[Updated at 4:27 p.m. Tuesday ET] A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck off the western coast of western Indonesia's Sumatra island early Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but witnesses reported only minor shaking on land.
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The quake, which happened at 12:37 a.m. local time (1:37 p.m. Tuesday ET) at a depth of 18.1 miles, was centered in the Indian Ocean about 262 miles southwest of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, and 590 miles west of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the USGS said.
Indonesian authorities issued a tsunami warning for the area, but the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no threat of a massive wave like the one that devastated the region in 2004.
There were no immediate reports of damage, and hotel clerks contacted by CNN reported only mild shaking. One front desk clerk in Aceh said a few hotel guests went outside when the quake hit, but most weren't awakened.
In December 2004, Indonesia and a number of other countries were hard hit by a tsunami generated by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake off northern Sumatra. The tsunami and earthquake killed more than 280,000 people in 14 countries - mainly India, Indonesia, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The Indonesian region of Banda Aceh was hard-hit: About 150,000 died there.
An 8-year-old girl who was swept away from her mother's arms during the 2004 tsunami that hit Indonesia has been found alive and reunited with her parents, according to the Indonesian state news agency Antara.
The girl, who was identified by state news only as Wati, now 15, was reportedly discovered nearly seven years after the tsunami devastated the coastlines of Asia.
An earthquake with an estimated magnitude of between 9.1 to 9.3 strikes the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, and triggered a deadly tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Wati was in the village of Ujong Baroh when flood waters came crashing in.
"Her mother, Yusniar, was trying to take her and her two siblings to a safe place, but somehow she lost her grip on her mother's arm and was carried away by the rushing waters, leaving her mother powerless to help her," the state news agency said. "Yusniar was able to save her two other children, but she and the rest of the family eventually had to resign themselves to the notion that Wati was lost as she never returned nor had anybody in the neighborhood seen her again dead or alive."
At least two people are dead and as many as 170 missing after a wooden boat carrying migrants to the Australian territory of Christmas Island sunk off the coast of Indonesia, a rescue official said early Sunday.
The boat was carrying more than 200 people when it left Indonesia's East Java province, according to Angipp Satoto of the Indonesian search-and-rescue team. Nearly 90 people were rescued from the water, he said.
Indonesian authorities are working with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in the rescue efforts, Satoto said.
Most of those aboard the ship were Indonesians. Others aboard were of Afghan, Iranian, Turkish, French and Saudi Arabian origin, Satoto said.
A crowded boat carrying asylum seekers capsized off the coast of the island of Java in Indonesia on Tuesday, leaving six people dead, officials said.
Another 37 were rescued, the Indonesian Search and Rescue Agency said. Some others were missing.
A total of 70 people are believed to have been on board, officials said.
Search and rescue teams from Jakarta and Bandung, West Java, are helping in the search.
The agency said the wooden ship left the town of Cilacap, West Java, and was bound for Australia. The asylum seekers were from Iraq, Iran and Pakistan, an agency official said.
Several blogs are buzzing Tuesday after a Long Island math teacher and well known local surfer went missing Sunday off the coast of West Lampung, Sumatra. Waves are notoriously treacherous off that area of the Indonesian island. They are typically 12 feet or higher. CNN's iReport received a video of friends of the surfer holding candlelit vigil.
Daniel Bobis, who taught at Long Beach High School, founded the school's winning surf team and the first competitive group in the state. A colleague at the school told the Long Beach Patch, a local news website, that the "rescue efforts are horrible there" because the area where he was surfing is so remote.
"It was just a day like any other here," Brian Lonergan, another surfer who was with Bobis, told the New York Post. "Danny had just taken a wave before me. I couldn't see him, and a few minutes later, his board washed up on the shore."
Lonergan, Bobis' wife, Rachel, and the owner of a surf camp where the three were staying scoured the beach for the next 11 hours, the Post reports. A rescue team began searching after that.
Lonergan told the newspaper that the water wasn't particularly rough. "And there was nothing really abnormal about the size of the waves either. Danny is a really capable surfer and a really capable swimmer."
He and the missing surfer's family are trying to work with local officials in Sumatra and get the United States Consulate to help by sending a rescue helicopter, according to the Post.
In today's Gotta Watch, we're looking at the awesome power of some of the planet's most active volcanoes. From the easy-to-pronounce Mount St. Helens to another whose name you best not try to utter unless you're sitting down.
Mount St. Helens - On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, becoming the most destructive volcano in United States history. An earthquake and subsequent landslide triggered a series of eruptions and a massive ash cloud. The blast was reportedly so powerful it was felt as far away as Canada. The eruption claimed the lives of 57 people and injured many more.
Eyjafjallajokull - Often refered to simply as "the Icelandic volcano" due to its tongue twister of a name, Eyjafjallajokull wreaked havoc for international travelers for the better part of a week back in 2010. At its peak, the crisis affected 1.2 million passengers a day and 29 percent of all global aviation, according to the International Air Transport Association, becoming the worst disruption of air traffic since the September 11 terrorist attacks back in 2001.
Merapi - The Merapi volcano's most recent eruption began on October 26, 2010. It killed hundreds of people and displaced more than 200,000. The Indonesian volcano's recent eruptions released about 140 million cubic meters of magma, the National Agency for Disaster Management said.
Mount Vesuvius - Just short of 2,000 years ago, the city of Pompeii was wiped off the map by a historic eruption that buried an entire city in ash. Pompeii is now a major tourist attraction and is considered one of Italy's most important archaeological sites.
The United States' image in four Middle Eastern nations and the Palestinian territories largely doesn't appear to have improved during anti-government uprisings that have shaken regimes in the region, a survey from the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project found.
Fewer people in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon view the United States favorably now than in 2010, while small gains were seen in Egypt - where an uprising toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak earlier this year - and the Palestinian territories, according to the survey.
Pew said America's image also dipped in the two other predominantly Muslim nations that were surveyed: Pakistan and Indonesia.
The results of the survey, which was taken between March 21 and April 26, come as U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to deliver on Thursday a highly anticipated address on U.S. policy toward the "Arab Spring" uprisings that have shaken autocratic regimes across North Africa and the Middle East.
Scientists have found eight potentially new species of reef fish and a potentially new species of bubble coral in waters surrounding the Indonesian island of Bali, according to Conservation International.
The fish and coral were found by a team of 10 scientists during a two-week marine survey that ended Wednesday, said Mark Erdmann, senior adviser for CI’s marine program.
Erdmann said he is 99.9% sure the fish are newly discovered species. With Bali being a well-traveled tourism destination with lots of diving, the new find “tells us there’s still a bit of mystery there.”
“We find that intriguing, knowing that there’s things there that we don’t even know about,” Erdmann said in a phone interview Sunday night.
The species haven’t been named. Erdmann said the fish, with their genus in parenthesis, are:
In the botanical sciences greenhouse at Ohio State University, "Woody," a titan arum, bloomed Saturday for the first time after growing for nearly 10 years.
The plant, commonly called a "corpse flower" because of its pungent odor, is the second cultivated titan arum to blossom this weekend. In Switzerland, a botanical garden is getting a whiff of its own titan arum.
“(The leaves) began to open just a little bit after 4 p.m. and it was fully open at 9:30 p.m.,” Ohio State greenhouse coordinator Joan Leonard told CNN Sunday.
Parts of Indonesia are under siege by swarms of hairy caterpillars, which are getting into homes and causing skin rashes, according to local news reports.
“The caterpillars are very disturbing. They crawl into the house and make our skin itch for days. They have long hairs,” a Jakarta resident identified as Nurhayati told the Jakarta Globe.
A caterpillar swarm was first reported in East Java two weeks ago, according to the Globe, and new swarms have been observed in Bekasi, West Java, and Buleleng, Bali.
A magnitude-6.7 earthquake struck off the coast of Indonesia early Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
No widespread, destructive tsunami is expected, but there is a small possibility of a local tsunami that could affect coasts less than 100 kilometers from the quake's epicenter, the U.S. National Weather Service's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said.
Remote video cameras in Indonesia's Ujung Kulon National Park have photographed images of two Javan rhino calves, bringing new hope for a species thought to number no more than 50 in the wild.
The calves, one male and one female, were recorded in November and December in the park in southwestern Java, the World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia said Monday.
The two calves bring to 14 the number of calves identified in the park in 10 years, according to the organization and park authorities.
Abu Bakar Bashir
More than 1,200 police will be at the ready as radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir goes on trial on terrorism charges Thursday in Jakarta, according to reports from Indonesia.
Hundreds of the cleric's supporters were expected to rally outside the court Thursday, but only a few will be allowed inside the courtroom, the Jakarta Post reported.
Bashir, 72, faces charges including funding and inciting others to terrorism and planning and attempting acts of terrorism. Under Indonesia's anti-terrorism law, some of these charges carry the maximum penalty of death, according to a statement by the attorney general's office.
The charges stem from the discovery in February 2010 of a camp in Indonesia's Aceh province that was allegedly training agents for terrorist attacks on Western targets in Jakarta.
Bashir has been through two previous terrorism trials, over the 2002 bombings in Bali that killed more than 200 people and the 2003 JW Marriott bomb attack in Jakarta that left a dozen dead.
The courts found him guilty of relatively minor charges in the Bali case. He was released in June 2006 after serving 25 months in jail.
The catastrophic weather events taking place across the globe – from Brazil’s and Australia’s flooding to the Eastern United States’ heavy snowfall – have two likely explanations.
Tony Barnston, lead forecaster at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said two phenomena – La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation – are likely responsible for the patterns we’re seeing.
Though La Niña is different every time, it can be simply defined as a drop in water temperature in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. This particular La Niña appeared in July, Barnston said, and will last through spring.
During La Niña, there is less rainfall in the tropical Pacific and a horseshoe pattern of warm water typically forms in the North Pacific, the coast of Southeast Asia and the seas around Indonesia and Australia (check out the graphic above).
In this case, though, “the whole globe looks to be compensating,” Barnston said, noting that it’s difficult to determine if La Niña spawns individual weather events.
The death toll from the recent eruptions of Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano has reached 206 and nearly 400,000 people have had to flee their homes, a national disaster official said Friday.
Mount Merapi, which looms on the horizon north of the major city of Yogyakarta, erupted October 26. It is located on the island of Java.
"Rescue workers recovered more bodies in the villages," said Haartje Robert Winerungan of the National Disaster Coordination Agency. "In total, there are 150 victims burned to death."
Indonesia and the United States share principles of unity and tolerance, and both can benefit from strengthened ties that will bolster trade and combat terrorism, President Obama said in a highly anticipated speech in Indonesia Wednesday.
The address at the University of Indonesia in Jakarta was considered a highlight of Obama's two-day stop in the southeast Asian nation where he spent four years of his childhood.
As the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia was chosen as the site for Obama to further address U.S. relations with the Islamic world following his speech on the topic last year in Cairo, Egypt.
He referred specifically to the Cairo speech of June 2009, noting he called there "for a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world - one that creates a path for us to move beyond our differences."
"I said then, and I will repeat now, that no single speech can eradicate years of mistrust," Obama said. At the same time, he promised that "no matter what setbacks may come, the United States is committed to human progress."
America "is not, and never will be, at war with Islam," Obama said. "Instead, all of us must defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates, who have no claim to be leaders of any religion - certainly not a great world religion like Islam."
U.S. President Barack Obama is officially shortening his visit to Indonesia because of fears that volcanic ash spewing from Mount Merapi could have grounded Air Force One, according to administration officials.
But Obama had enough time in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, Tuesday to fondly glimpse parts of the Asian land where he lived for part of his boyhood.
Hospital officials confirm 16 dead and 55 with severe burns from the most recent eruption by Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano Friday morning.
Read the full story on CNN.com.
[Updated at 11:02 a.m.] Indonesia's Mount Merapi volcano erupted several times Wednesday, and an earthquake struck off of the coast of Papua, Indonesia, far to the east of the volcano.
Mount Merapi, in central Java, spewed plumes intermittently for about five hours, sending out enough ash to prompt authorities to extend the danger zone an extra 5 km, to a 15 km radius from the volcano.
The extension forced thousands of evacuees to seek shelter farther away, a local journalist told CNN.
Mount Merapi's lava and ash have killed at least 39 people since it began erupting on October 26. An additional 74 have been injured and more than 71,000 people have been evacuated, according to Indonesia's National Disaster Management Board.
The death toll has gone up to 449 after a massive earthquake struck off Indonesia's coast, triggering a tsunami and leaving hundreds injured, authorities said Sunday.
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