- - Tuesday, April 17, 2012

SANTIAGO, Chile — A magnitude-6.7 earthquake shook central Chile late Monday, prompting authorities to order the evacuation of a stretch of coastline and causing hundreds of people in the capital to flee buildings in panic.

There were no reports of major damage, but authorities in the port city of Valparaiso said a 72-year-old man died of a heart attack during the quake. The earthquake was felt for almost a minute in Valparaiso and the capital, Santiago.

The U.S. Geological Survey initially put the quake’s magnitude at 6.5 but later raised it to 6.7. Its epicenter was 26 miles northeast of Valparaiso, and it had a depth of 23 miles. It struck just minutes before midnight local time Monday.

The Chilean navy’s hydrographic and oceanographic service discounted the possibility of a tsunami, but authorities maintained an order for people to move to higher ground along a roughly 500-mile stretch of coastline running from the city of Constitucion to Tongoy, north of the capital.

Thousands of people were later allowed to return home, said Deputy Interior Secretary Rodrigo Ubilla.


Tourist kidnapped by al Qaeda heads home

OUAGADOUGOU — An Italian tourist abducted in Algeria by al Qaeda’s North African branch headed home Tuesday night after spending more than a year in captivity.

Maria Sandra Mariani boarded a plane in the West African nation of Burkina Faso that had been sent by the Italian government.

“I thank [Burkina Faso] President Blaise Compaore. He contributed to my freedom, and they got me out of hell,” she said at the main military base in Ouagadougou before taking off.


Former rebel wins presidential election

DILI — Former guerrilla Taur Matan Ruak has won East Timor’s presidential runoff by a wide margin, preliminary results showed Tuesday, in a pivotal year for the nation almost a decade after independence.

Mr. Ruak, who had campaigned in military fatigues to highlight his role in the fight against Indonesian occupation, won 61.23 percent of the vote, according to figures from the elections secretariat, which organized Monday’s polls

His challenger Francisco Guterres, also a hero in the independence struggle, trailed far behind with 38.77 percent, according to the count.


Bin Laden’s family deported to Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD — Osama bin Laden’s three widows and their nine children were scheduled to be deported to Saudi Arabia overnight, almost a year after U.S. Navy SEALs killed the al Qaeda chief at a compound in northwest Pakistan, their lawyer said Tuesday.

The family was detained by Pakistani authorities immediately after the pre-dawn raid May 2 in Abbottabad. The American commandos left them behind but took bin Laden’s body, which they later buried at sea.

The relatives were interrogated by Pakistani officials and eventually charged last month with illegally entering and living in the country.

They were convicted April 2 and sentenced to 45 days in prison, with credit for about a month served. Their prison term, which was spent at a well-guarded house in Islamabad, ended Tuesday.


Ex-Nigerian governor sentenced to 13 years

LONDON — A former governor of Nigeria’s oil-rich Delta state was sentenced in Britain on Tuesday to 13 years in prison for fraud and money laundering.

James Ibori admitted in February to fraud and money laundering involving sums of approximately $80 million. He was accused of stealing $250 million from the public purse and funneling much of the stolen funds to banks in England to fund a lavish lifestyle of private jets and luxury cars.

Ibori’s guilty pleas capped an inquiry that began in association with Nigerian anti-corruption investigators in 2005. Ibori was immune from prosecution in Nigeria between 1999 and 2007 when he was serving as governor of Delta state, police said.

Prosecutors and police have said Ibori used the money to buy houses in London and Johannesburg, a fleet of armored Land Rovers and a $20 million private jet. He racked up credit card bills of $200,000 a month.


Beijing plans naval drills with Moscow

BEIJING — China and Russia will conduct a joint maritime drill next week in the Yellow Sea off China’s eastern coast, a state-owned news agency reported Tuesday.

The official Xinhua News Agency said that the April 22 to 27 drill will focus on maritime defense and protection of navigation. It said the drill will involve 16 vessels, including destroyers, frigates, support and hospital ships, and two submarines.

Xinhua said four warships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet have left Vladivostok for the exercise.

China and Russia have conducted several joint military exercises since 2005 within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The group includes several Central Asian countries and aims to promote regional cooperation and check U.S. influence.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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