WORLD: Earthquake hits Pakistan

Earthquake hits Pakistan

ISLAMABAD — A major 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked a remote area of southwestern Pakistan early Wednesday, shaking many parts of the country and causing widespread panic, said meteorologists.

The quake was centered in Baluchistan province, the country’s most sparsely populated area, said the United States Geological Service. It occurred at a depth of some 50 miles, it said.

Its exact epicenter was in a remote area some 200 miles southwest of the Baluchistan capital of Quetta, said chief Pakistani meteorologist Arif Mahmood.

Local TV reports said the quake was felt throughout several provinces. Many residents in the country’s largest city, Karachi, ran out into the streets once the quake started, said the reports.

There were no immediate reports of damage, said Mahmood, the meteorologist.

Haitian leader investigated

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — An associate of Jean-Claude Duvalier says a judge has decided to open a formal investigation of the former dictator.

Mona Bernadeau, a Senate candidate from Duvalier’s political party, said Duvalier has been facing questions from the judge in a closed-door legal session since being taken out of his hotel by police Tuesday.

She declined to specify the allegations. Under the Haitian system, judges investigate allegations made by prosecutors. Haiti allows for pretrial detention but that is unlikely in Duvalier’s case. Bernadeau expects Duvalier will be returning to his hotel.

Iraq’s security berated after 52 people killed

BAGHDAD — A suicide bomber killed 52 people among a crowd of police recruits in Saddam Hussein’s hometown Tuesday, shattering a two-month lull in major attacks and spurring calls to keep the U.S. military in Iraq beyond 2011.

It was the second time in three days that efforts to bolster Iraqi police and army soldiers have backfired. The violence underscores persistent gaps in the security forces’ ability to protect the country, despite seven years and $22 billion in training and equipment provided by the U.S.

In an all-too-familiar scene, the suicide bomber joined hundreds of recruits waiting outside a police station in Tikrit.