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Strong Earthquake Rocks Eastern Indonesia


A few hours before Presidents Clinton and Bush arrived in the tsunami zone, a strong earthquake rocked parts of eastern Indonesia's Sulawesi region Saturday, causing panic in seaside communities.

Residents of southeastern Sulawesi fled their homes for high ground, but there have been no reports of casualties or damage, and authorities say there is no sign that the shock triggered tsunami waves.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 6.5-magnitude quake occurred just after 8 a.m., local time (0004 UTC). It shook the sea floor at a spot in the Flores Sea, 65 kilometers from Bau Bau town more than 3,000 kilometers from the site of December's catastrophic, 9.0-magnitude earthquake off the coast of northwest Sumatra.

U.S. seismologists say the earthquake two months ago was more than 5,000 times as powerful as today's jolt.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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