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Extra! Chile Slammed By 8.4-Magnitude Earthquake

Chile has been walloped yet again, this time by an "8.4-magnitude earthquake in the central-north zone" of the country, Santiago daily La Tercera reported Thursday.

The offshore event struck Wednesday night at 7:54 p.m. local time near the city of Illapel. The government's National Emergency Office (ONEMI) has so far confirmed five deaths, three from heart attacks and two from fallen debris. Another person is reported missing. ONEMI estimates that one million people have been evacuated in coastal areas in response to a tsunami alert that authorities issued for the entire length of Chile's extensive Pacific shoreline.

Tsunami waves did come ashore in Concón, a popular tourist destination approximately 140 kilometers northwest of Santiago, which was also shaken hard by the quake.

Deputy Interior Secretary Mahmud Aleuy described the earthquake as the "sixth strongest in the history of Chile and strongest in the world so far this year." It was Chile's third 8.0-magnitude or larger event in just the past five years. An 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck the south-central part of the country on Feb. 27, 2010. Four years later, on April 1, 2014, an 8.2-magnitude quake hit the northern city of Iquique.

Numerous videos of the powerful earthquake have surfaced in recent hours, including one taken in a Santiago supermarket, where employees appear to have locked customers in during the event. In the recording, frightened shoppers can be heard yelling things like "open the damn door."

The quake struck just ahead of Chile's "fiestas patrias" (national celebrations), which coincide with the country's Independence Day (Sept. 18) and tend to last several days.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Wagner's MIA Convicts: Where Do Deserting Russian Mercenaries Go?

Tens of thousands of Russian prisoners who've been recruited by the Wagner Group mercenary outfit have escaped from the frontlines after volunteering in exchange for freedom. Some appear to be seeking political asylum in Europe thanks to a "cleared" criminal record.

Picture of a soldier wearing the Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Soldier wearing the paramilitary Wagner Group Logo on their uniform.

Source: Sky over Ukraine via Facebook
Anna Akage

Of the about 50,000 Russian convicts who signed up to fight in Ukraine with the Wagner Group, just 10,000 are reportedly still at the front. An unknown number have been killed in action — but among those would-be casualties are also a certain number of coffins that are actually empty.

To hide the number of soldiers who have deserted or defected to Ukraine, Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin is reportedly adding them to the lists of the dead and missing.

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Some Wagner fighters have surrendered through the Ukrainian government's "I Want To Live" hotline, says Olga Romanova, director and founder of the Russia Behind Bars foundation.

"Relatives of the convicts enlisted in the Wagner Group are not allowed to open the coffins," explains Romanova.

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