopter as it crashed at the airport. A witness at the airport, who asked not to be identified, confirmed the crash and said its two pilots jumped out. One survived and was hospitalized.

The witness said the helicopter burst into flames upon crashing.


Officer stabs self to get time off

A Japanese policeman distraught by working long hours and weekends for two months stabbed himself in the stomach with a knife to get some time off, police said today.

The 44-year-old officer knifed himself at his home in northwestern Japan on May 23, but told police he had been attacked, prompting an attempted murder investigation, Ishikawa prefecture police said in a statement.

Investigators became suspicious of his story after they could not find evidence of anyone who matched the description that the officer had given of the supposed attacker.

The officer, whose name was not released by police, had been in charge of a disaster relief detail after a March 25 earthquake in the area that killed one person, injured more than 300 and damaged or destroyed more than 14,800 homes.

“He became very busy, he felt like he couldn’t handle the work he had to do, and he felt the work was weighing him down,” said a prefecture police spokesman.

From wire reports

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