No Picture

Jared Leto’s Joker revealed for Suicide Squad movie

Suicide Squad director David Ayer tweeted the first clear image of Jared Leto as The Joker on Friday, and quickly started a storm of comic fans’ criticism.

In the image, Leto sports a ghoulish grin, short green hair, a single purple glove, roughly hewn tooth caps and a parade of tattoos, not the least of which is the word “Damaged” scrawled onto his forehead.

Suicide Squad will star Leto as The Joker and a handful of other DC Comics supervillains, including Margot Robbie as his girlfriend/lackey Harley Quinn and Will Smith as Deadshot, forming a secret black ops team taking on dangerous missions with the promise of shortened prison sentences in exchange.

The photo was released to celebrate Joker’s 75th anniversary. He made his first appearance in the first issue of the Batman comic book in April 1940.

Leto’s pose, as well as the repeated “HA HA HA” tattoos on his chest and arm, directly reference an iconic image from 1988’s The Killing Joke, a critically acclaimed Joker story, written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland.

Batman The Killing Joke Joker

The birth of The Joker, from the 1988 comic The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland. (Brian Bolland/DC Comics)

It’s not the first allusion to the comic that Ayer’s made: his tweet earlier this month showed a partially-obscured Leto pointing a camera just like in the comic’s cover art.

Batman The Killing Joke cover art

The cover art to The Killing Joke. (Brian Bolland/DC Comics)

The new take is, as far as we can tell from this teaser image, a far cry from the goofy gangster version portrayed in 1989 by Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning version in 2008’s The Dark Knight.

Critics and some fans, however, didn’t greet the new image with as much humour, likening the tattooed, wide-eyed portrayal to Marilyn Manson and the Insane Clown Posse.

“It’s a dramatically different take on the character that should please those who have long found this psychotic clown too subtle,” writes the AV Club’s Sean O’Neal, dripping in as much sarcasm as The Joker was dripping in chemical waste in his origin story.

“He fell into a toxic vat filled with Marilyn Manson CDs and anger at his boss. He got those scars because he cut himself on the world.”

Some took the opportunity to add their own flourishes to Leto’s Joker. Some felt it resembled the “extreme” video game advertisements of the 1990s…

…or the cover for the Game of the Year version of the video game Batman: Arkham City, which was plastered with more awards accolades and quotes than pictures of Batman.

For some, Leto’s grimace reminded them of a classic film starring Macaulay Culkin:

And, of course, others wondered whether a similar art direction would inform Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne in the upcoming Batman v Superman.

Of course, there’s no knowing how much of this promotional image we’ll see in Leto’s portrayal once Suicide Squad is completed. Fans will have at least a year to argue about whether this will be the best Joker ever, or the worst: it’s scheduled for release in August 2016.


Read More


No Picture

Freddie Gray Baltimore protests vow to ‘shut down’ the city

Protesters who have been holding demonstrations almost daily this week over the death of Freddie Gray are promising their biggest march yet a day after the Baltimore Police Department acknowledged that it failed to get him the medical attention he needed after his arrest.

Protesters vowed to “shut down” the city by marching through the streets and snarling traffic. The president of a black lawyers’ group predicted thousands of people would turn out for the demonstration, when good weather is forecast and the Baltimore Orioles host the Boston Red Sox.

“Things will change on Saturday, and the struggle will be amplified,” said Malik Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Justice. “It cannot be business as usual with that man’s spine broken, with his back broken, with no justice on the scene.”

Shabazz has demanded the arrest of six officers involved in the arrest of Gray, who died Sunday a week after suffering a spinal injury while in police custody.

Freddie Gray protests

Demonstrators pretend to be arrested in front of the Baltimore Police Department Western District station to protest against the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore April 23, 2015. Protesters gathered again on Saturday, vowing ‘things will change.’ (Sait Serkan Gurbuz/Reuters)

The officers are suspended with pay and under criminal investigation by their own department. The U.S. Justice Department is reviewing the case for any civil rights violations, and Gray’s family is conducting their own probe.

Late Friday, Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said Gray, 25, should have received medical attention at the spot where he was arrested — before he was put inside a police transport van handcuffed and without a seat belt, a violation of the Police Department’s policy.

Gray, who is black, was arrested April 12 after he made eye contact with officers and ran away, police said. Officers held him down, handcuffed him and loaded him into the van. While inside, he became irate and leg cuffs were put on him, police have said.

Gray asked for medical help several times, beginning before he was placed in the van. After a 30-minute ride that included three stops, paramedics were called.

Authorities have not explained how or when Gray’s spine was injured.

Freddie Gray-Baltimore

Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts admitted Friday that officers missed several opportunities to seek medical aid for Freddie Gray, who died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Commissioner Anthony Batts said it was possible Gray was hurt before the van ride or during a “rough ride” — where officers hit the brakes and take sharp turns to injure suspects in the back of vans.

“We know he was not buckled in the transportation wagon as he should have been. There’s no excuse for that, period,” Batts said. “We know our police employees failed to give him medical attention in a timely manner multiple times.”

Earlier Friday, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she has many questions.

“I still want to know why the policies and procedures for transport were not followed,” she said. “I still want to know why none of the officers called for immediate medical assistance despite Mr. Gray’s apparent pleas.

“The one thing we all know is because of this incident a mother has to bury their child and she doesn’t even know exactly how or why this tragedy occurs — only that this occurs while her child was in police custody,” the mayor said. “This is absolutely not acceptable, and I want answers.”

Freddie-Gray-Baltimore

Organizers are expecting thousands of people to show up for further protests this Saturday. (Patrick Semansky/Associated Press)

Rawlings-Blake expects the results of the Police Department’s investigation to be turned over to prosecutors in a week, and they will decide whether any criminal charges will be filed or whether to put the case before a grand jury. There is no timetable for when that will happen.

The leader of a group of local ministers called on Batts to resign immediately.

“It seems that no one in the Police Department can explain what happened,” said the Rev. Alvin Gwynn Sr., president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Baltimore.

He said the Police Department is “in disarray” and Batts has shown a “lack of viable leadership capabilities.”

The mayor appeared to back the police commissioner at her own news conference, and Batts defended his record, saying he was brought on in 2012 to reform the department. Since then, he said he has fired 50 employees and reduced the number of officer-involved shootings and excessive force complaints.

The Rev. Frank Reid of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, who met with Rawlings-Blake on Friday, said he wants to believe the Police Department’s investigation will be transparent.

“I want to take them at their word, but the purpose of being here today is to not only to let the city know but the Police Department know that we’re going to hold them accountable,” Reid said. “This is not going to go away. … Business as usual is no longer acceptable. This is all too frequent. It’s a historic issue, and we want to stop it now.”



No Picture

Gunmen Kill Prominent Women’s Rights Activist In Pakistan

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen on a motorcycle killed a prominent women’s rights activist in Pakistan just hours after she held a forum on the country’s restive Baluchistan region, home to a long-running insurgency, police said Saturday.

While investigators declined to speculate on a motive for the killing of Sabeen Mehmud, friends and colleagues immediately described her death as a targeted assassination in Pakistan, a country with a nascent democracy where the military and intelligence services still hold tremendous sway. The gunmen shot both Mehmud and her mother, Mehnaz Mehmud, as they stopped at a traffic light Friday night in an upscale Karachi neighborhood, senior police officer Zafar Iqbal said. Later, journalists saw their car at a nearby police station, the front driver’s side window smashed out and a pair of sandals on the floorboard, broken glass all around them. Blood stained the car’s white body.

“Two men riding a motorcycle opened fire on the car,” Iqbal said. Mehmud “died on her way to the hospital. Her mother was also wounded.”

Alia Chughtai, a close friend of Mehmud, told The Associated Press that Mehmud was driving at the time of attack and her mother was sitting next to her. Chughtai said Mehmud’s driver, who escaped unharmed, was sitting in the back seat at the time of the attack. She said she did not know why the driver wasn’t driving the car.

Iqbal and other police officials declined to offer a motive for the slaying. However, earlier that night, Mahmud hosted an event at her organization called The Second Floor to discuss human rights in Baluchistan, an impoverished but resource-rich southwestern province bordering Iran.

Thousands of people have disappeared from the province in recent years amid a government crackdown on nationalists and insurgent groups there. Activists blame the government for the disappearances, something authorities deny.

Qadeer Baluch, an activist who last year led a nearly 3,000-kilometer (1,900-mile) protest march across Pakistan to demand justice for the missing in Baluchistan, attended Mehmud’s event Friday night. Baluch, known widely as Mama or “Uncle” in Urdu, hinted that the government could be involved in Mehmud’s slaying.

“Everybody knows who killed her and why,” Baluch told Pakistan’s The Nation newspaper, without elaborating.

In a statement Saturday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned Mehmud’s killing and ordered an investigation into the attack. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad also condemned Mehmud’s slaying and offered condolences to her loved ones.

Mehmud was “a courageous voice of the Pakistani people and her death represents a great loss,” it said.

Mahmud, a well-known activist who also ran a small tech company, hosted poetry readings, computer workshops and other events at The Second Floor. She continued to live in Karachi, Pakistan’s southern port city, even while acknowledging the danger from insurgent groups and criminals operating there.

“Fear is just a line in your head,” Mahmud told Wired magazine in 2013. “You can choose what side of that line you want to be on.”

___

Associated Press writer Munir Ahmed in Islamabad contributed to this report.

– This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.



No Picture

Nearly 1,400 dead after 7.8-magnitude quake hits Nepal

A powerful earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, killing nearly 1,400 people across a swath of four countries as violent trembles collapsed houses, levelled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mount Everest.

At least 1,394 people were confirmed dead across Nepal, according to the police. Before police updated the death toll, more than 630 were reported dead in the densely populated Kathmandu Valley and at least 300 more in the capital, according to a police spokesman. 

Another 34 were killed in India, 12 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died in the Nepal-China border. The death toll is almost certain to rise, said deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam.

It was a few minutes before noon when the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, began to rumble across the Kathmandu Valley, rippling through the capital Kathmandu and spreading in all directions — north toward the Himalayas and Tibet, south to the Indo-Gangetic plains, east toward the Brahmaputra delta of Bangladesh and west toward the historical city of Lahore in Pakistan.

6.6-magnitude aftershock

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to jolt the region for hours. Residents ran out of homes and buildings in panic. Walls tumbled, trees swayed, power lines came crashing down and large cracks opened up on streets and walls. And clouds of dust began to swirl all around.

“Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking,” said Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung village near the epicentre. He said half of the village folks are either missing or dead. “All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don’t know what to do. We are feeling helpless,” he said when contacted by telephone.

Meteorologists forecast rain and thunderstorms were also predicted for Saturday night and Sunday.

Within hours of the quake, hospitals began to fill up with dozens of injured people. Many came to the main hospital in central Kathmandu. Among them was Pushpa Das, a labourer, ran from the house when the first quake struck but could not escape a collapsing wall that injured his arm.

“It was very scary. The earth was moving … I am waiting for treatment but the [hospital] staff is overwhelmed,” he said, gingerly holding his right arm with his left hand. As he spoke dozens of more people showed up with injuries, mostly from falling bricks.

It was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

Following the quake, Kathmandu’s international airport was shut down.

Canada pledges support

Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson said Canada is reaching out to provide help to the nation of 28 million and the 388 Canadians known to be there.

“Canada will do everything it can to assist,” Nicholson told CBC News on Saturday from Iqaluit.

‘Everything’s in motion right now.’- Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson

“The lines are open and we’re doing everything possible to make contact with Canadians in the area, and do whatever we can to assist in this terrible tragedy.”

Nicholson said it is not known if any Canadians have been killed or injured, noting that communication with the area is still difficult.

“Everything’s in motion right now.”

Canada is co-ordinating its efforts with the UN, the Red Cross and diplomats in the area, he said.

Nepal Earthquake

A quake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8 struck Nepal before noon on Saturday. A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later. (Submitted by Patrick Adams)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper also expressed sympathy and pledged support for the region. 

“We mourn with the people of Nepal and India in the aftermath of this terrible natural disaster and offer our help and our prayers,” Harper said in a statement. 

Canadians checking on their relatives and friends in Nepal and the surrounding affected areas should contact the department’s 24-hour Emergency Watch and Response Centre at 613-996-8885 or 1-800-387-3124, or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

The Registration of Canadians Abroad Service has 388 Canadians listed as being in Nepal. However, this number provides only an estimate as registration is voluntary.

The buildings in the Kathmandu Valley, home to 2.5 million people, are very vulnerable to major earthquakes and many have fallen over, Harriette Stone, an earthquake engineer from England’s University College London, told CBC News.

“There are a lot of mason buildings that are susceptible to damage,” she said. “It’s one of those days we all dread.”

While the extent of the damage and the scale of the disaster are yet to be ascertained, the quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this poor country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world, and its rich Hindu culture. The economy of Nepal is heavily reliant on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.



No Picture

More than 1,300 dead after 7.8-magnitude quake hits Nepal

A powerful earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, killing more than 1,300 people across a swath of four countries as violent trembles collapsed houses, levelled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mount Everest.

At least 1,341 people were confirmed dead across Nepal, according to the police. Another 34 were killed in India, 12 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died in the Nepal-China border. The death toll is almost certain to rise, said deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam.

It was a few minutes before noon when the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, began to rumble across the densely populated Kathmandu Valley, rippling through the capital Kathmandu and spreading in all directions — north toward the Himalayas and Tibet, south to the Indo-Gangetic plains, east toward the Brahmaputra delta of Bangladesh and west toward the historical city of Lahore in Pakistan.

6.6-magnitude aftershock

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to jolt the region for hours. Residents ran out of homes and buildings in panic. Walls tumbled, trees swayed, power lines came crashing down and large cracks opened up on streets and walls. And clouds of dust began to swirl all around.

“Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking,” said Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung village near the epicentre. He said half of the village folks are either missing or dead. “All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don’t know what to do. We are feeling helpless,” he said when contacted by telephone.

Meteorologists forecast rain and thunderstorms were also predicted for Saturday night and Sunday.

Within hours of the quake, hospitals began to fill up with dozens of injured people. Many came to the main hospital in central Kathmandu. Among them was Pushpa Das, a labourer, ran from the house when the first quake struck but could not escape a collapsing wall that injured his arm.

“It was very scary. The earth was moving … I am waiting for treatment but the [hospital] staff is overwhelmed,” he said, gingerly holding his right arm with his left hand. As he spoke dozens of more people showed up with injuries, mostly from falling bricks.

It was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

Following the quake, Kathmandu’s international airport was shut down.

Canada pledges support

Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson said Canada is reaching out to provide help to the nation of 28 million and the 388 Canadians known to be there.

“Canada will do everything it can to assist,” Nicholson said Saturday on CBC News Network.

‘Everything’s in motion right now.’- Foreign Affairs Minister Rob Nicholson

“The lines are open and we’re doing everything possible to make contact with Canadians in the area, and do whatever we can to assist in this terrible tragedy.”

Nicholson said it is not known if any Canadians have been killed or injured, noting that communication with the area is still difficult.

“Everything’s in motion right now.”

Canada is co-ordinating its efforts with the UN, the Red Cross and diplomats in the area, he said.

Canadians checking on their relatives and friends in Nepal and the surrounding affected areas should contact the department’s 24-hour Emergency Watch and Response Centre at 613-996-8885 or 1-800-387-3124, or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

The Registration of Canadians Abroad Service has 388 Canadians listed as being in Nepal. However, this number provides only an estimate as registration is voluntary.

The buildings in the Kathmandu Valley, home to 2.5 million people, are very vulnerable to major earthquakes and many have fallen over, Harriette Stone, an earthquake engineer from England’s University College London, told CBC News.

“There are a lot of mason buildings that are susceptible to damage,” she said. “It’s one of those days we all dread.”

While the extent of the damage and the scale of the disaster are yet to be ascertained, the quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this poor country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world, and its rich Hindu culture. The economy of Nepal is heavily reliant on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.

Mount Everest avalanche

A mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Mount Everest after the earthquake, and government officials said at least 10 climbers were killed and 30 injured. Their nationalities were not immediately known.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Dane who is climbing the Everest with a Belgian climber Jelle Veyt, said on his Facebook page that they were at Khumbu Icefall , a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow close to base camp at altitude 5,000 metres when the earthquake hit.

He wrote on his Facebook that they have started to receive the injured, including one person with the most severe injuries who sustained many fractures.

“He was blown away by the avalanche and broke both legs. For the camps closer to where the avalanche hit, our Sherpas believe that a lot of people may have been buried in their tents,” he wrote in English. “There is now a steady flow of people fleeing base camp in hope of more security further down the mountain.”

Shallow quake carried destructive power

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.8. It said the quake hit at 11:56 a.m. local time at Lamjung, about 80 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu. Its depth was only 11 kilometres, the largest shallow quake since the 8.2 temblor off the coast of Chile on April 1, 2014.

Nepal Earthquake

The strong magnitude-7.8 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday. A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to ripple through the region for hours. (Tashi Sherpa/Associated Press)

The shallower the quake the more destructive power it carries, and witnesses said the trembling and swaying of the earth went on for several minutes.

A magnitude 7 quake is capable of widespread and heavy damage while an 8 magnitude quake can cause tremendous damage. This means Saturday’s quake — with the same magnitude as the one that hit San Francisco in 1906 — was about 16 times more powerful than the 7.0 quake that devastated Haiti in 2010.

“The shallowness of the source made the ground-shaking at the surface worse than it would have been for a deeper earthquake,” said David A. Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes, north of London.

A major factor in the damage was that the buildings were not built to be quake-proof. An earthquake this size in Tokyo or Los Angeles, which have building codes for quake resistance, would not be nearly as devastating.

Nepal earthquake

The quake toppled Dharahara, also known as Bhimsen Tower. The nine-storey-tall landmark was built in Kathmandu around the year 1832 as a military watch tower. (Twitter/@StefSimanowitz)

The power of the tremors brought down several buildings in the center of the capital, the ancient Old Kathmandu, including centuries-old temples and towers.

Among them was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, one of Kathmandu’s landmarks built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.

Hundreds of people buy tickets on weekends to go up to the viewing platform on the eighth story, but it was not clear how many were up there when the tower collapsed. Video footage showed people digging through the rubble of the tower, looking for survivors.

Buildings poorly constructed

The Kathmandu Valley is densely populated with nearly 2.5 million people, and the quality of buildings is often poor.

In Kathmandu, dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses were spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some wearing hospital pajamas. A woman with a bandage on her head sat in a set of chairs pulled from the hospital waiting room.

Doctors and nurses hooked up some patients to intravenous drips in the parking lot, or were giving people oxygen.

A Swedish woman, Jenny Adhikari, who lives in Nepal, told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that she was riding a bus in the town of Melamchi when the earth began to move.

“A huge stone crashed only about 20 metres from the bus,” she was quoted as saying. “All the houses around me have tumbled down. I think there are lot of people who have died,” she told the newspaper by telephone. Melamchi is about 45 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu.

Nepal suffered its worst recorded earthquake in 1934, which measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

The sustained quake also was felt in India’s capital of New Delhi and several other Indian cities.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting of top government officials to review the damage and disaster preparedness in parts of India that felt strong tremors. The Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim, which share a border with Nepal, have reported building damage. There have also been reports of damage in the northeastern state of Assam.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered “all possible help” that Nepal may need.



No Picture

More than 1,300 dead after 7.8-magnitude quake hits Nepal

A powerful earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, killing more than 1,300 people across a swath of four countries as powerful shakes collapsed houses, levelled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mount Everest.

At least 1,341 people were confirmed dead across Nepal, according to the police. Another 34 were killed in India, 12 in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died in the Nepal-China border. The death toll is almost certain to rise, said deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam.

It was a few minutes before noon when the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, began to rumble across the densely populated Kathmandu Valley, rippling through the capital Kathmandu and spreading in all directions — north toward the Himalayas and Tibet, south to the Indo-Gangetic plains, east toward the Brahmaputra delta of Bangladesh and west toward the historical city of Lahore in Pakistan.

6.6-magnitude aftershock

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to jolt the region for hours. Residents ran out of homes and buildings in panic. Walls tumbled, trees swayed, power lines came crashing down and large cracks opened up on streets and walls. And clouds of dust began to swirl all around.

“Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking,” said Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung village near the epicentre. He said half of the village folks are either missing or dead. “All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don’t know what to do. We are feeling helpless,” he said when contacted by telephone.

Meteorologists forecast rain and thunderstorms were forecast for Saturday night and Sunday.

Within hours of the quake, hospitals began to fill up with dozens of injured people. Many came to the main hospital in central Kathmandu. Among them was Pushpa Das, a labourer, ran from the house when the first quake struck but could not escape a collapsing wall that injured his arm.

“It was very scary. The earth was moving … I am waiting for treatment but the [hospital] staff is overwhelmed,” he said, gingerly holding his right arm with his left hand. As he spoke dozens of more people showed up with injuries, mostly from falling bricks.

It was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

Following the quake, Kathmandu’s international airport was shut down.

Advice for Canadians in Nepal

Canada’s Foreign Affairs department said it’s closely monitoring the situation in the nation of nearly 28 million, where there are currently about 300,000 foreigners, many of them tourists.

Spokeswoman Diana Khaddaj said Canadians checking on their relatives and friends in Nepal and the surrounding affected areas should contact the department’s 24-hour Emergency Watch and Response Centre at 613-996-8885 or 1-800-387-3124, or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

Khaddaj said there are 388 Canadians registered with the Registration of Canadians Abroad Service. However, this number provides only an estimate as registration is voluntary.

The buildings in the Kathmandu Valley, home to 2.5 million people, are very vulnerable to major earthquakes and many have fallen over, Harriette Stone, an earthquake engineer from England’s University College London, told CBC News.

“There are a lot of mason buildings that are susceptible to damage,” she said. “It’s one of those days we all dread.”

While the extent of the damage and the scale of the disaster are yet to be ascertained, the quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this poor country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world, and its rich Hindu culture. The economy of Nepal is heavily reliant on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.

Mount Everest avalanche

A mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Mount Everest after the earthquake, and government officials said at least 10 climbers were killed and 30 injured. Their nationalities were not immediately known.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Dane who is climbing the Everest with a Belgian climber Jelle Veyt, said on his Facebook page that they were at Khumbu Icefall , a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow close to base camp at altitude 5,000 metres when the earthquake hit.

He wrote on his Facebook that they have started to receive the injured, including one person with the most severe injuries who sustained many fractures.

“He was blown away by the avalanche and broke both legs. For the camps closer to where the avalanche hit, our Sherpas believe that a lot of people may have been buried in their tents,” he wrote in English. “There is now a steady flow of people fleeing base camp in hope of more security further down the mountain.”

Shallow quake carried destructive power

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.8. It said the quake hit at 11:56 a.m. local time at Lamjung, about 80 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu. Its depth was only 11 kilometres, the largest shallow quake since the 8.2 temblor off the coast of Chile on April 1, 2014.

Nepal Earthquake

The strong magnitude-7.8 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday. A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to ripple through the region for hours. (Tashi Sherpa/Associated Press)

The shallower the quake the more destructive power it carries, and witnesses said the trembling and swaying of the earth went on for several minutes.

A magnitude 7 quake is capable of widespread and heavy damage while an 8 magnitude quake can cause tremendous damage. This means Saturday’s quake — with the same magnitude as the one that hit San Francisco in 1906 — was about 16 times more powerful than the 7.0 quake that devastated Haiti in 2010.

“The shallowness of the source made the ground-shaking at the surface worse than it would have been for a deeper earthquake,” said David A. Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes, north of London.

A major factor in the damage was that the buildings were not built to be quake-proof. An earthquake this size in Tokyo or Los Angeles, which have building codes for quake resistance, would not be nearly as devastating.

Nepal earthquake

The quake toppled Dharahara, also known as Bhimsen Tower. The nine-storey-tall landmark was built in Kathmandu around the year 1832 as a military watch tower. (Twitter/@StefSimanowitz)

The power of the tremors brought down several buildings in the center of the capital, the ancient Old Kathmandu, including centuries-old temples and towers.

Among them was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, one of Kathmandu’s landmarks built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.

Hundreds of people buy tickets on weekends to go up to the viewing platform on the eighth story, but it was not clear how many were up there when the tower collapsed. Video footage showed people digging through the rubble of the tower, looking for survivors.

Buildings poorly constructed

The Kathmandu Valley is densely populated with nearly 2.5 million people, and the quality of buildings is often poor.

In Kathmandu, dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses were spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some wearing hospital pajamas. A woman with a bandage on her head sat in a set of chairs pulled from the hospital waiting room.

Doctors and nurses hooked up some patients to intravenous drips in the parking lot, or were giving people oxygen.

A Swedish woman, Jenny Adhikari, who lives in Nepal, told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that she was riding a bus in the town of Melamchi when the earth began to move.

“A huge stone crashed only about 20 metres from the bus,” she was quoted as saying. “All the houses around me have tumbled down. I think there are lot of people who have died,” she told the newspaper by telephone. Melamchi is about 45 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu.

Nepal suffered its worst recorded earthquake in 1934, which measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

The sustained quake also was felt in India’s capital of New Delhi and several other Indian cities.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting of top government officials to review the damage and disaster preparedness in parts of India that felt strong tremors. The Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim, which share a border with Nepal, have reported building damage. There have also been reports of damage in the northeastern state of Assam.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered “all possible help” that Nepal may need.



No Picture

More than 1,100 dead after 7.9-magnitude quake hits Nepal

A powerful earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, killing more than 1,100 across a swath of four countries as violently shaking earth collapsed houses, levelled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mount Everest.

Most of the deaths have been reported in Nepal. It was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

Another 20 people were killed in India, six in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died at the Nepal-China border. The death toll is almost certain to rise, said deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam.

It was a few minutes before noon when the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, began to rumble across the densely populated Kathmandu Valley, rippling through the capital Kathmandu and spreading in all directions — north toward the Himalayas and Tibet, south to the Indo-Gangetic plains, east toward the Brahmaputra delta of Bangladesh and west toward the historical city of Lahore in Pakistan.

6.6-magnitude aftershock

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to jolt the region for hours. Residents ran out of homes and buildings in panic. Walls tumbled, trees swayed, power lines came crashing down and large cracks opened up on streets and walls. And clouds of dust began to swirl all around.

“Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking,” said Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung village near the epicentre. He said half of the village folks are either missing or dead. “All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don’t know what to do. We are feeling helpless,” he said when contacted by telephone.

Meteorologists forecast rain and thunderstorms were forecast for Saturday night and Sunday.

Within hours of the quake, hospitals began to fill up with dozens of injured people. Many came to the main hospital in central Kathmandu. Among them was Pushpa Das, a labourer, ran from the house when the first quake struck but could not escape a collapsing wall that injured his arm.

“It was very scary. The earth was moving … I am waiting for treatment but the (hospital) staff is overwhelmed,” he said, gingerly holding his right arm with his left hand. As he spoke dozens of more people showed up with injuries, mostly from falling bricks.

Following the quake, Kathmandu’s international airport was shut down.

Advice for Canadians in Nepal

Canada’s Foreign Affairs department said it’s closely monitoring the situation in the nation of nearly 28 million, where there are currently about 300,000 foreigners, many of them tourists.

Spokeswoman Diana Khaddaj said Canadians checking on their relatives and friends in Nepal and the surrounding affected areas should contact the department’s 24-hour Emergency Watch and Response Centre at 613-996-8885 or 1-800-387-3124, or by sending an email to sos@international.gc.ca.

Khaddaj said there are 388 Canadians registered with the Registration of Canadians Abroad Service. However, this number provides only an estimate as registration is voluntary.

The buildings in the Kathmandu Valley, home to 2.5 million people, are very vulnerable to major earthquakes and many have fallen over, Harriette Stone, an earthquake engineer from England’s University College London, told CBC News.

“There are a lot of mason buildings that are susceptible to damage,” she said. “It’s one of those days we all dread.”

While the extent of the damage and the scale of the disaster are yet to be ascertained, the quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this poor country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world, and its rich Hindu culture. The economy of Nepal is heavily reliant on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.

Mount Everest avalanche

A mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Mount Everest after the earthquake, and government officials said at least eight climbers were killed and 30 injured. Their nationalities were not immediately known.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Dane who is climbing the Everest with a Belgian climber Jelle Veyt, said on his Facebook page that they were at Khumbu Icefall , a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow close to base camp at altitude 5,000 metres when the earthquake hit.

He wrote on his Facebook that they have started to receive the injured, including one person with the most severe injuries who sustained many fractures.

“He was blown away by the avalanche and broke both legs. For the camps closer to where the avalanche hit, our Sherpas believe that a lot of people may have been buried in their tents,” he wrote in English. “There is now a steady flow of people fleeing base camp in hope of more security further down the mountain.”

Shallow quake carried destructive power

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.8. It said the quake hit at 11:56 a.m. local time at Lamjung, about 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu. Its depth was only 11 kilometres, the largest shallow quake since the 8.2 temblor off the coast of Chile on April 1, 2014.

Nepal Earthquake

The strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday. A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to ripple through the region for hours. (Tashi Sherpa/Associated Press)

The shallower the quake the more destructive power it carries, and witnesses said the trembling and swaying of the earth went on for several minutes.

A magnitude 7 quake is capable of widespread and heavy damage while an 8 magnitude quake can cause tremendous damage. This means Saturday’s quake — with the same magnitude as the one that hit San Francisco in 1906 — was about 16 times more powerful than the 7.0 quake that devastated Haiti in 2010.

“The shallowness of the source made the ground-shaking at the surface worse than it would have been for a deeper earthquake,” said David A. Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes, north of London.

A major factor in the damage was that the buildings were not built to be quake-proof. An earthquake this size in Tokyo or Los Angeles, which have building codes for quake resistance, would not be nearly as devastating.

Nepal earthquake

The quake toppled Dharahara, also known as Bhimsen Tower. The nine-storey-tall landmark was built in Kathmandu around the year 1832 as a military watch tower. (Twitter/@StefSimanowitz)

The power of the tremors brought down several buildings in the center of the capital, the ancient Old Kathmandu, including centuries-old temples and towers.

Among them was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, one of Kathmandu’s landmarks built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.

Hundreds of people buy tickets on weekends to go up to the viewing platform on the eighth story, but it was not clear how many were up there when the tower collapsed. Video footage showed people digging through the rubble of the tower, looking for survivors.

Buildings poorly constructed

The Kathmandu Valley is densely populated with nearly 2.5 million people, and the quality of buildings is often poor.

In Kathmandu, dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses were spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some wearing hospital pajamas. A woman with a bandage on her head sat in a set of chairs pulled from the hospital waiting room.

Doctors and nurses hooked up some patients to intravenous drips in the parking lot, or were giving people oxygen.

A Swedish woman, Jenny Adhikari, who lives in Nepal, told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that she was riding a bus in the town of Melamchi when the earth began to move.

“A huge stone crashed only about 20 metres from the bus,” she was quoted as saying. “All the houses around me have tumbled down. I think there are lot of people who have died,” she told the newspaper by telephone. Melamchi is about 45 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu.

Nepal suffered its worst recorded earthquake in 1934, which measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

The sustained quake also was felt in India’s capital of New Delhi and several other Indian cities.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting of top government officials to review the damage and disaster preparedness in parts of India that felt strong tremors. The Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim, which share a border with Nepal, have reported building damage. There have also been reports of damage in the northeastern state of Assam.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered “all possible help” that Nepal may need.



No Picture

More than 900 dead after 7.9-magnitude quake hits Nepal

A powerful earthquake struck Nepal Saturday, killing at least 906 people across a swath of four countries as the violently shaking earth collapsed houses, levelled centuries-old temples and triggered avalanches on Mount Everest.

At least 876 people were confirmed dead in Nepal, according to the police. It was the worst tremor to hit the poor South Asian nation in over 80 years.

Another 20 were killed in India, six in Tibet and two in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died at the Nepal-China border. The death toll is almost certain to rise, said deputy Inspector General of Police Komal Singh Bam.

It was a few minutes before noon when the quake, with a preliminary magnitude of 7.8, began to rumble across the densely populated Kathmandu Valley, rippling through the capital Kathmandu and spreading in all directions — north toward the Himalayas and Tibet, south to the Indo-Gangetic plains, east toward the Brahmaputra delta of Bangladesh and west toward the historical city of Lahore in Pakistan.

6.6-magnitude aftershock

A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to jolt the region for hours. Residents ran out of homes and buildings in panic. Walls tumbled, trees swayed, power lines came crashing down and large cracks opened up on streets and walls. And clouds of dust began to swirl all around.

“Our village has been almost wiped out. Most of the houses are either buried by landslide or damaged by shaking,” said Vim Tamang, a resident of Manglung village near the epicentre. He said half of the village folks are either missing or dead. “All the villagers have gathered in the open area. We don’t know what to do. We are feeling helpless,” he said when contacted by telephone.

Meteorologists forecast rain and thunderstorms were forecast for Saturday night and Sunday.

Within hours of the quake, hospitals began to fill up with dozens of injured people. Many came to the main hospital in central Kathmandu. Among them was Pushpa Das, a labourer, ran from the house when the first quake struck but could not escape a collapsing wall that injured his arm.

“It was very scary. The earth was moving … I am waiting for treatment but the (hospital) staff is overwhelmed,” he said, gingerly holding his right arm with his left hand. As he spoke dozens of more people showed up with injuries, mostly from falling bricks.

Following the quake, Kathmandu’s international airport was shut down.

While the extent of the damage and the scale of the disaster are yet to be ascertained, the quake will likely put a huge strain on the resources of this poor country best known for Everest, the highest mountain in the world, and its rich Hindu culture. The economy of Nepal, a nation of 27.8 million people, is heavily reliant on tourism, principally trekking and Himalayan mountain climbing.

Mount Everest avalanche

A mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Mount Everest after the earthquake, and government officials said at least eight climbers were killed and 30 injured. Their nationalities were not immediately known.

Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Dane who is climbing the Everest with a Belgian climber Jelle Veyt, said on his Facebook page that they were at Khumbu Icefall , a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow close to base camp at altitude 5,000 metres when the earthquake hit.

He wrote on his Facebook that they have started to receive the injured, including one person with the most severe injuries who sustained many fractures.

“He was blown away by the avalanche and broke both legs. For the camps closer to where the avalanche hit, our Sherpas believe that a lot of people may have been buried in their tents,” he wrote in English. “There is now a steady flow of people fleeing base camp in hope of more security further down the mountain.”

Shallow quake carried destructive power

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.8. It said the quake hit at 11:56 a.m. local time at Lamjung, about 80 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu. Its depth was only 11 kilometres, the largest shallow quake since the 8.2 temblor off the coast of Chile on April 1, 2014.

Nepal Earthquake

The strong magnitude-7.9 earthquake shook Nepal’s capital and the densely populated Kathmandu Valley before noon Saturday. A magnitude-6.6 aftershock hit about an hour later, and smaller aftershocks continued to ripple through the region for hours. (Tashi Sherpa/Associated Press)

The shallower the quake the more destructive power it carries, and witnesses said the trembling and swaying of the earth went on for several minutes.

A magnitude 7 quake is capable of widespread and heavy damage while an 8 magnitude quake can cause tremendous damage. This means Saturday’s quake — with the same magnitude as the one that hit San Francisco in 1906 — was about 16 times more powerful than the 7.0 quake that devastated Haiti in 2010.

“The shallowness of the source made the ground-shaking at the surface worse than it would have been for a deeper earthquake,” said David A. Rothery, professor of planetary geosciences at the Open University in Milton Keynes, north of London.

A major factor in the damage was that the buildings were not built to be quake-proof. An earthquake this size in Tokyo or Los Angeles, which have building codes for quake resistance, would not be nearly as devastating.

Nepal earthquake

The quake toppled Dharahara, also known as Bhimsen Tower. The nine-storey-tall landmark was built in Kathmandu around the year 1832 as a military watch tower. (Twitter/@StefSimanowitz)

The power of the tremors brought down several buildings in the center of the capital, the ancient Old Kathmandu, including centuries-old temples and towers.

Among them was the nine-story Dharahara Tower, one of Kathmandu’s landmarks built by Nepal’s royal rulers as a watchtower in the 1800s and a UNESCO-recognized historical monument. It was reduced to rubble and there were reports of people trapped underneath.

Hundreds of people buy tickets on weekends to go up to the viewing platform on the eighth story, but it was not clear how many were up there when the tower collapsed. Video footage showed people digging through the rubble of the tower, looking for survivors.

Buildings poorly constructed

The Kathmandu Valley is densely populated with nearly 2.5 million people, and the quality of buildings is often poor.

In Kathmandu, dozens of people gathered in the parking lot of Norvic International Hospital, where thin mattresses were spread on the ground for patients rushed outside, some wearing hospital pajamas. A woman with a bandage on her head sat in a set of chairs pulled from the hospital waiting room.

Doctors and nurses hooked up some patients to intravenous drips in the parking lot, or were giving people oxygen.

A Swedish woman, Jenny Adhikari, who lives in Nepal, told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that she was riding a bus in the town of Melamchi when the earth began to move.

“A huge stone crashed only about 20 metres from the bus,” she was quoted as saying. “All the houses around me have tumbled down. I think there are lot of people who have died,” she told the newspaper by telephone. Melamchi is about 45 kilometres northeast of Kathmandu.

Nepal suffered its worst recorded earthquake in 1934, which measured 8.0 and all but destroyed the cities of Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Patan.

The sustained quake also was felt in India’s capital of New Delhi and several other Indian cities.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called a meeting of top government officials to review the damage and disaster preparedness in parts of India that felt strong tremors. The Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Sikkim, which share a border with Nepal, have reported building damage. There have also been reports of damage in the northeastern state of Assam.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif offered “all possible help” that Nepal may need.