Quake rattles New Zealand as Harry and Meghan visit

Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex greet people during a public walkabout at the Vivaduct Harbor in Auckland on, Tuesday, October 30. (AFP)
Updated 30 October 2018
0

Quake rattles New Zealand as Harry and Meghan visit

  • The quake was felt in Wellington during a session of parliament, prompting lawmakers to stop deliberations and seek refuge
  • The touring royals continued with a public walkabout on the city’s waterfront

WELLINGTON: A 6.1 magnitude earthquake rattled parts of central New Zealand Tuesday, where British royals Meghan and Harry are on tour, but officials said it caused no major damage.
The quake was felt in Wellington during a session of parliament, prompting lawmakers to stop deliberations and seek refuge as a precaution.
There was no tsunami threat and the quake was not strongly felt in Auckland, where the touring royals continued with a public walkabout on the city’s waterfront.
Reporters traveling with the couple said they did not feel any tremors during the quake, which the US Geological Survey (USGS) gave a magnitude of 6.1.
New Zealand’s official GeoNet seismic monitoring service said a 6.2 quake struck at a depth of 207 kilometers in the central North Island about 340 kilometers northeast of Wellington.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was widely felt across the center of the country, despite the depth of the epicenter, and urged Kiwis to “check on those around you.”
Civil Defense Minister Kris Faafoi said there had been no reports of damage or injuries.
“I think some people might be a little nervy and that’s understandable but it’s just a case of following those safety messages and being prepared,” he told reporters.
“I think if there was anything major we’d know by now.”
Faafoi said proceedings in parliament house were temporarily suspended because of heavy shaking in the building.
“We all felt it in the house, I was in there at the time... and just for the immediate safety of those in the house (the speaker) saw fit to suspend proceedings,” he said.
“I think that was the wise thing to do as we felt it quite heavily.”
New Zealand lies on the boundary of the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates, which form part of the so-called “Ring of Fire,” and experiences up to 15,000 tremors a year.
A shallow 6.3 quake in the South Island city of Christchurch killed 185 people in 2011, while a 7.8 shake slightly further north in 2016 was the second strongest ever recorded in the country.


North Korea calls Biden ‘fool of low IQ’ over Kim Jong Un criticism

Updated 17 min 40 sec ago
0

North Korea calls Biden ‘fool of low IQ’ over Kim Jong Un criticism

  • US presidential hopeful called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a tyrant during a recent speech
  • Pyongyang said former American vice president had insulted the country’s supreme leadership

SEOUL: North Korea has labeled Joe Biden a “fool of low IQ” and an “imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being” after the US presidential hopeful called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a tyrant during a recent speech.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday said the former American vice president had insulted the country’s supreme leadership and committed an “intolerable and serious politically-motivated provocation” against the North.
Biden during a campaign launch in Philadelphia on Saturday accused President Donald Trump of cozying up to “dictators and tyrants” like Kim and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“What he uttered is just sophism of an imbecile bereft of elementary quality as a human being, let alone a politician,” KCNA said.
It added: “There is nonstop comment over his bid for candidacy that he is not worth pinning hope on, backed by the jeer that he is a fool of low IQ,” KCNA said.
“Yet, he is self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate. This is enough to make a cat laugh,” the report said.
There was no immediate reaction from the Biden camp, possibly due to the late hour in the United States.
North Korea has often unleashed crude insults against US and South Korean politicians in past years to criticize what its saw as insults to its leadership or hostile diplomatic and military policies against Pyongyang. The insults have included racist and sexist diatribes, including when the North called former President Barack Obama “a monkey” and former South Korean President Park Geun-hye, the country’s first female leader, a prostitute.
During tensions created by a provocative run in missile tests in 2017, Kim called Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” after said that the United States would “totally destroy North Korea” if forced to defend itself or its allies.
The North’s description of Trump dramatically improved after Kim initiated diplomacy with Washington and Seoul in 2018 while attempting to leverage his nuclear arsenal for economic and security benefits. The nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang broke down in February when a summit between Kim and Trump collapsed over mismatched demands in sanctions relief and disarmament.