Saudis are safe after 7.3-magnitude quake hits Japan

Updated 08 December 2012
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Saudis are safe after 7.3-magnitude quake hits Japan

TOKYO: A one-meter-high tsunami hit northeast Japan yesterday after a powerful undersea quake struck off the coast.
Broadcasters urged residents along the shoreline to remember the 2011 catastrophe and move to higher ground when the initial tremors rocked the region.
Meanwhile, the Saudi cultural attaché in Japan, Essam Bukhary, reported that all Saudi citizens are safe following the quake and 6.2 aftershock.
“The cultural mission office was in contact with each of the three Saudi students and their families in Sendai,” Bukhary said. “Everyone reported to be well with no injuries.”
Telephone systems jammed up with the sheer volume of calls, complicating officials’ efforts to evacuate exposed areas until the tsunami warning was lifted two hours later. Meteorologists said the wave swept ashore just after 6 p.m. in Ishinomaki, a city badly hit by the 2011 quake-generated tsunami that wrecked a large swathe of coast, killing thousands. There were no immediate reports of any fatalities following the quake, which had a magnitude of 7.3, according to the United States Geological Survey.
Several smaller tsunamis were also recorded, including a 40-centimeter wave at Soma, a city that lies just outside the evacuation zone declared around the Fukushima nuclear plant after meltdowns there last year.
Operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) told AFP there were no reports of any problems at the crippled plant.
Broadcaster NHK reported 5,000 people had fled in Miyagi prefecture, a region devastated in last year’s disaster. Officials in Minamisanriku, Miyagi prefecture, said they were doing their best to get people to safety, but were running into technical difficulties.
“We are now calling on people to evacuate to higher ground,” town official Ryuichi Omori told AFP shortly after the quake struck. “It’s already pitch dark here. Phones — both landlines and mobiles — are not going through now, which makes it difficult to see people’s movement.
“The quake was not so big, although it felt very long. It was not big at all compared with last year’s earthquake. The town office is now setting up a disaster taskforce.”
A presenter on state broadcaster NHK repeatedly urged viewers to get to safety after the initial tremors, which set Tokyo buildings swaying violently. “Remember last year’s quake and tsunami,” he said. “Call on your neighbors and flee to higher ground now!”
The 7.3 quake struck 36 kilometers (23 miles) under the Pacific, the US Geological Survey said, with an epicenter 284 kilometers (176 miles) east of Sendai. It was followed by a 6.2 aftershock and another tremor measuring 5.5.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning, one notch lower than a tsunami alert, for the Pacific coast of Iwate, Fukushima, Aomori and Ibaraki prefectures. The agency lifted the warning around two hours later.
A spokesman for TEPCO said the quake had passed off without incident at the wrecked power station. “No abnormalities have been recorded on instruments at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s six reactors,” a TEPCO spokesman said.
“All workers were ordered to take shelter inside buildings at the Fukushima plant.
“No abnormalities were confirmed with the radiation monitoring posts at the Fukushima plant. No abnormalities were seen with the water processing facilities.” NHK reported 10 people were hurt, including a 36-year-old woman in Ibaraki prefecture, who suffered injuries after a closet fell on her. None of the injuries was thought to be serious, the broadcaster said.


Transport systems in the region were briefly interrupted, but normal service was resumed a short time later.


Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

Updated 22 April 2018
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Man killed in random knife attack at California steakhouse

  • The victim was dining with his family when the suspect came and stabbed him without warning
  • Police say suspect is a felon who had been convicted for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse since the 1990s

LOS ANGELES: A homeless man who randomly stabbed a patron in a crowded Southern California restaurant to death as he was holding his daughter was reported just a few hours earlier for disruptive behavior, but police ultimately determined he was not a threat, authorities said Saturday.
Jamal Jackson, 49, is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele. He was being held in Ventura County jail on a $1.5 million bail. It was unclear if Jackson, who is also a convicted felon, had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
Mele and his wife were eating dinner with their 5-year-old daughter Wednesday at Aloha Steakhouse in the seaside city of Ventura. The girl was sitting on her father’s lap when prosecutors say Jackson walked up and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Prosecutor Richard Simon said customers and a restaurant employee followed Jackson out of the restaurant, even though he still had the knife. They kept track of him until Ventura police arrived and arrested him.
Mele was taken to a hospital and died Thursday after being taken off life support.
“It’s horrible,” Simon said. “You don’t think you’re going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family and you didn’t do anything.”
Simon said the two men had not interacted before the attack.
“He was just sitting there with his daughter in his lap,” Simon said. “You’re not supposed to die that way.”
Mele’s loved ones started a GoFundMe page to help raise money for a funeral and to support his wife and daughter.
Mele’s Facebook page was filled with photos of his daughter and said he was a manager at an AT&T store.
Police confirmed that a bystander reported a man — who turned out to be Jackson — for disruptive behavior several hours before the stabbing.
According to the bystander, a man was yelling on the promenade not far from the beachside restaurant about three hours before the attack.
Patrol officers were out on other calls so command center staff monitored the man via a pier security camera system for more than 20 minutes before deciding he didn’t seem to be a threat, police said.
Police are asking anyone who spoke with Jackson during that time to contact investigators in the city 70 miles (113 kilometers) northwest of Los Angeles.
Jackson also had half a dozen contacts with police in Ventura since the beginning of the year, including an arrest after a physical fight at a park, said Commander Tom Higgins.
He was also stopped on March 31 after a passer-by reported he was brandishing a knife. Police searched his bag and found a knife but there was no victim so no charge was filed, Higgins said.
Jackson has a lengthy rap sheet including charges in San Bernardino County, Higgins said, as well as convictions for burglary and unlawful sexual intercourse dating back to the 1990s.
The killing prompted the Ventura City Council to increase police patrols in the area and add staff members to monitor security cameras, among other measures.
“We are extremely disheartened and infuriated by this criminal attack,” Mayor Neal Andrews said in a statement. “We will not tolerate this in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety of our visitors, residents and businesses.”
If convicted, Jackson faces up to 55 years in prison.