Deadly Taiwan Earthquake, Successful Rocket Launch, False Tsunami Warnings, Oil Security Operation

Deadly Taiwan Earthquake, Successful Rocket Launch, False Tsunami Warnings, and Oil Security Operation
  • ​At least six people were killed, 88 were missing, and more than 200 others injured after a magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck near the coast of Taiwan late Tuesday. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck about 13 miles northeast of Hualien, on the island's east coast, CBS News reports. Taiwan's official news agency reported that the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel, a building in the Hualien district, had caved in. Another building, the Beautiful Life Hotel, was tilting.

  • U.S. entrepreneur Elon Mus​k successfully launched his new rocket, the Falcon Heavy, from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The mammoth vehicle--the most powerful since the shuttle system--lifted clear of its pad without incident. Having such a large and powerful rocket could open up new possibilities, such as much bigger satellites for use by U.S. intelligence and the military, the BBC reports.

  • Hawaiians aren't the only ones who may have experienced a false alarm recently. A National Weather Service test warning for a tsunami went out Tuesday morning, but without being clearly marked as a test. In a later explanatory tweet today, National Weather Service of New York officials said the warning, which was received at least along the East Coast and in Texas, did have TEST in the message, but users would have had to open the alert to see it. The official Twitter account for the Miami branch of the National Weather Service sent out a clarification on its feed at 9:04 a.m., saying an app made a mistake.

  • Iraqi forces launched a security operation along a planned oil transit route to Iran on Wednesday, saying it was clearing and "destroying sleeper cells" in the mountainous border area where two armed groups operate, Reuters reports. Iraqi oil officials announced in December plans to transport Kirkuk crude by truck to Iran's Kermanshah refinery. The trucking was to start last week and officials declined to give reasons for the delay other than it was technical in nature.