WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Strong earthquakes shook central New Zealand on Friday, damaging homes, destroying a bridge and sending office workers scrambling for cover in the capital. No serious injuries have been reported.
A magnitude-6.5 temblor struck just after 2:30 p.m. near the small South Island town of Seddon, and at least six aftershocks were 5.0 magnitude or stronger.
Several homes near the epicenter were severely damaged, with chimneys collapsing and roofs caving in, said police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn. She said a bridge was severely damaged on the main highway near Seddon, and that rocks and debris had fallen onto the road. Police closed a section of the highway.
Some buildings in Wellington, the capital, were evacuated, and items were knocked off shelves in places.
Police said a number of people were freed from Wellington elevators that stopped working. The initial temblor also forced the nation's stock exchange to close for more than an hour.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said there was no major damage to the city's infrastructure or office buildings. She said highways had become clogged as people left the city.
"We think this is business as usual," she said, "but it is going to take a little while for people to get home tonight."
The U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the initial temblor was 94 kilometers (58 miles) west of Wellington at a depth of 10 kilometers (6 miles).
A quake of similar strength in the same area three weeks ago broke water mains, smashed windows and downed power lines.
Caroline Little, a seismologist with New Zealand quake monitoring agency GeoNet, said the series of quakes since July had followed an unusual pattern.
"Normally you get a big quake and then the aftershocks get smaller in magnitude," she said.
Little said the July quake was on a fault line near Seddon that had not previously been mapped. She said it was too early to determine if Friday's quakes were on that same fault.
A different fault line runs through Wellington, and many in the city fear a major disaster if it were to become active.
New Zealand is part of the so-called Pacific "Ring of Fire" that has regular seismic activity. A severe earthquake in the city of Christchurch in 2011 killed 185 people and destroyed much of the city's downtown.
Local authorities issued no tsunami warnings after Friday's quakes.
NEW YORK (AP) - New York City officials say they're about to take the first step in appealing a federal judge's ruling imposing reforms on the police department's stop-and-frisk strategy.
The city's top lawyer, Michael Cardozo, says in a statement a notice of appeal will be filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.
Judge Shira Scheindlin issued the decision Monday. She said the New York Police Department was making the street stops based on race and called for an independent monitor to make sure police follow measures restricting the program.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called the ruling unfair and warns it will damage the NYPD's successes in fighting violent crime.
MOORE, Okla. (AP) - Nearly three months after a twister blasted through Moore, Okla., and destroyed two elementary schools, students are going back to class.
And although many families are ready to return to a familiar routine, parents and teachers say many children in the Oklahoma City suburb have fears that are still fresh and a lot more healing to do.
One young girl is so afraid of the wind that she carries headphones to block out the noise. Other kids are traumatized by memories of their narrow escape and friends who died just a few feet away from them.
Classes resume Friday in temporary buildings until Plaza Towers Elementary and Briarwood Elementary are rebuilt. The May 20 tornado killed 24 people and wrecked scores of homes and businesses.