Pacific tsunami fears following Chile quake

There were fears tonight a tsunami could wreak devastation across the Pacific after a massive earthquake in Chile.

More than 120 people were killed when the 8.8 magnitude quake struck the South American country early today.

It sent shockwaves out from the epicentre 70 miles from Chile’s second city Concepcion, causing buildings and bridges to collapse and catch fire.

The quake, the most powerful to hit the nation in 50 years, struck around 200 miles south west of the capital Santiago.

As powerful aftershocks caused further problems along the coast, tsunami warnings were issued in 53 countries around the Pacific Ocean – roughly a quarter of the globe.

Nintendo profits plunge

nintendowii01_c2574_247503tGamers’ enthusiasm for keeping fit or playing tennis in their living rooms may be on the wane as sales of the Wii console plunged in the first half, slashing Nintendo’s profits and prompting the group to cut its full-year forecasts.

Nintendo said it had continued its strategy of “putting smiles on many people’s faces… regardless of age, gender or gaming experience” this year. Yet there would have been few smiles in its boardroom as the gaming giant reported that net income had fallen from ¥144.8bn (£950m) to ¥69.4bn.

The next big thing in movies

the-movies360-cropNorth Acton is an unlikely outpost for Hollywood. Yet in a West London business park, in headquarters filled with film memorabilia, Lovefilm is plotting its rise. A life-sized model of Indiana Jones cracks his whip next to the reception desk, while Kung Fu Panda aims a kick at visitors. The walls are plastered with stills and quotes from iconic movies from The Godfather to Jaws. The office is a vibrant reflection of an online DVD rental company that has leapt from 100,000 subscribers to more than a million in four years – one that hopes to more than double its customer base by 2014 and is set to launch an online service direct to television screens.

Clouds have gathered as Lovefilm has been forced to react to the recent postal strikes but Simon Calver, the chief executive, is relaxed. “The good thing about our business is that there are no late fees, so people won’t be penalised,” he says. “We track customers having a problem and give them some redress in the form of extra film views.”

WPP predicts profits boost

WPPbuilding11Advertising and media giant WPP today predicted a “marked improvement” in second-half profits but warned that consumer confidence remained fragile.

The company added that third quarter trading was “less worse” than the previous three months, with revenue declines slowing to 8.7 per cent.

But it said: “Confidence remains fragile amongst consumers, because of the shadow of high unemployment levels and amongst corporates, because Armageddon and Apocalypse Now were barely avoided in September 2008.”

Strikes deep into al-Qa’ida territory

alqaeda_0After a sweep of a militant stronghold in the lawless tribal region of South Waziristan, the Pakistani army has recovered passports purportedly belonging to two leading al-Qa’ida figures, including a member of the notorious Hamburg cell that orchestrated September 11.

Among a pile of documents, photographs, weapons and computers seen by The Independent yesterday in Waziristan, is a German passport belonging to Said Bahaji, the logistical expert of the notorious German terror cell that orchestrated the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

Bahaji, 34, who is of Moroccan descent, obtained the passport just days before September 11 and used it to travel to Pakistan according to the information stamped in the document.

China’s stolen children

ChineseChildrenThey gaze out at the camera with every variety of human expression – fear, hope, doubt, bafflement, dread. Some are asleep. One gapes with huge eyes. Some of the tiniest manage a sunny smile. But in truth, these children have little to smile about. What binds them together is that all of them were whisked away from their homes by criminal gangs and sold to families desperate enough to buy a child because they either want a son or are unable to have a child themselves.

A newly launched Chinese police website is aimed at reuniting scores of children found during a recent police crackdown on the trade.