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Tsunami his Japan after massive earthquake off its North East coast (International)
11-03-11  33 foot high Tsunami wave struck north eastern Japan after a massive earthquake, today. Several reports have already classified the quake has the biggest of the decade.

US Geological Survey had earlier reported it as a 7.9 event at around 11:15am Indian Time, but later upgraded it to 8.9. The quake occurred as a result of thrust faulting on or near the subduction zone interface plate boundary between the Pacific and North America plates.

The epicenter of the quake was located about 400 kms from Tokyo.

USGS says that the earthquake today was preceded by a series of large foreshocks over the previous two days, beginning on 9 Mar 2011 with an M 7.2 event approximately 40 km from today's quake, and continuing with a further 3 earthquakes greater than M 6 on the same day.

Today's massive quake was followed by a huge tsunami which hit the Japanese coastal areas. Television news has showed large scale devastation in the wake of the tsunami

Ships, cars, buildings were swept away by the huge wall of water. Fire and water and destruction could be seen every where.

It is too early to talk about the quantum of loss to life and property. Tsunami alert has been issued in several countries.
ChristChurch - Earthquake 6.3 strikes at 12:51pm local time (International)
22-02-11  An earthquake of 6.3 magnitude shook Christchurch in New Zealand today afternoon at 12:51pm local time.

Flights across New Zealand have been grounded after the earthquake. The air traffic control of New Zealand is situated in Christchurch and all air traffic has been stopped until it is verified to be okay.

Reports of losses and deaths have just begun to come in.

Several buildings are reported to have collapsed and that there were people inside these buildings at the time of collapse. There are also reports of a couple of buses being trapped under a fallen building.

The city's iconic church building has also been damaged in the incident.

The country's leaders have summoned an emergency cabinet meeting to review the situation. There are talks of an evacuation of the city, as there is fear that some buildings that were damanged in the quake could still fall.

According to US Geological Survey the quake had a magnitude of 6.3 and was located at 43.600°S, 172.710°E at a depth of 5 kilometers.
Major landslide hits Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec in Southern Mexico (International)
29-09-10  A major landslide occurred in Oaxaca state in southern Mexico which has lead to large scale losses in small village called Santa Maria Tlahuitoltepec. Search and rescue operations have been mounted to search for people that are feared to be buried under the tons of mud.

The incident happened in the wee hours (around 4:00am local time) of Tuesday morning on 28-Sep-2010 when most residents of the town were asleep.

Initial assessment had lead to reports that hundreds may be trapped under the debris. The initial reports had quoted locals saying that atleast 500 people could be dead were later revised to show that the landslide was not as deadly.

By evening yesterday, Ulises Ruiz the Governor of the Mexican state announced there was no confirmed death and 11 persons were missing.

The landslide is believed to have been triggered by the waterlogged in the hills after the heavy rainfall following Hurricane Karl and Storm Matthew.
US Markets jittery on record low new-home sales (International)
25-08-10  New home sales in US hit a record low in July this year. The sales of new single-family houses in July 2010 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 2.76 lakh according to estimates released jointly today by US Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

This is 12.4% ((±10.8%) below the revised June rate of June 3.15 lakh and 32.4% ((±8.7) below the July 2009 estimate of 4.08 lakh.

This report has come a day after American National Association of Realtors released figures indicating a slow down in existing home sales. According to NAR, existing home sales are at a 15 year low with supply of 12.5 months.

The indicators are pointing to an economic slow down in the US with a lack of jobs leading to a drop in confidence.

Ever since the US Economy has move out the recession last year, experts have been waiting for what they call a double-dip recession and such reports work like ammunition in their arsenal.

The next big number awaited is the GDP number due on 27 August 2010.
Increase in initial jobless claims indicates slowdown in US economy (International)
12-08-10  The US Department of Labour has reported an increase in the initial unemployment insurance weekly claims indicating a jump in the number of people losing their jobs during the week ended on 7 August 2010, triggering fears that the US economy was slowing down.

The jobless claims rose to 4,84,000 a jump of 2,000. The four week moving average increased by 14,250 to 4,73,500 compared to the previous week's average of 4,59,250.

The report also said that the advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending July 31 was 44,52,000, a decrease of 1,18,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 45,70,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,518,500, a decrease of 64,500 from the preceding week's revised average of 4,583,000.

It also said that the states reported 44,93,351 persons claiming EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation) benefits for the week ending July 24, an increase of 11,58,473 from the prior week. There were 28,67,229 claimants in the comparable week in 2009. EUC weekly claims include first, second, third, and fourth tier activity.
Results of European Banks' Stress Test to be released by 9:30 pm today (International)
23-07-10  Committe of European Banking Supervisors (C-EBS) will release the results of the stress test starting from 18:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time) - 21:30 Indian Time, on 23 July 2010.

The results will be available on the website of C-EBS, both on an aggregated and on a bank-by-bank basis.

At 18.00 hrs CEST, C-EBS will publish on its website the results of the exercise on an aggregated basis, in the form of a summary report, accompanied by a press release presenting the main conclusions as regards the resilience of the EU banking sector.

From 18.00 hrs CEST, the banks' individual results of the exercise will be published by banks and/or their national supervisory authorities, on their respective websites.

The stress test was carried out to address the impacts of the macro-economic shocks on credit and market risk. It covered a sample of major cross-border banking groups in Europe, representing over 60% of the EU banking sector in terms of total assets.

The EU-wide stress test exercise was a “bottom-up” exercise, where commonly agreed scenarios and key assumptions have been applied to institutions’ internal risk parameters and portfolios, with the aim at better assessing the specificities of institutions in the sample for the exercise.
Pirates 2 ships - Al Khaliq hijacked, Jolly Rosso escapes. (International)
22-10-09  Pirates attacked two ships in the Indian Ocean and succeeded in hijacking one while the other managed to get away.

The two ships attacked were...
  • MV Jolly Rosso, an Italian flagged Ro-Ro Cargo ship
  • MV Al Khaliq, a Panama flagged buld carrier.
Jolly Rosso was attacked, 400 nautical miles east of Mombasa, Kenya, by two small skiffs, but she managed to evade the attack and proceed on her voyage.

Al Khaliq the second ship that was attacked was not so fortunate. The vessel was attacked 180 nautical miles west of the Seychelles at almost the same time as Jolly Rosso. In its last contact the ship had reported that two pirates were on board trying to access the accommodation.

The EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft has confirmed that “the hijack of MV Al Khaliq, 6 pirates on board and two attack skiffs in tow. The mother skiff has already been taken on board with a crane”.
Somali pirates hijack Bulk Carrier from China in Indian Ocean (International)
20-10-09  Somali pirates strike again. This time a bulk carrier from the Peoples Republic of China was hijacked in the Indian Ocean.

According to the information released by European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia, the attack was carried out by the pirates 350 nautical miles North East of the Seychelles and 700 nautical miles off the East coast of Somalia.

On indication of an attack an EU NAVFOR Maritime Patrol Aircraft, operating from the Seychelles was launched to investigate the incident. The MPA located the ship and has reported that there are 4 pirates visible and 2 skiffs (small pirate craft) being towed by the ship.

Adding these 25 hostages from the Bulk Carrier to the total number of personnel held by the pirates at the Somali Coastline rises to 146 hostages.

EU NAVFOR runs the Maritime Security Center (Horn of Africa) to safeguard merchant shipping operating in the region by preventing and deterring acts of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, off the Horn of Africa and in the Somali Basin.

EU NAVFOR Operation Atalanta acts in accordance with United Nations Security Councils resolutions. The military operation was launched 8 December and has been extended by the European Council until December 2010.
Barack Obama gets Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 (International)
09-10-09  US President Barack Obama has bagged the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009. The annoucement was made today (09-Oct-2009) at Oslo by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

The prestigious award has been given to Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.

The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."
2 powerful earthquakes rock Sumatra within 16 hours (International)
01-10-09  Sumatra in Indonesia was shaken by 2 powerful earthquakes in less than 16 hours. After a powerful 7.6 magnitude earthquake a day before (on 30 Sep 2009) the region was shaken once again by a 6.6 quake today (on 01 Oct 2009).

At least 200 bodies have been recovered from yesterday's quake that caused several landscapes. The country's disaster management agency has acknowledged that more than 500 houses and buildings had collapsed.

it is believed that thousands could be trapped under the debris.

The first quake occurred at 5:16pm local time (3:46 pm Indian Time) on 30 September 2009. The epicenter of this quake was 45 km from Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia.

According to USGS, the southern Sumatra earthquake occurred as a result of oblique-thrust faulting near the subduction interface plate boundary between the Australian and Sunda plates. At the location of this earthquake, the Australian Plate moves northeast with respect to the Sunda plate at a velocity of approximately 65 mm/yr.

The second quake of 6.6 magnitude quake in the morning of 01-Oct-2009 at 8:52 am local time (7:22 am Indian time). The epicenter of this quake was 155 km from Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia.
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