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A powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 8.2 struck off the coast of Chile tonight, strong enough to be felt nearly 300 miles away in the Bolivian capital, and triggering a small tsunami.
 
Five people are confirmed dead - four men and one woman, Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Penailillo said. The victims died from either cardiac arrest or falling debris.
 
The quake, which was centered 61 miles west-northwest of Iquique, and was 6.21 miles deep, was initially measured at 8.0, but was later upgraded, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
 
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said a six-foot tsunami hit Pisagua, Chile, at 8:04 p.m. ET. There was some damage reported on roads linking northern towns between Iquique and Alto Auspicio.
A tsunami warning for countries in the area - including Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama - was canceled.
 
An advisory remains in effect for Hawaii, but the waves aren't expected to cause much damage, Gerard Fryer, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, told ABC News.
 
"The waves will not be big enough to cause any flooding, so nobody needs to evacuate. But we just want to clear the beaches. And fortunately, since it's 3:30 in the morning, that's really no hardship," Fryer said.
 
“The biggest worry is the currents. If anyone is in the water, you know fishing or something like that, they could get banged up or swept out to sea or something.”
 
The northern part of Chile is being declared a disaster zone and armed forces are on their way to the area, President Michelle Bachelet said at an overnight press conference. The presidents of Peru and Argentina have called, lending support if needed, Bachelet said.
 
The earthquake was so strong that the shaking it caused in La Paz, Bolivia, 290 miles from the epicenter, was the equivalent of a 4.5-magnitude tremor, authorities there said. The quake triggered at least eight strong aftershocks in the first few hours, including a 6.2 tremor.
 
In Chile, evacuation orders were issued for the cities of Arica, Iquique and Antofagasta. All cities were along a low coast and each evacuation involved a significant climb to higher land further inland.
 
Salvador Urrutia, the mayor of Arica, said there were minor injuries in the city but no deaths reported. Some homes were damaged, but the modern structures and taller buildings were not damaged.
 
He said the city was without power and had no cellphone service.
 
Despite the fear caused by the evacuation order, which was not limited to the coast, he said people remained calm.
Read more...
DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler is recalling nearly 870,000 SUVs because corrosion may make the vehicles' brakes harder to use.
 
Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs from the 2011 through 2014 model years are involved.
 
Chrysler says crimp joints in the brake boosters can corrode if they're exposed to water. If the water freezes, the boosters won't aid braking as they usually do.
 
Chrysler began investigating after some customers said their brakes felt too firm when pressed down. The company knows of one accident, but no injuries, due to the defect.
 
Dealers will install a shield to protect the boosters for free and replace boosters that aren't working properly.
 
Chrysler has since changed the design to make the boosters more corrosion resistant.
 
Chrysler will notify owners of the recall, which involves 867,795 vehicles.
Read more...
KUALA LUMPUR (ABC) - The head of the International Air Transport Association vowed today that no airplane will ever go missing again by making sure that in the future "planes can be tracked in real time."
 
Tony Tyler, director general of the airline trade association, spoke at an industry seminar at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in a meeting dominated by the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
 
“We cannot let another aircraft simply vanish,” Tyler told the association of airline executives.
 
But, the industry made similar calls following the crash into the Atlantic Ocean of Air France 447 in June 2009. The search for wreckage and the black boxes took two years and cost $135 million.
 
Even that was not the first accident in which the cockpit voice and flight data recorders were difficult to find. Over the past 30 years, there have been 26 accidents in which underwater searches were required lasting from three days to more than three months, according to the French accident investigation agency the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses. In 2010 the BEA asked the International Civil Aviation Organization to require streaming of flight data or installation of breakaway floating data recorders.
 
So far the only change has been to require a 90 day life for the battery on the black box pinger. The plane flying as MH370 had not yet had the longer life battery installed.
 
Possible fixes are complex as the industry tries to decide “what should be considered and what are the technologies that can be used,” Tyler said. ICAO and the satellite company Inmarsat, whose data helped direct the recovery effort to the South Indian Ocean, are two industry entities already discussing what technology could be used on airliners.
 
Pressed to explain what made this situation different from Air France, Tyler would only say that this time things would change. “We must assure this cannot happen again.”
 
The day was also marked by having the head of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation expel the press from his speech, seven minutes into what seemed to be one of the first public detailed explanations into the last known minutes of Flight 370.
 
“The last data from the aircraft was at 1:07 in the morning,” Azharuddin Abdul Rahman started to say to a room filled with airline executives and about a dozen reporters.
 
Then he stopped abruptly and asked, “Is there any media here? Can I ask the media to stay out please?”
 
Expelling the reporters came as a surprise to the association. A spokesman for IATA said Azharuddin had been told the day before that reporters would be in attendance. There were cameras in the back of the room and a number of local journalists in addition to ABC News.
 
Afterwards, as he left the hotel, Azharuddin declined to answer questions or explain his behavior. Tyler said allowances had to be made for the Mayalsians who have been under tremendous pressure since the Boeing 777 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing on March 8.
 
“Malaysia has had an extremely difficult time,” Tyler said reminding reporters that more than three weeks has passed and still no one knows what has happened to flight MH370. “I for one would not like to criticize them. If mistakes were made, they’ll learn from them.”
 
Read more...

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