National briefs (1/6/13)

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Quake shakes Alaska, Canada

JUNEAU, Alaska -- A powerful earthquake sparked a tsunami warning for hundreds of miles of Alaskan and Canadian coastline, but the alert was canceled when no damaging waves were generated.

The magnitude 7.5 quake and tsunami warning that followed caused concern in some coastal communities, with alarms sounding and people rushing to higher ground for safety.

But the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center later said the waves were too small to pose a threat, reaching just 6 inches above normal sea level in places such as Sitka and Port Alexander.

Ship salvage challenged

ANCHORAGE, Alaska-- Responders on Saturday prepared to hook a main tow line to an oil-drilling ship grounded on rocks near a remote Alaska island. Officials overseeing the response to the grounding of Royal Dutch Shell's Kulluk barge said they could use the line to "test capabilities" as they prepare to recover the ship.

But the plans were subject to tides and weather, which can be fierce in the North Pacific during winter.

Officials also hoped to deploy oil-soaking booms around nearby Kodiak Island, especially near any salmon streams. They say there's no sign the hull has been breached or that oil has spilled from the vessel.

The Kulluk ran aground during a fierce year-end storm, and more than 600 people are working on its recovery.

Oldest American, 114, dies

A 114-year-old South Carolina woman who was the oldest living U.S. citizen has died, two of her daughters said Saturday.

Mamie Rearden of Edgefield, who held the title as the country's oldest person for about two weeks, died Wednesday at a hospital in Augusta, Ga., said Sara Rearden of Burtonsville, Md., and Janie Ruth Osborne of Edgefield. They said their mother broke her hip after a fall about three weeks ago.

Gerontology Research Group, which verifies age information for Guinness World Records, listed Mamie Rearden as the oldest living American after last month's passing of 115-year-old Dina Manfredini of Iowa.

Diana photo set for auction

AMHERST, N.H. -- A photo marked "not to be published" that shows a teenage Diana Spencer before she became Princess of Wales, with a young friend seated beside her, will be featured in an auction this month in New Hampshire.

Stamped February 1981 on the back, the photo was taken around the time Charles, the Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer ended months of speculation and announced they were to be married.

Towers to be added to Mall

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama's second inauguration may bring smaller crowds to the National Mall than his first, but officials fear that potent new wireless gadgets will clog the airwaves above the festivities just as before.

So phone companies are setting up an extensive network of temporary towers and machinery the length of the Mall to handle the explosion in wireless traffic.

Wireless traffic congestion was a big problem four years ago when 1.8 million people packed the Mall for the inauguration. -- Compiled from news services



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