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A powerful 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck late Sunday off the coast of northern California, the US Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or a tsunami threat. The quake struck at 0518 GMT with an epicenter located 77 kilometers (48 miles) west-northwest of the town of Ferndale and at a depth of seven kilometers (4.3 miles), said the USGS, which monitors earthquakes worldwide. There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage, but early reports indicate the quake was felt as far away as San Francisco, around 400 kilometers south of Ferndale. Authorities in Humboldt County, the part of sparsely-populated northern California some 250 miles up the coast from San Francisco, said they had no calls about damage of injuries, local media reported.
The Taliban on Monday vowed to target Afghanistan's presidential election, urging their fighters to attack polling staff, voters and security forces before the April 5 vote to choose a successor to Hamid Karzai. NATO combat troops are withdrawing from the country after 13 years of fighting a fierce Islamist insurgency that erupted when the Taliban were ousted from power after the 9/11 attacks on the United States. "We have given orders to all our mujahideen to use all force at their disposal to disrupt these upcoming sham elections -- to target all workers, activists, callers, security apparatus and offices," the Taliban said in an emailed statement. Billions of dollars have been spent on military operations and development in Afghanistan, but the country remains wracked by poverty and violence with weak government structures and a fragile economy dependent on aid money.