Planet Earth keeps on rocking

Amid powerful and repeated earthquakes in India and El Salvador, reports are coming in of similar disturbances elsewhere. A strong earthquake shook the Indonesian island of Sumatra and panicked residents earlier today but there were no reports of casualties or damage, local officials and police said. Indonesia's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said the quake measured 5.0 on the Richter scale and was centred in the ocean, but several foreign observatories put the quake at 7.3, strong enough to cause considerable damage and create tidal waves. The earthquake was felt across Sumatra and in the capital Jakarta but most strongly in Bengkulu province, scene of a powerful quake last June that killed 120 people. It was followed by several small aftershocks, officials are quoted by Reuters as saying. Earthquakes regularly hit Indonesia, occasionally causing widespread damage, although tremors of a magnitude around 5.0 on the Richter scale are usually not killers. Earthquakes are also reported to have rattled Athens and Greek isles earlier today. An earthquake has shaken the Ionian islands around Paxi in western Greece, but there were no reports of damage, according to the Athens News Agency. It said the quake measured 5.0 on the Richter scale. Another three minor tremors measuring 3.5, 3.8 and 3.4 on the Richter scale rattled Athens this Wednesday. They were centred on Parnitha, the site about 20 km (12 miles) north of the Greek capital where a 5.9 Richter quake struck in September 1999, killing 143 people.