Under latest health-care bill, red states would benefit disproportionately – Washington Post

The latest Republican proposal for curtailing the Affordable Care Act was assembled with such haste that it may get a vote before a full cost estimate is finished. But it is not a new idea.

At its core, the bill introduced by Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) would implement a decades-old conservative concept, capping the amount that taxpayers spend on Medicaid and giving states full control over the program. As he’s sold the legislation to conservative governors and activists, Graham has described it as a possible triumph for federalism, and a way to end the progressive dream of universal health care managed from Washington.

“Let’s get back to the basics of being conservative,” Graham said in a Saturday interview with Breitbart News. “We take the money that we would spend on Obamacare in Washington, and we block grant it to the states.”

What’s new, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, is a discrepancy in state-by-state funding that would be flattened out by the block grants. Most states used the ACA’s funding to expand Medicaid; some Republican-run states, liberated by the Supreme Court’s decision to make the funding optional, did not. As a result, 14 of the 15 states that would stand to gain from block grants are run by Republicans; Democratic megastates including California, New York and Massachusetts would lose billions of dollars, a feature both Graham and Cassidy have talked up to conservatives.

“We will either have to kick hundreds of thousands of people off of health care, or we will have to dramatically increase taxes,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), in one of a string of Monday night floor speeches by Democrats.

“No longer will four blue states get 40 percent of the money,” said Graham to Breitbart. “A state like Mississippi, they get a 900 percent increase. South Carolina gets 300 percent.”

Graham, elected in 1994’s “Republican revolution” to his first term in the House, was present for Capitol Hill’s first serious block-grant campaign. In 1995, in one of many attempts to devolve power from Washington, congressional Republicans teamed up with governors to both cap Medicaid spending and chop up the program’s funding in “MediGrants,” for each state to apply to their own designs.

[New health-care plan stumbles under opposition from governors]

The proposal died after President Bill Clinton — using one of the pens Lyndon Johnson used to enact Medicaid — vetoed it, denouncing the “wrongheaded cuts” favored by Republicans.

“The president has to realize that Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society has failed,” said Newt Gingrich, then the House speaker.

The block-grant concept remained in conservative thought, and reemerged in 2010, when Rep. Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), then a ranking member of the House’s tax-writing committee, included the idea in a flashy “Roadmap for America’s Future.” In 2011, newly elected Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) joined a delegation of conservatives in Washington to testify for the wisdom of devolving Medicaid to states.

“It’s the biggest challenge out there,” Walker said of state Medicaid spending. “We have maintenance efforts that require us to maintain things by the federal government when we have other things that would work better to manage those costs.”

Barack Obama’s own veto plan made the block-grant dream futile. This year, Ryan included the idea in the American Health Care Act, the House’s vehicle for “repealing and replacing” the ACA.

“Medicaid, sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate, we’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg,” Ryan told National Review Editor Rich Lowry in March. “We’re on the cusp of doing something we’ve long believed in.”

[The key players in Republicans’ last-ditch effort to kill the Affordable Care Act]

In the 1990s, and recently, supporters of block grants have pitched them as ways to control costs without simply kicking people off of Medicaid. The slower growth in funding, and higher obligations on states, are described as problems that could be fixed once money was liberated from the federal leviathan. At last week’s rollout of the Senate bill, former senator Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) repeatedly cited Congress’s experience with welfare reform to argue that states could succeed where Washington failed.

“You ever hear a governor come to Washington and complain about not having enough money for their welfare program?” Santorum asked. “No, you don’t, because we gave them flexibility.”

But the shrinking of the welfare rolls, which began in boom times, continued even as poverty increased. Between the 1996 passage of welfare reform and 2013, the number of families living on $2 a day or less rose by 150 percent, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

And the constituency for Medicaid is larger, with 74 million recipients, than the 3 million-plus Americans who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. While some Republican governors, including Walker, have pleaded for Congress to block-grant Medicaid, Graham and his allies have struggled to get a majority of governors on board. The majority of states, which expanded Medicaid under the provisions of the ACA, would see money clawed back and redistributed.

“It is not practical for New Hampshire to craft a system with over $1 billion in cuts to federal funding,” Gov. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) said on Monday.

“This particular proposal, in part because of how it’s designed, would have major consequences for a state like Massachusetts,” said Gov. Charlie Baker (R-Mass.) earlier in September, during a Senate hearing on moving past repeal. “It assumes that the cost of health care should be the same everywhere.”

The discrepancies in state-by-state Medicaid spending, created when some states declined to expand Medicaid, have already befuddled some Republicans who are now expected to push the bill through.

“This bill keeps 90 percent of the spending of Obamacare and reshuffles it,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the most resolute Republican opponent of the legislation, who said it would have made more sense if the legislation zeroed out the spending of the ACA.

And there are risks in one favorite talking point — that passing the bill would allow red states to fund private health-care options, while blue states could go their own way. Sen. John Neely Kennedy, Cassidy’s Republican colleague from Louisiana, said Monday that he worried about blue states experimenting with their block grants in ways that would expand government-run, universal coverage.

“If you give California and New York a big chunk of money they’re gonna set up a single-payer system,” said Kennedy. “And I want to prevent that.”

Kennedy, a folksy freshman senator, is not expected to oppose the final bill. But Louisiana, which expanded Medicaid in 2016, is among its losers. According to the left-leaning Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, Louisiana would get roughly $2.3 billion less in health-care funding over 10 years, as funding was capped and redistributed to neighboring states.

Estimates like CBPP’s may be the only ones that voters see, as the Congressional Budget Office announced Monday it would not be able to provide detailed numbers before September 30, when Republicans lose the ability to pass a bill on a party-line vote.

“I just don’t care about the coverage numbers,” Cassidy said last week, “because their methodology has proven to be wrong.”

Read more at PowerPost

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Mexico: Huge earthquake topples buildings, killing more than 200 – BBC News

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A strong earthquake has struck central Mexico, killing more than 200 people and toppling dozens of buildings in the capital, Mexico City.

President Enrique Peña Nieto said more than 20 children had died and 30 were missing after a school collapsed.

The 7.1 magnitude quake also caused major damage in neighbouring states.

The tremor struck shortly after many people had taken part in an earthquake drill, exactly 32 years after a quake killed thousands in Mexico City.

The country is prone to earthquakes and earlier this month an 8.1 magnitude tremor in the south left at least 90 dead.

What is the death toll across Mexico?

The epicentre of the latest quake was near Atencingo in Puebla state, about 120km (75 miles) from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km, the US Geological Survey said.

An earlier death toll of nearly 250 was lowered to 216 by the country’s national co-ordinator for civil protection:

  • Morelos state: 71 dead
  • Puebla state: 43 dead
  • Mexico City: 86 dead
  • Mexico state: 12 dead
  • Guerrero: 3 dead
  • Oaxaca: 1

President Peña Nieto said more than 20 children and two adults had been found dead at the collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school in Mexico City’s southern Coapa district. He said another 30 children and eight adults were missing.

What about survivors?

Emergency workers, aided by volunteers, are working through the night to search the rubble of collapsed buildings for trapped people.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told TV network Televisa that buildings at 44 locations had collapsed or were badly damaged. These are said to include a six-storey blocks of flats, a supermarket and a factory.

About two million people in the capital were without electricity and phone lines were down. Officials warned residents not to smoke on the streets as gas mains could have been ruptured.

In a televised address, the president said an emergency had been declared for the affected areas and the military was being drafted in to help with the response.

Across Mexico City, teams of rescue workers and volunteers clawed through the rubble with picks, shovels and their bare hands.

“My wife is there. I haven’t been able to communicate with her,” said Juan Jesus Garcia, 33, choking back tears next to a collapsed building.

“She is not answering and now they are telling us we have to turn off our mobile phones because there is a gas leak.”

The prolonged tremor hit at 13:14 local time (18:14 GMT) and sent thousands of residents into the streets.

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Jennifer Swaddle, a teacher at the British International School in Mexico City, told the BBC that part of her classroom collapsed after the earthquake hit.

“As we were leaving, the outside of my classroom wall fell, so there was a big pile of rubble. Luckily, fantastically, nobody was hurt, but it was incredibly frightening,” she said.


Are you in the affected area? Email [email protected]

Please include a contact number if you are willing to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:


What happened in 1985?

An earthquake drill was being held in Mexico City on Tuesday to mark the 32nd anniversary of a magnitude 8 quake that killed up to 10,000 people and left 30,000 others injured.

The severe tremor caused serious damage to Mexico City and its surrounding areas, with more than 400 buildings collapsed and thousands more damaged.

Correspondents say that residents may have mistaken earthquake alarms for part of the day of drills in the wake of the 1985 quake.

Mexico City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with more than 20 million people living in the metropolitan area.


Why is Mexico so prone to earthquakes?

Mexico is one of the most seismically active regions in the world, sitting on top of three of the Earth’s largest tectonic plates – the North American, Cocos and Pacific plates.

The latest tremor occurred near the boundary between the North American and Cocos plates, where the latter slides beneath the former.

According to the US Geological Survey, the country has seen 19 earthquakes of at least 6.5 magnitude within 155 miles of the epicentre of Tuesday’s quake over the past century.

A stronger earthquake (8.1) on 8 September is not thought to be linked to Tuesday’s as the epicentres lie about 400 miles apart and it is unusual for an aftershock to appear so long after a major quake, the Verge reports.


Panic on the streets

By Juan Paullier, BBC News, Mexico City

Mexico City is a city all too used to earthquakes. But this tremor, on the anniversary of another one that left thousands dead in 1985, was especially powerful.

It sent thousands of people into the streets, trembling, shaking, crying and trying to reach their loved ones by phone.

As time passes it is becoming clear that there are going to be many victims. In the capital alone, about 30 buildings collapsed.

In one of the worst-affected areas I saw dozens of people desperately removing rubble because they believed someone was trapped.


What has the reaction been?

Alfredo del Mazo Maza, governor of the State of Mexico, said schools would be closed on Wednesday. He also ordered all public transport to operate services for free so that people could travel home.

Foreign leaders sent messages of support to Mexico as the scale of the disaster became clear.

US President Donald Trump, who has courted controversy with his plans for a border wall with Mexico, tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted his support following the “devastating news”.

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, in New York for the UN General Assembly, expressed his “solidarity” with the Mexican people.


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Central Mexico earthquake kills more than 240, topples buildings – CNN

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Puerto Rico governor: Still time to get to shelters before Hurricane Maria – CNN

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The Latest: Philippines says embassy damaged in Mexico quake – Washington Post

MEXICO CITY — The latest on the strong earthquake that hit Mexico City (all times local):

12:45 a.m.

The Philippines says the powerful earthquake that rocked central Mexico has badly damaged its embassy in Mexico City, but the staffers were unhurt and there are so far no reports of casualty among the 60 members of the Filipino community in Mexico City.

It is also offering its sympathy to Mexico following Tuesday’s powerful earthquake that killed at least 149 people and collapsed dozens of buildings in the capital and nearby states.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella says: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Mexico, especially the bereaved families, who were hit and affected by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.”

Philippine Ambassador to Mexico Eduardo de Vega says he and the embassy staff rushed out of the building when debris started falling and they all escaped unhurt. The Philippine Embassy occupies the first two floors of an eight-story office building in Mexico city’s Cuauhtemoc neighborhood.

___

11:55 p.m.

Mexico’s president has issued a video statement urging people to stay calm in the aftermath of the powerful magnitude 7.1 earthquake that toppled dozens of buildings in Mexico City and in nearby states.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said in the message issued late Tuesday night that many people will need help, but the initial focus has to be on finding people trapped in wrecked buildings.

In his words, “The priority at this moment is to keep rescuing people who are still trapped and to give medical attention to the injured people.”

Pena Nieto said that as of late Tuesday 40 percent of Mexico City and 60 percent of Morelos state have no electricity.

The earthquake occurred just two weeks after a magnitude 8.1 tremor in the south of the country caused more than 90 dead and caused buildings in Mexico City to sway for more than a minute. Tuesday was also the 32nd anniversary of the devastating 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in the capital.

___

11 p.m.

Mexico’s president says 22 people have died at a school that collapsed in the nation’s capital due to Tuesday’s 7.1 earthquake.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said that two of the bodies found were adults. It’s not clear whether the deaths are already included in the overall toll of at least 149 across the country.

Pena Nieto visited the school late Tuesday. He said in comments broadcast online by Financiero TV that 30 children and eight adults were still reported missing.

Rescue workers were continuing to search and listening for sounds from the rubble.

___

9:40 p.m.

The head of Mexico’s civil defense agency says the nationwide death toll from Tuesday’s earthquake has risen to 149.

Luis Felipe Puente said 55 people died in Morelos state, just south of the capital, while 49 died in Mexico City and 32 died in Puebla state, where the quake was centered. Ten people died in Mexico State, which surrounds the capital, and three in Guerrero state. The count did not include one death reported by officials in Oaxaca state.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

9:30 p.m.

Buildings collapsed, including the town hall and local church, in the town of Jojutla in southern Morelos state, which was close to the epicenter of Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 quake. Twelve people died in the town.

The Instituto Morelos secondary school partly collapsed, but school director Adelina Anzures said the earthquake drill the school held in the morning came in handy just two hours later when the real quake struck.

“I told them that it was not a game, that we should be prepared,” Anzures said of the drill. When the quake came, she said the children and teachers rapidly filed out.

“It fell and everything inside was damaged,” she said. Nobody was hurt.

___

8:55 p.m.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is saddened by the loss of life and damage resulting from the earthquake in Mexico.

Guterres extends his condolences to the government and people of Mexico and wishes those injured a speedy recovery, according to a statement released by his spokesman.

The statement said the United Nations stands ready to assist Mexico following the quake, which has killed at least 139 people and devastated central Mexico.

___

8:50 p.m.

Mexico’s federal government has declared a state of disaster in Mexico City, freeing up emergency funds following a major earthquake that killed at least 139 people, including 36 in the capital.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said he had ordered all hospitals to open their doors to the injured after the magnitude 7.1 quake.

Dozens of buildings tumbled into mounds of rubble or were severely damaged in densely populated parts of Mexico City. Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said buildings fell at 44 places in the capital alone as high-rises across the city swayed sickeningly.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

8:40 p.m.

Nominations for the Latin Grammy Awards have been postponed because of the earthquake in Mexico and the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa Jr. said in a statement Tuesday that the delay comes “as an outgrowth of the terrible and tragic recent natural disasters affecting Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Houston, and Florida, the homes of many Hispanic communities.”

Nomination announcements had been scheduled for Wednesday. No new date has been chosen yet.

Abaroa says the academy’s “thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by these catastrophic events and ones that may come.”

The Latin Grammy Awards ceremony is still scheduled for Nov. 16 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, with a live telecast on Univision.

___

8:35 p.m.

Rescuers are clawing through the rubble trying to rescue any children trapped when a school teaching 1st through 8th grades partly collapsed in southern Mexico City during a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

Some relatives claimed they had received Whatsapp messages from two girls trapped inside the rubble but the claim could not be confirmed.

Officials say the death toll has reached 139 for the quake which the U.S. Geological Survey said was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

8:10 p.m.

The head of Mexico’s National Civil Defense agency says the death toll from a major earthquake that rattled the center of the country has reached 139.

Luis Felipe Puente said 64 people had died in the state of Morelos, just south of Mexico City, though local officials reported only 54. In addition, 36 people died in Mexico City, 29 in Puebla state, nine in the State of Mexico and one in Guerrero.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

7:25 p.m.

The government of Mexico’s southern Oaxaca state reported one death from a major earthquake that devastated the country’s center. The death raised the nationwide toll to 120.

Officials did not provide details of the death in Oaxaca, which is far from the quake’s epicenter.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

7:05 p.m.

People used shopping carts from a nearby supermarket to carry away rubble in a Mexico City neighborhood where three apartment buildings collapsed on the same stretch of street.

Valerie Perez, a 23-year-old student from Venezuela, ran from her fourth-floor apartment just in time to see the building in front of it collapse.

With only a month in Mexico, she was stunned by the day’s events, which included an earthquake drill then a real one. Earlier in the day workplaces across Mexico City held readiness drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake, a magnitude 8.0 shake, which killed thousands of people.

“A drill at 11 a.m. and an earthquake at 1 p.m.,” she said. “This is the most powerful thing I have ever seen in my life.”

___

6:25 p.m.

U.S. President Donald Trump has tweeted “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

Trump’s tweet comes after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake shook central Mexico, including the capital, claiming at least 119 lives — the largest number of fatalities in a Mexican earthquake since the 1985 quake that killed thousands.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told local media that at least 30 people had died in Mexico City where buildings collapsed or were badly damaged at 44 points throughout the city.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

6:05 p.m.

The death toll in Mexico’s magnitude 7.1 quake has risen to 119. That’s the largest number of fatalities in a Mexican earthquake since the 1985 quake that killed thousands.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told local media that at least 30 people had died in the capital, where buildings collapsed or were badly damaged at 44 points throughout the city. Between 50 and 60 people were pulled alive from the rubble by citizens and rescue workers in the city.

State officials said at least 54 people died in the state of Morelos, south of the capital; 26 died in Puebla, according to the director of disaster prevention, Carlos Valdes. Nine died in the State of Mexico, according to the state’s governor.

___

5:55 p.m.

The death toll from a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that hit central Mexico has risen to 104.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera says that at least 30 people have died in Mexico City, and officials in Morelos state, just to the south, said 54 had died there. At least 11 others died in Puebla state, according to Francisco Sanchez, spokesman for the state’s Interior Department.

Gov. Alfredo del Mazo said at least nine had died in the State of Mexico, which also borders the capital.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

5:45 p.m.

Mexican officials say the national death toll from a major earthquake has risen to 94. Mexico City’s mayor said 30 are dead in the capital alone.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said at least 44 buildings collapsed and that between 50 and 60 people have been pulled alive from rubble.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

5:40 p.m.

Amid the destruction of a magnitude 7.1 earthquake, residents of Mexico City are digging through rubble to save their neighbors.

Carlos Mendoza was standing just blocks away when an apartment building collapsed in Mexico City’s trendy Roma neighborhood.

The 30-year-old joined the rescue efforts and said he has been able to pull two people alive from the rubble in three hours of work.

“When we saw this we came to help. This is ugly, very ugly,” he said, covered in dust.

Also in Roma, Alma Gonzalez was in her fourth floor apartment when the quake collapsed the ground floor of her building, leaving her no way out.

She was terrified until the people living in the neighboring house mounted a ladder on their roof and helped her slide out a side window.

“They helped us leave with a ladder,” Gonzalez said. “I think my father the Lord who has us here for some reason.”

___

5:30 p.m.

Mexico’s federal government says the death toll in a magnitude 7.1 earthquake has risen to 79.

The announcement posted on Twitter did not break down the locations of the deaths, but said they included Mexico City and the states of Morelos, Puebla and Mexico.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

5:15 p.m.

Mexico’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake has forced cancellation of a soccer match between two major Mexico City clubs, Cruz Azul and America.

The national soccer league said the game that had been scheduled for Tuesday evening would be reprogrammed for a later date. It’s part of the Copa MX championship series.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

5 p.m.

The governor of Mexico State has announced six more earthquake deaths, bringing nationwide total to 61.

Gov. Alfredo del Mazo had earlier announced two deaths.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 7.1 quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

4:40 p.m.

Nutritionist Mariana Morales was one of the thousands of Mexico City residents who spontaneously participated in rescue efforts following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that devastated central Mexico.

The 26-year-old says she joined the efforts after seeing a building collapsing in a cloud of dust before her eyes.

Morales says she was in a taxi when the quake struck Tuesday and she got out and sat on the sidewalk to recover from the scare. As she sat there the building tumbled a few meters away from her.

“There was the sound of thunder … then dust and all this,” Morales said.

“The people are organizing quickly,” she said.

___

4:30 p.m.

A spokesman for Puebla’s interior department says that 11 people have died so far in the central Mexican state following a magnitude 7.1 quake.

The deaths reported by spokesman Francisco Sanchez bring the toll across Mexico to 55.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

4 p.m.

Gala Dluzhynska was taking a class with 11 other women on the second floor of a building in Mexico City’s Roma district when the structure collapsed during a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

More than two hours after the quake, the women stood on the sidewalk across the street covered from head-to-toe in dust. One had a cut on her foot that was being bandaged.

Dluzhynska said the building’s stairway was very tight and surrounded with glass. As they ran out of the building amid the quake, everything started falling around them. Some people panicked. She said she fell in the stairway and others began to walk over her.

She shouted for help and someone pulled her to her feet. She said the dust was so thick you couldn’t see anything.

“There weren’t any stairs anymore only rocks,” she said.

When they reached the bottom, an exit gate was locked and they began to scream for help. People were pushing her from behind against the bars. Finally a security guard came and unlocked the gate. Outside it was all rubble.

She said they were still looking for one classmate who was missing.

___

3:50 p.m.

Throughout Mexico City, rescuer workers and residents dug through the rubble of collapsed buildings seeking survivors following a 7.1 magnitude quake.

At one site in the Mexico City neighborhood of Roma, rescue workers cheered as they brought a woman alive from what remained of a toppled building. After cheering, the workers immediately called for quiet again so they could listen for the sound of survivors under the rubble.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

3:40 p.m.

The governor of the central Mexican state of Morelos says at least 42 people have died as a result of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake that shook the country.

Gov. Graco Ramirez says that 12 of the dead were in the city Jojutla and four were in the state capital of Cuernavaca, which is a city of about 350,000 people.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

3:15 p.m.

The 7.1 earthquake was too far from the larger quake 11 days ago to be an aftershock and appears to be a separate and unrelated event, said U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Paul Earle. The epicenters of the two quakes are 650 kilometers apart and most aftershocks are within 100 kilometers, Earle said.

Tuesday’s quake was at a known tectonic fault, but not at the edges of two moving plates, like many strong earthquakes, Earle said. This fault was inside the Cocos plate, which about 300 kilometers further east slips under the North American plate. As that happens, there is a “pulling apart motion” of the plates, he said.

There have been 19 earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 or larger within 250 kilometers of Tuesday’s quake in the past century, Earle said.

Tuesday’s quake happened on the anniversary of a deadly 1985 Mexico City 8.0 magnitude earthquake, Earle said.

Earth usually has about 15 to 20 earthquakes this size or larger each year, Earle said.

Initial calculations show that more than 30 million people would have felt moderate shaking from Tuesday’s quake. The US Geological Survey predicts “significant casualty and damage are likely and the disaster is potentially widespread.”

___

3:10 p.m.

Mexico State Gov. Alfredo del Mazo tells the Televisa news network that the magnitude 7.1 earthquake has killed at least two people in his state, which borders Mexico City.

Del Mazo said a quarry worker was killed when the quake unleashed a rock slide, and another died when hit by a falling lamppost.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

3:05 p.m.

Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera says there are reports of people trapped in collapsed buildings in Mexico City, though the number is not clear.

He told the Televisa network that there appear to be 20 or more buildings that collapsed or suffered serious damage.

Mancera said he did not yet have any report of fatalities from the magnitude 7.1 quake which was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2:55 p.m.

Mexico City’s international airport says it has suspended operations due to the magnitude 7.1 quake that shook the central part of the country.

The airport says in a tweet that airport personnel are checking the structures for damage. It’s not immediately clear how many flights have been affected.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2:45 p.m.

Mexican television stations are showing dramatic images a several story building collapsing following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that rattled the center of the country. It was unclear if people were inside the building.

Numerous other buildings collapsed or suffered serious damage across central Mexico in Tuesday’s quake.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

____

2:20 p.m.

Mexican television stations are broadcasting images of collapsed buildings in heavily populated parts of the city following Tuesday’s magnitude 7.1 earthquake. Televisa broadcast images of a plume of smoke rising from one large structure.

One of the collapsed buildings is a large parking garage alongside a hospital.

There are no immediate reports on casualties.

___

2:10 p.m.

Puebla Gov. Tony Gali says buildings have been damaged in his state in central Mexico by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

Gali said on his official Twitter account that “we will continue reviewing” damages and urged people to follow emergency procedures.

“What we have reports of is material damage … we have no reports of deaths so far,” tweeted Puebla Interior Secretary Diodoro Carrasco.

He said the towers of some churches have fallen in the city of Cholula, which is famous for its many churches.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.1 and was centered near the Puebla state town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

___

2 p.m.

On Mexico City’s main boulevard, thousands of people streamed out of buildings into the streets in a panic, filling the plaza around the Independence Monument with a mass of people.

Traffic came to a standstill, as masses of workers blocked streets. Clouds of dust rose from fallen pieces of facades.

Office workers hugged each other to calm themselves.

In the city’s Roma neighborhood, which was struck hard by the 85 quake, small piles of stucco and brick fallen from building facades littered the streets.

Two men calmed a woman, blood trickling form a small wound on her knee, seated on a stool in the street, telling her to breathe deeply.

At a nearby market, a worker in a hard hat walked around the outside of the building, warning people not to smoke as a smell of cooking gas filled the air.

Market stall vendor Edith Lopez, 25, had been in a taxi a few blocks away when the quake struck. She said she saw glass bursting out of the windows of some buildings.

1:50 p.m.

Buildings have been seriously damaged in Mexico City after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake shook central Mexico.

Local television stations broadcast images of collapsed facades and streets filled with rubble.

There were no immediate reports of casualties.

___

1:35 p.m.

The U.S. Geological Survey says it calculates the earthquake that struck central Mexico as magnitude 7.1

It says the epicenter was near the town of Raboso, about 76 miles (123 kilometers) southeast of Mexico City.

Mexico’s seismological agency calculated its preliminary magnitude at 6.8 and said its center was east of the city in the state of Puebla.

Earlier in the day buildings across the city held preparation drills on the anniversary of the 1985 quake.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Mexico: Strong earthquake topples buildings, killing scores – BBC News

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A strong earthquake has struck central Mexico, killing more than 140 people.

The 7.1 magnitude quake toppled dozens of buildings in the capital, Mexico City, including a school where several children were reported to have died.

There has also been widespread damage in Morelos and Puebla states and in Mexico State.

The tremor struck while many people took part in an earthquake drill exactly 32 years after a quake killed thousands in Mexico City.

The country is prone to earthquakes and earlier this month an 8.1 magnitude tremor in the south left at least 90 dead.

The epicentre of the latest quake was near Atencingo in Puebla state, about 120km (75 miles) from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km, the US Geological Survey said.

At least 149 people have died across the country, a civil protection agency spokesman said.

At least 55 people were killed in Morelos state, south of the capital, and 32 reported killed in Puebla state. Forty-nine are confirmed dead in Mexico City, with another 10 in Mexico State, and three dead in Guerrero.

About two million people in the capital were without electricity and phone lines were down. Officials also warned residents not to smoke on the streets as gas mains could have been ruptured.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera told TV network Televisa that rescue services were dealing with collapsed or badly damaged buildings at 44 locations.

At least eight children and a teacher died in the partially collapsed Enrique Rebsamen school, in Mexico City’s southern Coapa district, Mexican media reported. A huge rescue operation is under way to reach children still trapped, including some who are communicating with the outside world via social media.

A six-storey blocks of flats, a supermarket and a factory were also said to be among the collapsed buildings in Mexico City.

Mr Mancera said up to 60 people had been rescued in the capital.

In a televised address, President Enrique Peña Nieto said an emergency had been declared for the affected areas and the military was being drafted in to help with the response.

“We may still find people under the rubble. Stay in touch, follow lines of communication, we will keep people updated,” he said.

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Across Mexico City, teams of rescue workers and volunteers clawed through the rubble with picks, shovels and their bare hands.

“My wife is there. I haven’t been able to communicate with her,” said Juan Jesus Garcia, 33, choking back tears next to a collapsed building.

“She is not answering and now they are telling us we have to turn off our mobile phones because there is a gas leak.”

The earthquake drill was being held in Mexico City on the 32nd anniversary of a quake that killed up to 10,000 people.

Earthquake alarms did sound, correspondents say, but some residents apparently thought they were part of the day of drills.

Mexico City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with more than 20 million people living in the metropolitan area.

The prolonged tremor hit at 13:14 local time (18:14 GMT) and sent thousands of residents into the streets.

Jennifer Swaddle, a teacher at the British International School in Mexico City, told the BBC that part of her classroom collapsed after the earthquake hit.

“Something that started as a tremor quickly escalated into something where the classroom shook,” she said.

“As we were leaving, the outside of my classroom wall fell, so there was a big pile of rubble. Luckily, fantastically, nobody was hurt, but it was incredibly frightening.”


Panic on the streets

By Juan Paullier, BBC News, Mexico City

Mexico City is a city all too used to earthquakes. But this tremor, on the anniversary of another one that left thousands dead in 1985, was especially powerful.

It sent thousands of people into the streets, trembling, shaking, crying, and trying to reach their loved ones by phone.

As time passes it is becoming clear that there are going to be many victims. In the capital alone, about 30 buildings collapsed.

In one of the worst-affected areas I saw dozens of people desperately removing rubble because they believed someone was trapped.


Alfredo del Mazo Maza, governor of the State of Mexico, said schools would be closed on Wednesday. He also ordered all public transport to operate services for free so that people could travel home.

Foreign leaders sent messages of support to Mexico as the scale of the disaster became clear.

US President Donald Trump, who has courted controversy with his plans for a border wall with Mexico, tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted his support following the “devastating news”.

Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, in New York for the UN General Assembly, expressed his “solidarity” with the Mexican people.


Are you in the affected area? Email [email protected].

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Jitters and surprise in South Korea and Japan over Trump’s speech to the UN – Washington Post

TOKYO — The United States’ closest allies in Asia seemed blindsided by President Trump’s latest outburst against North Korea, in which he threatened not just to act against Kim Jong Un’s regime, but also to destroy an entire country of 25 million people.

In his maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump derided Kim as “Rocket Man” and said the United States would “totally destroy North Korea” if needed to protect its allies.

Those allies, Japan and South Korea, were silent on Trump’s threat to bring war to their neighborhood, while China and Russia both warned that Trump risked fueling tensions.

China’s nationalist Global Times newspaper ran a cartoon captioned “Bully pulpit” showing Trump holding a megaphone, shouting “America First,” while the state-owned China Daily newspaper said Trump’s speech was “full of sound and fury.” 

“Today’s dangerous deadlock has been the result of Pyongyang’s and Washington’s persistent pursuit of their own interests in disregard of other countries’ efforts to persuade the two antagonists to talk,” the China Daily wrote in an editorial Wednesday morning. “His threat to ‘totally destroy’ [North Korea] if need be will, therefore, likely worsen the already volatile situation.”

The silence from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was particularly telling, because he has been eager to agree with Trump’s every utterance on dealing with North Korea. A spokesman for Abe, Motosada Matano, declined to comment on Trump’s speech.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whom Trump accused of trying to “appease” North Korea by wanting to talk to the regime, has also been trying hard in recent weeks to show he is in sync with the U.S. president.

Moon’s spokesman pointedly avoided reacting to Trump’s “total destruction” line, saying the speech underscored the urgency of dealing with North Korea and that Seoul believed Trump remained committed to peace.

“We believe he expressed a firm and specific stance regarding the important issue of maintaining peace and security now facing the international community and the United Nations,” the spokesman, Park Soo-hyun, said in a statement.

“Also, we believe he clearly showed how seriously the U.S. government takes this issue by allocating an unprecedentedly long period of time to address the North Korean nuclear and North Korean issues in his U.N. address as a U.S. president,” he said.

[Why Trump’s threat to ‘totally destroy’ North Korea is extraordinary — even for him]

In his speech, Trump said that if Kim Jong Un’s regime continued to threaten the United States and to destabilize East Asia, his administration was prepared to use force. 

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said.

Tensions between the Trump administration and Kim’s regime have risen to new heights as North Korea has fired increasingly long-range missiles, including two that are theoretically able to reach the mainland United States, and has detonated a hydrogen bomb.

As these tensions have mounted, Trump has warned Kim that he will feel the full “fire and fury” of the United States and that the United States was “locked and loaded.”

Successive U.S. administrations have long considered military options for dealing with North Korea highly problematic because the Kim regime could immediately retaliate by unleashing waves of conventional artillery on the South Korean capital, causing widespread devastation. The greater Seoul area is home to 25 million people, almost all of whom are within range of North Korean artillery.

Analysts said that Trump’s speech would ring alarm bells in the region.

“American rhetoric on North Korea has traditionally been quite restrained, they haven’t been trying to match the North Korean rhetoric,” said John Delury, an American professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul. 

“So there is a genuine concern here: Is the Trump administration serious? Are they going to take us into the war we’ve avoided having since 1953?” he said, referring to the end of the Korean War.

Narushige Michishita, a Korea expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, said that while the Abe government supported a hard line on North Korea, many Japanese people would also be concerned about Japan’s suffering during any conflict.

“The use of massive force would cause a huge amount of destruction in South Korea, but Japan might also suffer,” he said.

[Trump’s menacing United Nations speech, annotated]

 For China, the military option was “unimaginable” and “too costly,” said Cui Zhiying, director of the Korean Peninsula Research Center at Tongji University in Shanghai.

“War is an unimaginable option, and it should not be an option at all. It would hurt all parties, everyone on the peninsula and in the Northeast Asia region,” he said. “Peaceful, diplomatic dialogue is the only way to solve this issue,” he said.

Cui cautioned that military action from the United States would drag China into a difficult position as it would have no choice but react.

“China does not want to see war or chaos in North Korea,” he said. “If the United States were to take military actions, China would have to react, simply because it’s right on its doorstep.”

In Russia, which has largely defended North Korea’s interests although it supported the tightened sanctions, Trump’s remarks were seen as a dangerous harbinger of instability.

Leading members of the Russian foreign policy establishment said that Trump’s statements echoed his inexperience and were potentially dangerous for U.S. allies.

“Any military conflict means deaths of civilians. It is especially odd as the U.S. considers South Korea and Japan its allies, and they could be affected in case of a strike,” Andrei Klimov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, told the Interfax news agency in an interview Tuesday.

While Russian officials were initially excited about Trump’s readiness to overturn the international order, a promised detente with Russia has failed to materialize, while bellicose rhetoric against Russian partners such as North Korea and Iran has been stepped up.

At least “unlike his predecessors, he didn’t put Russia among the main threats to mankind and even praised our country for cooperating with the Security Council on North Korea,” Konstantin Kosachyov, another senior member of Russia’s upper house of parliament, wrote in a post on Facebook. 

But Trump’s speech was “disappointing,” said Kosachyov, who was in New York for this week’s summit, particularly for “the extremely dangerous statements about the readiness to ‘totally destroy North Korea’ and exit the Iran deal as ‘one of the worst for the U.S. and an embarrassment.’ Plus Syria, Cuba and Venezuela as though they were the worst dictatorships in the history of mankind.”

Denyer reported from Beijing. Luna Lin in Beijing and Andrew Roth in Moscow contributed to this report.

Read more

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