In brief: Quake strikes off Indonesia coast


JAYAPURA, Indonesia – A powerful earthquake hit waters off eastern Indonesia this morning, causing panic in the streets. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 and hit 50 miles off Papua province this morning.

It was centered just 18 miles beneath the ocean floor.

Residents in the sparsely populated region said street lamps were shaking and items were knocked from shelves. There were no immediate signs of severe damage.

Troops take part of al-Qaida lair

SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni government troops seized control Friday of part of an al-Qaida stronghold in the country’s lawless south after fierce fighting that has left at least 25 militants dead, a military official said.

After launching an attack overnight, the army pushed into the outskirts of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, while the rest of the city remained in the hands of al-Qaida-linked militants, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Militants have taken advantage of more than a year of political turmoil in Yemen to seize control of large swaths of territory in the country’s south.

Militia hands over control of airport

TRIPOLI, Libya – The Libyan government assumed control Friday of the country’s main international airport, taking over from militia fighters who had been providing security for months in the absence of an official force to do the job.

The handover marked a step forward for Libya’s new rulers as they try to stamp their authority on the country and bring under their control the various armed brigades that helped topple longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi.

A Defense Ministry official, Col. Ibrahim Hadoud, said he will now be heading a group of soldiers that will provide security for the airport and a 10-mile radius around it.


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