View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Tuesday 22 February

Awoke to the terrible news of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that reduced parts of Christchurch (New Zealand) to rubble. The quake struck just before 1pm local time (1 am GMT), causing the collapse of many buildings and the spire of the city's cathedral. As I type this (Wednesday morning), the death toll stands at 75, likely to rise much higher as the rubble is being searched. The risk of aftershocks remains; one expert said this quake was an aftershock of the 7.1 earthquake that hit Christchurch on 4 September 2010. This was centred 25 miles away (today's quake was only 6 miles away) and much deeper in the earth's crust. It makes for eerie viewing when you see city streets, that could be anywhere in Western Europe, in rubble.

Libya continues to headline the news, with its 'leader', Col Gaddafi, showing that he only cares for himself, and not for the people he is supposed to lead. The BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner, drily put it that Mr Gaddafi had spent the past 41 years in a bubble. He doesn't like that it is being burst, so he is lashing out left, right and centre. The apparatus of state is disintegrating or defecting, leaving him only with his immediate family clique. And meanwhile, the ordinary people suffer. It sounds tired and cliché'd to hear all the diplomatic waffle from the UN and various foreign dignitaries. I'll stop here, lest I become a Hebridean-based Gaddafi look-alike, with page long rants.

Today's weather? Non-descript grey and cold.