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BBC (UK), CHINADAILY (China), CNN (US), XINHUA (China)

Worldcrunch

Two powerful earthquakes have killed at least 54 people and injured 337 in northwest China, according to state media.

The quakes hit along the border of two counties -- Min and Zhang -- at around 7:45 a.m. local time, according to state news agency Xinhua. The first earthquake (near Dingxi city) had a magnitude of 6.6. Just over an hour later, a magnitude 5.6 quake hit the same area.

Emergency services, including the Red Cross Society of China, are sending tents and supplies. There are also fears rescue efforts may be hampered by heavy rain, reports CNN.

Armed police troops and heavy machines have been dispatched to repair a highway and train services in the area have also been suspended, reports China Daily.

In 2008, an earthquake in Sichuan province left up to 90,000 people dead and millions homeless.

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Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

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