Nation and World briefs for December 30

Magnitude 6.2 earthquake hits region in eastern Indonesia

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Magnitude 6.2 earthquake hits region in eastern Indonesia

TOLOTANGGA, Indonesia (AP) — A magnitude 6.2 earthquake on Friday hit a region in the eastern part of Indonesia, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The earthquake hit about 6:30 a.m. in the Sumbawa region, the agency said. The epicenter was about 33 kilometers south of the village of Tolotangga, which is 1,350 kilometers east of the nation’s capital, Jakarta.

The earthquake was about 72 kilometers deep, the agency said.

In a statement, Indonesia’s National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the earthquake was also felt in the neighboring province of East Nusa Tenggara and the tourist island of Bali.

The earthquake caused many residents in the areas hit to pour out from their houses, the agency said. But it added that there were no immediate reports of damages or casualties.

No tsunami warning has been issued, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

On Dec. 7, Indonesia’s Aceh province was hit by a magnitude 6.5 quake that killed more than 100 people.

The world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia is prone to earthquakes due to its location on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” an arc of volcanoes and fault lines in the Pacific Basin. A 2004 quake and tsunami killed a total of 230,000 people in a dozen countries, most of them in Aceh.

Number of officers killed in the line of duty rose in 2016

(AP) The number of police killed in the line of duty rose sharply in 2016, driven by shootings of police around the country, most notably ambushes in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

From Jan. 1 through Wednesday, 135 officers lost their lives. Some died in traffic accidents, but nearly half were shot to death.

That’s a 56 percent increase in shooting deaths over the previous year. Of the 64 who were fatally shot, 21 were killed in ambush attacks often fueled by anger over police use of force involving minorities.

“We’ve never seen a year in my memory when we’ve had an increase of this magnitude in officer shooting deaths,” said Craig Floyd, president and chief executive of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. “These officers were killed simply because of the uniform they wear and the job they do. This is unacceptable to the humane society that we are.”

In Dallas, a sniper on July 7 attacked at the end of what had been a peaceful rally against police brutality. He killed five law enforcement officers and wounded nine others — the largest death toll among law enforcement from a single event since the 9/11 attacks, which killed 72 officers. Months later, Dallas businesses and residents still display blue ribbons and banners declaring, “We support our Dallas police officers.”

Rural residents pool cash to save last bars, gathering sites

RENWICK, Iowa (AP) — Once-bustling Renwick, Iowa, lost its grocery, hardware store, school and Ford dealership years ago, but when its sole bar closed last June, it seemed to some residents there wasn’t much of a town left.

So a group of seven friends and spouses who had met for beers at the bar for decades took matters into their own hands. One of them bought the place and the others pooled their money to fix it up, showing up after work to replace floors and walls on steamy summer nights before reopening in September as the Blue Moose Saloon.

It was an impressive achievement but one that is becoming more common as population continues to trickle away from rural America. Residents of some towns are scrambling to hold on to at least a few places where people can still get together. It’s not just bars but groceries, cafes and other stores.

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They don’t expect to turn around their communities’ prospects, but after watching so many businesses shuttered, they feel they had to draw the line somewhere.

“There are two places not too far, over in Lu Verne, but it’s not our place,” said one of the Blue Moose owners, Ron Oberhelman, a 59-year-old farmer who has seen the population fall from about 500 to 235 residents. “It’s not our home town.