New Zealand hit by af­ter­shocks after se­vere earth­quake

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Strong af­ter­shocks have roiled New Zealand fol­low­ing a 7.5mag­ni­tude earth­quake that killed two peo­ple.

The South Is­land has seen hun­dreds of tremors, in­clud­ing a 6.3mag­ni­tude quake, after the ini­tial one struck after mid­night yes­ter­day.

The epi­cen­tre is north­east of Christchurch, near the town of Kaik­oura which has been cut off by land­slides.

A large river dammed up by a land­slide also breached its banks, send­ing a “large wall of wa­ter” down­stream.

Res­i­dents around the Clarence River - one of the largest on South Is­land - were be­ing urged to move im­me­di­ately to higher ground.

The af­ter­shocks have left some com­mu­ni­ties with­out power and wa­ter, although au­thor­i­ties are slowly restor­ing sup­plies.

GeoNet, a gov­ern­ment-funded project mon­i­tor­ing earth­quakes, said the first earth­quake was ac­tu­ally two re­lated tremors, and that af­ter­shocks would con­tinue over the next few months.

Au­thor­i­ties have spent the night and day res­cu­ing and evac­u­at­ing res­i­dents along the east coast.

New Zealand me­dia re­ported that a 100-year-old woman and her daugh­ter-in-law were pulled out alive from their home in the town of Kaik­oura, after the house col­lapsed in the first earth­quake. The younger woman’s hus­band died.

A woman also died at Mount Ly­ford, south­west of Kaik­oura, though there are re­ports she may have died from an ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tion.

Waves of around 2m hit the coast shortly after the first earth­quake. Au­thor­i­ties have since lifted a tsunami alert, but are still warn­ing peo­ple to stay away from the shore­line.

Res­i­dents in Christchurch and sur­round­ing towns have rushed to stock up on ba­sic sup­plies. Some schools in the af­fected area have re­mained closed yes­ter­day.

Kaik­oura, a pop­u­lar tourist des­ti­na­tion with a pop­u­la­tion of about 3,600, saw its main road blocked by land­slides, with telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, wa­ter and power sup­plies cut off.

The mil­i­tary and fire ser­vice have dis­patched teams in he­li­copters and a navy ship to the town, and some peo­ple are be­ing air­lifted out.

New­shub shared a video of three cows left stranded on a tiny is­land after the sur­round­ing earth col­lapsed from land­slides near Kaik­oura.

Prime Min­is­ter John Key told re­porters that he be­lieved the num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties would re­main low, while civil de­fence min­is­ter Gerry Brown­lee said dam­age to in­fra­struc­ture ap­peared to be the big­gest prob­lem.

One ex­pert told TVNZ that the low num­ber of fa­tal­i­ties may have been due to the fact that the first quake struck in the mid­dle of the night.

“Peo­ple were safe in their homes, homes might get dam­aged but they’re safer for the peo­ple in­side,” said Ken El­wood from the Univer­sity of Auck­land.

The quake was also felt in Wellington on the North Is­land, where the city’s cen­tral busi­ness district (CBD) re­mained quiet on Mon­day as workers cleared de­bris and checked build­ings.

Res­i­dent Adam Roland told the BBC: “The CBD’s been closed off so most peo­ple are ei­ther work­ing from home or not work­ing to­day.”

GeoNet said the first quake was the strong­est to have hit New Zealand since a 7.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake in 2009 in a re­mote area of the South Is­land.

New Zealand lies on the Ring of Fire, the fault line that cir­cles vir­tu­ally the en­tire Pa­cific Rim bring­ing fre­quent quakes and vol­canic erup­tions.

Christchurch is still re­cov­er­ing from a 2011 earth­quake that killed 185 peo­ple and de­stroyed the city cen­tre.

Teenage mag­a­zine sparks anger over ‘vic­tim-blam­ing’ rape ad­vice

An ad­vice colum­nist’s re­sponse to a let­ter about rape has sparked an an­gry back­lash in Sin­ga­pore and ac­cu­sa­tions of vic­tim-blam­ing. In the let­ter to Teenage mag­a­zine’s agony aunt, the writer, ap­par­ently a teenage girl, said she was raped by a friend and had “no-one to turn to”. The Dear Kelly colum­nist said in re­ply that she had “acted like a girl who had been around” and should be “grate­ful he wore a con­dom”. It also added that she was too “naive”. The teenage girl re­counted a se­ries of events in which she had lied to her par­ents to stay over at a boy’s place un­su­per­vised. She drank wine for the first time and had kissed and cud­dled the boy be­fore he started to un­dress her. She said she had had too much to drink and did not protest. She adds that she was un­able to re­mem­ber any­thing after, but found her­self naked in bed the next morn­ing be­side him when he told her that he “didn’t know” she was a vir­gin. Kelly Chopard, the writer be­hind the col­umn, said the vic­tim had “acted like a girl who has been around”. “You gave the idea that ev­ery­thing was okay, you ac­cepted wine, then there was the danc­ing, kiss­ing,” she said in her col­umn. “You can’t blame him for think­ing a sex­ual con­nec­tion was all right. Frankly, I un­der­stand why the guy mis­un­der­stood.” It added that the girl was “naive and in­ex­pe­ri­enced”, adding that she could “be grate­ful that he wore a con­dom so there is lit­tle fear of an un­planned preg­nancy or STD”. Ms Chopard is known for her “tough love and no-non­sense ad­vice”, ac­cord­ing to Teenage mag­a­zine. While it is not known whether the let­ter, pub­lished last week, was gen­uine - nor whether the al­leged rape was re­ported to po­lice - the mag­a­zine’s re­sponse was widely con­demned. “Can’t be­lieve this back­ward, sex­ist and vic­tim-blam­ing non­sense got pub­lished,” said one user on Face­book. “This is the rea­son why girls are afraid to re­port rape. This is the rea­son why men feel like they can get away with it,” said an­other user. “How dare you, as a writer who is sup­posed to pro­vide guid­ance, send this kind of mes­sage?” “To think I used to love this mag­a­zine,” read an­other com­ment on Face­book. “This is dis­gust­ing.” The mag­a­zine, Sin­ga­pore’s old­est youth pub­li­ca­tion, later re­sponded with an of­fi­cial state­ment on Face­book, apol­o­gis­ing and say­ing they did not mean to “lead to the im­pres­sion that rape is ac­cept­able”. Ms Chopard also re­sponded with her own apol­ogy, put out by the mag­a­zine. She apol­o­gised, but de­nied blam­ing the vic­tim.

‘Mike Pence’ gifts to abortion provider surge

Do­na­tions to US abortion provider Planned Par­ent­hood in the name of Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Mike Pence have surged. Don­ald Trump’s run­ning mate, who has been a long-time op­po­nent of Planned Par­ent­hood, will be sent a gift cer­tifi­cate for ev­ery do­na­tion made. The cam­paign, aimed at em­bar­rass­ing Mr Pence, be­gan in 2011 when as an In­di­ana con­gress­man he in­tro­duced sev­eral anti-abortion mea­sures. They in­cluded the first bill to strip the provider of all fed­eral fund­ing. In March this year, as In­di­ana gover­nor, Mr Pence signed an anti-abortion bill that is seen as one of the most re­stric­tive in the US, bar­ring abortion in In­di­ana on the ba­sis of dis­abil­ity, gen­der or race of the foe­tus. Parts of that law were blocked by the courts, but not un­til after a so­cial me­dia back­lash which saw women phon­ing or tweet­ing Mr Pence de­tails about their men­strual cy­cles un­der the hash tag #pe­ri­ods­for­pence. Mike Pence’s anti-abortion stance mir­rors that of Pres­i­dent-elect Trump, who wants to cut fund­ing to Planned Par­ent­hood, and who has in the past said women should be pun­ished for un­der­go­ing an abortion if it were made il­le­gal, though he later with­drew the state­ment. There had al­ready been a sig­nif­i­cant rise in gifts to the coun­try’s big­gest abortion provider in the wake of Mr Trump’s elec­tion last week. But then over the weekend, many women went on so­cial me­dia to say they had made a do­na­tion in Mike Pence’s name.

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