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Pinera assumes Chile presidency amid strong quakes

Mar 11, 2010 12:21:00 PM - thestate.com
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera is urging citizens along the coast to move quickly to higher ground following five strongly felt aftershocks, including the biggest since last month's 8.8-magnitude temblor.

Chile's congress also was evacuated as a precautionary measure moments after Pinera was sworn in Thursday.

Aftershocks with preliminary magnitudes of 5.1, 7.2, 6.9 and 6.0, respectively, rocked Chile throughout the inauguration.

Pinera kept his cool but said Chileans shouldn't ignore the possibility of dangerous waves. The Chilean Navy issued a tsunami warning, but the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the aftershocks were too small to cause dangerous waves.

The 7.2 aftershock is the strongest yet. It was larger than Haiti's devastating magnitude-7 quake last month.

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