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Archive for January 20th, 2010

Haiti Aftershock: 6.1 Earthquake Near Port-au-Prince

PAUL HAVEN and MICHELLE FAUL | 01/20/10 08:08 AM | AP

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A powerful new earthquake struck Haiti on Wednesday, shaking rubble from damaged buildings and sending screaming people running into the streets only eight days after the country’s capital was devastated by an apocalyptic quake.

The magnitude-6.1 temblor was the largest aftershock yet to the Jan. 12 quake. The extent of additional damage or injuries was not immediately clear.

Wails of terror rose from frightened survivors as the earth shuddered at 6:03 a.m. U.S. soldiers and tent city refugees alike raced for open ground, and clouds of dust rose in the capital.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of Port-au-Prince and was 13.7 miles (22 kilometers) below the surface.

Last week’s magnitude-7 quake killed an estimated 200,000 people in Haiti, left 250,000 injured and made 1.5 million homeless, according to the European Union Commission.

A massive international aid effort has been struggling with logistical problems, and many Haitians are still desperate for food and water.

Still, search-and-rescue teams have emerged from the ruins with some improbable success stories – including the rescue of 69-year-old ardent Roman Catholic who said she prayed constantly during her week under the rubble.

Ena Zizi had been at a church meeting at the residence of Haiti’s Roman Catholic archbishop when the Jan. 12 quake struck, trapping her in debris. On Tuesday, she was rescued by a Mexican disaster team.

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Police: Suspect In 8 Va. Slayings Surrenders

by The Associated Press via NPR

January 20, 2010

Virginia State Police say a suspect in the shooting deaths of eight people at a rural home has surrendered without incident.

Sgt. Thomas Molnar says 39-year-old Christopher Speight (Spite) approached officers at the crime scene at about 7:10 a.m. Wednesday and turned himself in.

Molnar says Speight was being taken to an undisclosed location to be interviewed. Charges are pending.

Schools were shutdown in a rural Virginia county as police searched for the suspect Wednesday who they believe killed eight people at a nearby home and forced down a police helicopter after shooting its fuel tank.

The drama began around noon Tuesday when a victim was spotted barely alive along the side of a narrow, undivided country road.

A deputy who answered the emergency call heard more gunshots and soon the area just about 3 miles from the state police district headquarters was filled with law enforcement from all over, with more than 100 responding. The injured man died on the way to the hospital, said state police Sgt. Thomas Molnar.

Earlier, as teams tried to catch the gunman, he fired at the helicopter trying to flush him out, police said. One or more rounds struck the helicopter, forcing it down, but no police were injured.

Police refused to speculate on a motive. Molnar gave no background on the suspect, saying not much was known about him. Speight’s last known address was along the block lined with modest ranch and Cape Cod-style homes where the shootings occurred, but Molnar did not know if the suspect was still living there.

Police did not release the victims’ names or the suspect’s possible relationship to them. All the victims were adults and both men and women were killed, Molnar said.

He would not say if all the victims were shot at the home where most of the bodies were found. He also would not say whether the shootings happened at Speight’s address or another house.

Speight was not listed as an offender on the Virginia Department of Corrections Web site and a search for his name on the Appomattox County courts site came up with no matches.

Appomattox is in a county of about 15,000, best known as the place where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War.

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Massachusetts Senate Race Results: Scott Brown Defeats Martha Coakley

GLEN JOHNSON and LIZ SIDOTI | 01/19/10 10:50 PM | AP

BOSTON — In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.

Addressing an exuberant victory celebration Tuesday night, Brown declared he was “ready to go to Washington without delay” as the crowd chanted, “Seat him now.” Democrats indicated they would, deflating a budding controversy over whether they would try to block Brown long enough to complete congressional passage of the health care plan he has promised to oppose.

“The people of Massachusetts have spoken. We welcome Scott Brown to the Senate and will move to seat him as soon as the proper paperwork has been received,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said he would notify the Senate on Wednesday that Brown had been elected.

The loss by the once-favored Democrat Martha Coakley in the Democratic stronghold was a stunning embarrassment for the White House after Obama rushed to Boston on Sunday to try to save the foundering candidate. Her defeat on Tuesday signaled big political problems for the president’s party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.

Brown’s victory was the third major loss for Democrats in statewide elections since Obama became president. Republicans won governors’ seats in Virginia and New Jersey in November.

“I have no interest in sugarcoating what happened in Massachusetts,” said Sen. Robert Menendez, the head of the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee. “There is a lot of anxiety in the country right now. Americans are understandably impatient.”

Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the president’s health care legislation. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters. The trouble may go deeper: Democratic lawmakers could read the results as a vote against Obama’s broader agenda, weakening their support for the president. And the results could scare some Democrats from seeking office this fall.

The Republican will finish Kennedy’s unexpired term, facing re-election in 2012.

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