While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 15 edition

Quake of magnitude 6.4 strikes Japan, killing at least 9 and leaving hundreds injured 

A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake hit Japan’s south-western island of Kyushu on Thursday (April 14), collapsing homes, sparking fires and killing at least nine people and injuring hundreds, government and media said, as officials scrambled to rescue people feared trapped in the rubble.  

Thousands of dazed residents reportedly fled their homes and television footage showed damaged buildings, buckled roads and lumps of broken concrete in the streets after the quake on the southwestern island of Kyushu.  NHK footage showed what appeared to be a house ablaze and firefighters dousing it with water, one of several fires reportedly sparked by the quake that left 650 injured, according to the public broadcaster.

Another 6.4-magnitude aftershock hit the area about two hours after the first quake, but authorities said there was no danger of a tsunami, and the nation's nuclear regulator reported no problems at power plants.


Brussels metro bomb suspect Osama Krayem talking to police, lawyer says

A Swedish man held in Belgium on suspicion of taking part in last month's ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) attacks on Brussels is talking to investigators, his lawyer said on Thursday, after Osama Krayem's detention was extended by a month.

Krayem, who was charged with terrorist murder after his arrest in Brussels last Friday, is accused of being the man seen with suicide bomber Khalid El Bakraoui minutes before he blew himself up on a metro train. Police are still searching for a rucksack Krayem was carrying that may have contained a bomb.

"He walked away. He turned back," defence counsel Vincent Lurquin told reporters. "We must ask ourselves why?"


Heat kills: Global warming surge may rout Great Barrier Reef's natural defences

A heat surge from global warming would overwhelm the natural ability of coral in Australia's Great Barrier Reef to survive seasonal temperature changes, in much the way sun bathers would burn if they did not build their tan slowly.

A study released on Thursday examined 27 years of temperature data along the world's biggest reef. It found that corals were able to cope with gains in water temperatures when the heat built up step-by-step, rather than abruptly.

In three-quarters of 372 cases studied along the reef, water temperatures gained and then dipped for about 10 days before rising to a peak high enough to kill corals, the study found. That 10-day respite apparently let the corals build up resistance and survive warm shocks.


Czechs to pick 'Czechia' as one-word name after decades of hesitation

The Czech Republic's leaders are expected on Thursday to pick "Czechia" as the one-word alternative name of their country to make it easier for companies, politicians and sportsmen to use on products, name tags and jerseys.

Once approved by the Czech president, the cabinet and the heads of the two chambers of parliament, the Foreign Ministry will lodge the name with the United Nations and it will become the country's official short geographic name, a ministry spokeswoman said.

The Czech Republic emerged, along with Slovakia, from the peaceful breakup of the old Czechoslovakia in 1993. But so far there is no standardised one-word English name for the Czech Republic, unlike, say, France, the shortened version of the French Republic.


Apple to donate a portion of App Sales to support the environment

Apple Inc will donate sales of select apps in April to the World Wildlife Fund amid its growing focus on environmental issues, the company announced.

As part of Apps for Earth, launched Thursday, the iPhone maker and developers will donate proceeds from 27 apps created for the campaign to the conservation group.

The campaign, which will run through April 24 and is among the first of its kind to be delivered in the App Store, follows a slate of recent environmental efforts from Apple and reflects the more socially conscious image Apple CEO Tim Cook has cultivated for the company.