Temblors shake country
Three earthquakes with an average magnitude of 4.8 on the Richter scale hit the country yesterday. Southland civil defense said that yesterday’s shocks had not injured anyone. There also appeared to be very little property damage. The first and largest of the three quakes struck at 4:40am and measured 5.1 on the Richter scale. It was centered 160km west of Tuatapere. The other two quakes occurred 80km west of Te Anau and measured 4.5 and 4.9 respectively. There have been 16 earthquakes in the South Island region of Fiordland since Wednesday, when there was a magnitude-7.8 shake. The country is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone areas, recording about 14,000 a year, though only 100 to 150 are strong enough to be felt. Civil defense officials said the quake should come as a wake-up call to people to prepare for a similarly large quake in a populated area.
Terror trial adjourned
The trial of the five accused of involvement in last year’s terror attacks on the Indian city of Mumbai has been adjourned until next week, the defense lawyer said yesterday. A total of 166 people died and more than 300 were injured in the Nov. 26 to Nov. 29 attacks, which saw 10 heavily-armed gunmen target luxury hotels, the city’s main railway station, a popular restaurant and Jewish center. “The hearing has been adjourned till July 25 and I was given access to the accused persons,” defense lawyer Shahbaz Rajput said. “Judge Baqar Ali Rana allowed me to meet the accused persons and I have filed documents to defend them,” he said. “We have requested the court that we should be provided details of evidence against us so that we can prepare the defense.”
Taliban hideout bombed
Government warplanes flattened a suspected Taliban hideout in the volatile northwest early yesterday, killing nine associates of Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, intelligence officials said. The military has targeted Mehsud and his militant network in recent months in the tribal regions along the border with Afghanistan. The Taliban leader is accused of orchestrating the killing of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007 and launching a string of suicide attacks across the country in recent months that have killed more than 100 people. Early yesterday, fighter jets destroyed hideouts of Mehsud’s deputy, Hakim Ullah, in the Orakzai region, part of the lawless tribal belt.
Pornography too accessible
Eighty percent of schoolchildren in the special administrative region have accessed pornography online, a survey published yesterday showed. Students download pornography for the first time at an average age of 11 and the majority do so on computers at home, the survey by the Polytechnic University found. More than 40 percent gained access to pornographic material through pop-up adverts. Almost 20 percent said they looked at pornography for entertainment while 14 percent claimed they used it to learn about sex. Social worker Tammy Sin, who helped carry out interviews with 1,500 pupils in primary and secondary schools, said the survey highlighted the need for better sex education in school. “Sex education should embrace moral education, through which adolescents can learn how to respect each other,” she told the South China Morning Post, which carried the survey results.