Strong quake rocks northern Venezuela coast; buildings evacuated in capital

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People evacuate an office building after an earthquake in Caracas, Venezuela August 21, 2018. (REUTERS)
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A woman reacts after an earthquake in Caracas, Venezuela August 21, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 August 2018
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Strong quake rocks northern Venezuela coast; buildings evacuated in capital

CARACAS: A major earthquake of magnitude 7.3 struck the northern coast of Venezuela on Tuesday and shook buildings as far away as the capital, Caracas, the US Geological Survey said.
The quake was centered near the town of Carupano, an area of poor fishing communities and was felt as far away as neighboring Colombia to the east and nearby island nations like Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Lucia, to the west and north.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, Venezuelan Interior Minister Nestor Reverol said in an Internet broadcast on Tuesday.
The US Pacific Tsunami Center said the quake could cause small tsunami waves along the coast near the epicenter, 23 miles (37 km) southwest of the town of Carupano.
USGS Geophysicist Jessica Turner said the quake’s depth, 76.5 miles (123.11 km) below the surface, would dampen some of the shaking but not enough to prevent damage.
“A 7.3 magnitude quake is going to cause some damage particularly as in this area structures are vulnerable. The Earth is able to absorb some of the energy, but a 7.3 quake produces a lot of energy,” she said by telephone.
Turner said the quake’s depth caused the quake to be felt as far away such as in Caracas, where witnesses said buildings were shaken. “I feel like I’m about to faint. I’m shaking. It was long,” said telemarketing worker Sheny Fuentes, 22, speaking outside her work building in eastern Caracas. “I’m relieved that it doesn’t seem like damage was that bad. We would have been even more affected (given Venezuela’s economic crisis) — there are already people eating from the garbage and buildings aren’t well made,” she told Reuters. 


Security forces free Mali official from extremists

Updated 47 min 40 sec ago
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Security forces free Mali official from extremists

  • A Malian jounalist who was kidnapped was also freed
  • A peace agreement signed in 2015 was aimed at restoring stability, but the accord has failed to stop violence by extremist militants

BAMAKO, Mali: A senior government official and a journalist abducted by suspected extremists in Mali have been freed, a security source told AFP on Tuesday.
Makan Doumbia, the prefect of Tenenkou commune in central Mali, “was freed Monday thanks to an action by state security,” the source told AFP.
Doumbia, the most senior government representative in the commune, was abducted in the Mopti region on May 8 last year.
He is now being treated in intensive care in the capital Bamako, said the source, who refused to comment on claims that Doumbia was freed under a prisoner exchange.
A son of the official, who declined to give his full name, also confirmed the prefect had been released.
“I was able to speak to my father. He is very tired. But the most important thing is that he is free. I am very happy,” said the son.
Malian journalist Issiaka Tamboura, who was kidnapped in central Mali in December, was also released and taken to hospital in Bamako, security and media sources said.
However, elsewhere in the Mopti region, four hostages taken by suspected extremists were killed at Toguere-Koumbe last week, according to Kisal, a rights group for nomadic communities.
Kisal announced on its Facebook page Monday that those killed were members of the Bozo ethnic group.
A security source confirmed that “four civilian hostages of terrorists” were found dead at Toguere at the weekend.
Extremist militias linked to Al-Qaeda seized the north of Mali in 2012, but were pushed back by French troops the following year.
A peace agreement signed in 2015 by the Bamako government and armed groups was aimed at restoring stability, but the accord has failed to stop violence by extremist militants — who have also staged attacks in neighboring Burkina Faso and Niger.