Durella and Turtle Crew Records launch Durella Sneakers

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Durella was born Oluwadamilare Okulaja, but he goes by the stage name Durella. He was the winner of 2008 MTV/Zain Advance Warning; he smiled home with 5 million naira (roughly $50,000) cash prize. Durella goes by different aliases such as alias Omoyapayaski, 2gbaski, the king of the Zanga and the rest. He won the hearts of his fans and critics when he dropped his debut album titled Durella - King of the Zanga on Turtle Crew Records. The debut album paraded hit tracks like, Shayo, Enu O Se, Whiskolo Whiska, Queen of my Zanga, In da Zanga and others.

Durella’s New Album

For the year 2010, Durella, and his record label, Turtle Crew Records are working around the clock to release his long awaited second album. Durella’s new singles with the titles “Hustler” and “My Life” were released late last year (2009), and the singles are receiving impressive airplay, and they are topping the music chart in Nigeria. The rating of his new single shows Durella is still on top of his game, and the king of the Zanga is not letting his fans down. He has been focused and unobstructed.

Durella Sneakers

Durella and his management team are using his (2gbaski) brand equity to market and promote the “Durella Sneakers” that were recently made available for sales in Nigeria. According to notjustok’s website, the Sneakers sell for 25,000 Naira (almost $250).The “Durella Sneakers” look cute and comfortable to wear, but few people feel that price tag of 25,000 Naira is too expensive for average Nigerians to afford or to spend on sneakers. I am of the notion that Durella and his team must have done their market survey and research to gather information about consumers’ tastes, preferences and disposable income. I believe “DurellaSneakers” would be marketed to target certain group and niche in the society. I want Nigerians and Africans to support their own so that Zanga dream can be achieved.

Durella Sneakers Ad on Youtube

A More Perfect Union: Obama, Bush and Clinton launch Haiti aid appeal


U.S. President, Barack Obama, announced today that two former U.S. Presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are teaming up to canvass for national fund drive to raise money for Haiti's earthquake survivors.

In President Barack Obama’s words, “By coming together in this way, these two leaders send an unmistakable message to the people of Haiti and to the people of the world. In these difficult hours, America stands united. We stand united with the people of Haiti,"

Former President George W. Bush is visiting the White House since he left office almost exactly a year ago. Former President George W. Bush expressed how he and his wife, former First Lady Laura Bush had been deeply saddened by the scenes of horror and death from Haiti. He encouraged donors to contribute cash instead of contributions of non cash items. Former President George W. Bush assures donors that their cash contributions would be well spent and accounted for him and President Clinton. He said, “One of the things President Clinton and I will make sure is your money is spent wisely."

Obama, Bush and Clinton launch Haiti aid appeal

Ladies Pay Attention to Your Cervix: January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

Written by Elizabeth Poynor, MD

The United States Congress has designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. Cervical cancer screening, especially the Pap smear, has been one of the great triumphs in cancer prevention. Worldwide, cervical cancer remains one of the leading causes of death in women because many areas of the world do not have well-executed screening programs.

In North America, where Pap smear screening is well established, cervical cancer is one of the more uncommon cancers. It is important, however, to continue to emphasize the importance of screening and cervical health so we don’t become complacent about this largely preventable disease.

The Pap smear was designed to pick up early pre-cancerous changes in the cervix. It is not designed to detect cancer cells, cells from the uterus or the ovaries. While Pap smear screening recommendations have recently been under debate in this country, it is generally recommended that women start Pap smear screening soon after becoming sexually active, and yearly thereafter.

Two protocols for women’s cancer screening — mammograms and Pap smears — have been credited as two of our greatest triumphs, leading to lower cancer death rates for both breast and cervical cancer. With cervical cancer, the story appeared pretty straightforward: In the United States, the cervical cancer death rate declined by 65 percent between 1955 and 1992, in large part due to the effectiveness of Pap smear screening. The death rate continues to decline each year.

We’re still absorbing last week’s news that new breast cancer screening recommendations had been issued by an obscure government-sponsored group, which was recommending fewer and less frequent mammograms for most women; we were comforted to know that, at least for now, major medical institutions have stated that their yearly mammogram recommendations will not change. Still, I have already been placed on a mailing list to sign a petition to contest the new mammogram recommendations, and we have a lot of work to do to prevent their enactment.

If abnormal cells are detected on the Pap smear, a colposcopy will be recommended. A colposcopy is a microscopic examination of the cervix, and biopsies will be taken of abnormal areas that are seen.

Treatment of the abnormal Pap smear will be dependent on the biopsy results; it may consist of observation, with more frequent visits to the medical office, or require larger biopsies. The latter could be a LEEP (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) or a conization of the cervix. These larger biopsies remove the abnormal cells and also gather more diagnostic data to assure that no invasive cancer is present. This type of management of women has throughout the years led to lower rates of cervical cancer.

One of the great newer advances in gynecologic oncology over the past 10 years, has been the realization that the human papilloma virus (HPV) causes nearly all cervical cancers. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that is extremely prevalent and infects approximately 80 percent of sexually active women at some point in their lifetime.
Over the past five years, the HPV vaccine has been introduced to younger women in the United States. These vaccines are extremely effective at preventing the transmission of the viral types that they are designed to protect against, although their overall impact on the burden of precancerous and cancers of the cervix has yet to be determined. These vaccines have not been FDA-approved for women over the age of 26.

Unfortunately, as a practicing gynecologic oncologist, I still treat a significant amount of cervical cancer in my New York City practice. This is largely due to women who have not undergone proper screening. This highlights that although we have made monumental strides in the early detection and prevention of this cancer, it is still present. Signs and symptoms of cervical cancer include abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal vaginal bleeding, including vaginal bleeding after intercourse, and pelvic pain.

If cervical cancer is diagnosed, treatment with a gynecologic oncologist should proceed. These are specialists devoted to the surgical and medical management of cervical and other gynecologic cancers. Recently, advances for the treatment of cervical cancer include surgeries to preserve fertility in younger women.

During January, medical practitioners and community organizations will highlight issues related to cervical cancer, HPV disease and the importance of early detection. The take-home message for women is: Get your Pap smear; review with your physician the use of HPV testing, and determine your path to effective cervical screening for the future; discuss any symptoms you may be having; and review the applicability of the HPV vaccine for your daughter.

Although cervical cancer is relatively uncommon in the United States, pre-cancerous changes of the cervix are not. It is through the proper management of these pre-cancerous changes that we have been able to decrease the amount of cervical cancer in our country. We eagerly await the coming news of the worldwide impact that the HPV vaccine will have rendered.

Structural Changes, Customization and Environment laws

drove up $2,500 Nano car to over $8,000

in U.S. Auto market.

written by Ifeyinka

I was thrilled and excited when I read about the news that Tata Motors, the manufacturer of $2,500 Nano car, would make available the sale of Nano car in the U.S automobile market. I know many people felt the same way, and they would have probably fantasized about buying the cost effective Nano car by searching for or making enquiries from the nearest Auto dealers in their vicinity.

These were my own fantasies when I read the news. For a $2,500 Nano car, I can afford to buy a new Nano car every two years. I will spend little or no money at the auto mechanics and spare part stores for one year because the car would come with at least one or two year warranty. For the future, I fantasized about buying three additional Nano cars; one for my "would be soul mate", the other two would be kept in the car garage for my younger siblings when they are about to go to college. I can achieve these quests for under $11,000. The good news about $2,500 Nano entrance to U.S market lost its relevance when I discovered that it would be sold for not less than $8,000. This is because the car has to be reengineered to meet America’s road safety regulations and environmental standards.

Tata Motors has to make structural changes to the original version of the Nano car in order to be marketable in U.S. The changes include adding airbags, restrengthening the roof and increasing the length of the front bumper to meet U.S. requirements which limits the damage in a 5-mph crash. Tata Technologies Ltd would also have to change the Spartan interior, with flat bucket seats, three knobs, a horizontal switch and a steering wheel in order to adhere to U.S safety standards.

Nano’s two-cylinder, 623cc engine would have to be reconstructed to meet stricter U.S. environmental standards. The cylinder is required to be changed because the U.S carbon monoxide emissions standards.

Normally, Tata Motors understands that it would have to customize the accessories of Nano cars to meet the taste, needs, and preference of U.S. consumers, but the cost of implementing changes to meet U.S. road safety regulations and environmental standards are unincorporated costs. These unincorporated costs have driven up a $2500 market ready car to over $8,000. The total costs of meeting the U.S. safety regulations and environmental standards would make a car that cost $2,500 in India sell in U.S. for over $8,000. This is ridiculous because the price increase is over 220%. This is one of the main reasons why U.S. industries can not compete favorably with industries in China, India and other emerging economies.

In as much as I do not want to accuse the American government of adopting a protectionist trade approach under the disguise of consumers’ safety and environmental laws, I want to be sure that all these safety and environment requirements are not put in place by economic bureaucrats to protect Michigan Auto makers. If it is true, this would be in contrary to the free trade approach that America preaches to (or forces on the throat of) other countries.

According to Edmunds.com, an automotive Web site, the cheapest car in U.S. is Hyundai Accent, which has a price tag of $9,970. There is no reason why we can not manufacture a car for less that $4,000 that would be equipped with gas efficiency, safety and environment friendly features.

I hope key policymakers and lawmakers are able to find a level ground to protect the interests of both U.S. consumers’ and domestic industries.

Satellite Images Help Focus Haiti Earthquake Relief

Friday, January 15, 2010

NASA and space agencies around the world are pointing their satellites toward Haiti to aid relief efforts and map damage caused by the devastating earthquake earlier this week.

The 7.0 magnitude quake struck the Caribbean island Tuesday, causing extensive destruction and fatalities estimated in the tens of thousands.

NASA's Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), a joint project with Japan, and its Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite are taking images of Haiti's hardest-hit areas in multiple wavelengths of light.

Ground teams are comparing these pictures to pre-quake photos to assess the damage, and to help rescue and relief workers know where to focus their efforts, agency officials said.

A network of satellites working for the International Charter on Space and Major Disasters has also joined the endeavor. The European Space Agency, the French Space Agency (CNES), Japan, China, Canada and the U.S. have all pitched in under the charter.

Additionally, Germany, Italy and South Korea have also donated satellite time.

The resulting images show widespread ruin around Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital and largest city. The earthquake struck just 10 miles (15 km) southwest of the city.

European researchers combined data from several international satellites top build a so-called "damage elevation map" that illustrates which regions of Haiti have seen the most damage. In the image, the most obvious damage in Port-au-Prince can be seen in red.

"As soon as new data arrives, updated maps will be produced and made available to the international community," ESA officials said.

This article is written by Clara Moskowitz for SPACE.com

Chief Ralph Uwazuruike detained ahead of poll

Nigerian police have arrested the leader of a banned Biafran separatist group ahead of a governorship poll in the southeastern state of Anambra next month, the group's spokesman said Friday.

"Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State for Biafra (MASSOB) has been in police custody in Owerri since Tuesday," Madu Uchenna told AFP.

A police spokesman said Uwazuruike was being held following a petition by an individual, Pascal Okorie, who accusing the MASSOB leader of kidnapping him.

Uchenna said Okorie was using the name of MASSOB to disrupt the February 6 governorship election in Anambra State and Uwazuruike tried to stop him by keeping him in his house.

He said MASSOB was founded in 1999 to revive the idea of an independent Igbo homeland and to carry out a non-violent campaign for self-determination. The movement was neutral in the February poll, he added.

"We did not want to be involved in the election and therefore decided to prevent any individual or group from tarnishing the good name of MASSOB," he said.

Uchenna said Uwazuruike would soon be released following "useful discussions with the police".

The MASSOB leader was acquitted of a treason charge in 2008 after spending three years in jail for leading the group, which was outlawed.

MASSOB accuses the federal government of marginalising and neglecting Igbos and of excluding their leaders from national institutions.

The Igbo are one of the three largest ethnic groups in Nigeria.

Igbo separatists seceded in 1967, forming a mini-state of Biafra, a move that plunged the nation into a 30-month long civil war which claimed more than one million lives, mostly due to disease and starvation.

The war ended in January 1970 with the surrender of the Biafra forces.

Nigerian separatist leader detained ahead of poll

Nigeria Police Contingent in Haiti Safe, Says Onovo

The Inspector General of Police, Ogbonna Onovo, yesterday in Abuja said that all the 121 officers and men of the Nigeria Police Force, currently serving in Haiti as a United Nations Formed Police Unit, are safe, sound, and in good health.

A massive earthquake devastated the entire Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti, early this week in which thousands of Haitians and other nationals, including United Nations officials lost their lives. An estimated 50,000 have been killed with many buildings crushed to rubble.

Meanwhile, the US military yesterday commenced massive distribution of first aid in an effort to help the quake-ravaged country.
Onovo said he received a formal letter from the United Nations Security Agency, stating that entire 121-strong Nigerian police contingent was safe, “and in fact, is part of the rescue team helping victims of the earthquake in Haiti.”

The IGP, who said this through the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Yemi Ajayi, a Chief Superintendent of Police at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, assured families of the police contingent that they are safe and sound.

"At the moment, communication equipment in the earthquake ravaged part of the country is not functional to enable the families of the Nigerian police contingent communicate with their husbands to know the true position of their health," Onovo said.
Also yesterday, Nigeria expressed its readiness to support the on-going global effort to provide rescue and relief assistance to Haiti.

The Minister of Environment, John Odey who issued a statement in Abuja on the matter, lamented the monumental damage to lives and property caused by the quake, saying the situation in Haiti deserves urgent intervention by the international community to save the citizens from further trauma.

Odey said the extent of the damage and loss resulting from the earthquake deserves international sympathy and action to assist the affected citizens to overcome the trauma and pains.

"The Ministry of Environment in collaboration with other relief agencies will work towards providing assistance to affected citizens in Haiti to enable them overcome this traumatic period," he said.
Odey said Nigerian received the news of the devastating earthquake in Haiti with so much pain.

According to him, the threat posed by earthquake globally has further reinforced the need for all nations to cooperate on issues relating to the preservation and sustenance of our environment.
"The environment is a common legacy which must be jointly protected in order to improve on the quality of life and avoid untold consequences to humanity," Odey said.

Meanwhile, a rapid response unit from the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division yesterday started handing out food, water and medical supplies to Haitians outside the main airport in the capital of Port-au-Prince.

Aid groups have had trouble distributing aid because of blocked roads and other logistical obstacles.
Hard-pressed government workers were burying thousands of bodies in mass graves. The Red Cross estimates 45,000 to 50,000 people were killed in Tuesday's cataclysmic earthquake.

Nigeria Global Diaspora Committee (NGDC) Announces a Nigerian Diaspora Fundraising Effort for Haiti’s Earthquake victims.

The Nigeria Global Diaspora Committee (NGDC) hereby announces a concerted effort in our communities living abroad to raise funds for Haiti's Earthquake victims. The Committee is comprised of present and past leaders of the various Nigerian Organizations across the world (see examples below) who have resolved to work together to coordinate the efforts of all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria in order to deliver impactful contributions to the progress and advancement of the Nigerian community both at home and abroad. Latest information is that possibly more than 100,000 people may have died from the earthquake in Haiti and after-tremors; hundreds of thousands more displaced; and a large number of buildings demolished completely. Thousands more may die if relief is not rushed to various parts of the country quickly.

While we acknowledge the option for individual Nigerians to send money to various organizations such as the Red Cross, we also believe that the special historical relationship between Haiti and Nigeria makes it incumbent on both the Nigerian government and Nigerians in the Diaspora to "do something" in our own names. In this regard, the Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN) has been designated as the receiving organization for this particular effort on behalf of the NGDC. Please make all checks and money orders payable as quickly as possible, but certainly by Friday, January 22, 2010 to: Payee: O.A.N. INC.

Memo Reference: NGDC Haiti’s Earthquake Relief Fund All correspondence must be sent to:

Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians

P. O. Box 23155

Brooklyn, NY 11202

Michael Adeniyi, President

Telephone: (646) 489-5341

Email: mgadeniyi@aol.com

Olayinka Dansalami, Esq., Chairman

Telephone: (718) 207-7597,

Email: Dansalami@aol.com

All monies will be receipted, and are tax deductible. Depending on the total amount collected, we will make the money available to some Haiti Diaspora organization; or to a relief organization inside Haiti; or to the Red Cross itself, but on behalf of the Nigerian Diaspora.

Finally, Nigerians who are willing to undergo a short training (for example Red Cross or other relief preparation training) and are prepared to pay their way to go to Haiti for an on-the-ground relief work should send their information to Joan.Osa Oviawe at joanoviawe@gmail.com (Tel: 816-521-0272.) (Telephone. 509-332-3875) or to Dr. J. Wakil at jwakili@yahoo.com (Tel: 816-521-0272.) We will compile the list and convene accordingly as members of an intending Nigeria Diaspora Haiti In-Country Relief Group.

Thank you.

Jumoke Akin-Taylor

Facilitator, NGDC



Michael Adeniyi

Haiti Relief Fund


(646) 489-5341

Haiti Ground Effort Contacts:

Joan.Osa Oviawe



Dr. J. Wakil



This Haiti Relief Effort is Endorsed by Nigerian Village Square, Sahara Reporters and NigerianMuse.com

$2,500 Nano Car to cost $8,000 in US

Source: AP

The world's cheapest car is being readied for sale in the U.S., but by the time India's Tata Nano is retrofitted to meet emissions and safety standards, it won't be that cheap.

Tata Technologies Ltd., the global engineering arm of the Tata group conglomerate, brought the tiny car to Detroit as a publicity stunt for the engineering group.

Tata officials, while maintaining that they couldn't speak for Tata Motors, maker of the $2,500 Nano, said they were involved with the Nano from concept until it launched last July in Mumbai.

They wouldn't say when the Nano might arrive in the U.S. or how much it might cost here, although Ratan Tata, chairman of the group of Tata companies, has said it should be ready for U.S. distribution in about three years.

Tata Motors already has made a European version of the four-seat car that will cost about $8,000 when it debuts in 2011, and a Tata Technologies official said privately that the U.S. version is expected to have a comparable price. The official did not want to be identified because the price has not been made public.

Warren Harris, Tata Technologies president, would only say that the price would be more than the roughly $2,500 charged in India.

"The structural changes that would need to be made, the changes that would be required as far as emissions are concerned, and some of the features that would be appropriate to add to the vehicle for the North American market, obviously that would drive up the price point," he said.

Tata Technologies could be involved in bringing the car up to U.S. standards, said Tony Jones, associate vice president of the global automotive practice.

Before it can be sold here, the car's two-cylinder, 623cc engine would have to be engineered to meet stronger U.S. pollution standards, he said. Airbags would have to be added, the roof strengthened and the front bumper lengthened to meet U.S. requirements to limit damage in a 5-mph crash.

The Spartan interior, with flat bucket seats, three knobs, a horizontal switch and a steering wheel, also would have to be changed to comply with U.S. safety standards that limit movement of passengers not wearing seat belts.

Jones said the Nano Europa has airbags and has passed European safety tests with flying colors.

The Nano, with 12-inch diameter tires, electric windows in the front and crank windows in the back, gets 50 mpg on the highway and has a top speed of 65 mph.

If the $8,000 price tag holds true, it would cost far less than the $9,970 Hyundai Accent, currently the car with the lowest base sticker price in the U.S., according to the Edmunds.com automotive Web site. The price excludes shipping.

A list of charitable organizations active in the nation

The U.S. State Department Operations Center said Americans seeking information about family members in Haiti should call 1-888-407-4747. Due to heavy volume, some callers may receive a recording. "Our embassy is still in the early stages of contacting American citizens through our Warden Network," the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Communications are very difficult within Haiti at this time."

For those interesting in helping immediately, simply text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

Some of the major credit card companies, including American Express and Mastercard are waiving their usual fees so that the full amount of donation will go to the relief organization. Typically, a small percentage is charged to the organization accepting the credit card.

An analysis by the Huffington Post found that credit card companies make about $250 million a year off of people's charitable donations.

Finally, the FBI urges people who are looking for ways to help with earthquake relief to be wary of solicitations that could be from scam artists.

Source: msnbc

The Nexus One Sales Up To 20,000 In First Week

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Google's "superphone," the Nexus One, is producing pedestrian sales numbers out the gate, according toa new report from mobile analytics company Flurry.

Flurry is estimating the Nexus One only sold 20,000 handsets in its first week. That means the Droid, with an estimated 250,000 units sold in its opening week, outsold the Nexus One by more than 12 times. The myTouch 3G, with 60,000 units outsold it by 3 times.

The iPhone 3GS sold 1.6 million units in its opening week, according to Flurry, which means it outsold the Nexus One by a "staggering" 80 times.

Flurry's numbers are just estimates. Flurry works with 10,000 developers building apps. It tracks applications on 80% of the Android and iPhone handsets. When a new handset comes to market, Flurry notes how many apps are being downloaded to the new handset, and then estimates from there.

But these estimates are bad for Google. The company had plenty of hype gearing up for the launch of the phone. It put an ad on its homepage, and it sprayed its ads all over the web. Given all the hype, these sales numbers are pathetic.

To be sure, Google is testing a new retail model with its online store. That's not going to draw in customers right away. Also, it's only available for T-Mobile, which has a smaller base of subscribers. And, the phone was launched two weeks after Christmas. We bet most people who were shopping for a new smartphone, got one in December.

Google's objective with the Nexus One is long term, so weak early sales aren't the end of the world. It wants to disrupt the carrier model by selling direct to consumers. That will take time for consumers to get used to.

Michelle Obama's new look

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

AP ImagesAP Images

Photo Credits: AP Images

Michele Obama has a new haircut and, this time, it's for real!

The first lady revealed a sleek, full-bodied, blunt-cut bob on Tuesday when she accompanied the president to a funeral for Jean Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's mother.

The hairstyle was first popularized in the '20s and was most famously pulled off by actress Louise Brooks. A longer, easier-to-manage version, which appeared in the '60s, was the work of famous stylist Vidal Sassoon. Though some may argue it never went away, in the past few years, the bob has been inching even further into our collective style consciousness and seen on celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Holmes, Victoria Beckham, Katie Holmes, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, and Eva Longoria.

Haitian Earthquake Aftermath

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A view of Haiti's damaged presidential palace. The President and his wife survived. The U.N. said its headquarters collapsed and that at least 11 peacekeepers were reported dead on Jan. 13, with scores of others missing.


PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The Haitian capital has largely been destroyed in the most powerful earthquake to hit the country in more than 200 years. Journalists from The Associated Press describe severe and widespread casualties after a tour of streets where blood and bodies can be seen.

The damage is staggering even in a country accustomed to tragedy and disaster. AP reporters say the National Palace is a crumbled ruin and tens of thousands of people are homeless.

Many gravely injured people sit in the street, pleading for doctors many hours after the quake. In public squares thousands of people are singing hymns and holding hands.

The 7.0-magnitude quake struck at 4:53 p.m. Tuesday, leaving large numbers of people unaccounted for.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — The strongest earthquake in more than 200 years rocked Haiti on Tuesday, collapsing a hospital where people screamed for help and heavily damaging the National Palace, U.N. peacekeeper headquarters and other buildings. U.S. officials reported bodies in the streets and an aid official described "total disaster and chaos."

United Nations officials said hours after the 7.0-magnitude quake struck at 4:53 p.m. that they still couldn't account for a large number of U.N. personnel.

Communications were widely disrupted, making it impossible to get a full picture of damage as powerful aftershocks shook a desperately poor country where many buildings are flimsy. Electricity was out in some places.

Karel Zelenka, a Catholic Relief Services representative in Port-au-Prince, told U.S. colleagues before phone service failed that "there must be thousands of people dead," according to a spokeswoman for the aid group, Sara Fajardo.

"He reported that it was just total disaster and chaos, that there were clouds of dust surrounding Port-au-Prince," Fajardo said from the group's offices in Maryland.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington that U.S. Embassy personnel were "literally in the dark" after power failed.

"They reported structures down. They reported a lot of walls down. They did see a number of bodies in the street and on the sidewalk that had been hit by debris. So clearly, there's going to be serious loss of life in this," he said.

The Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut, said at least two Americans working at its Haitian aid mission were believed trapped in rubble.

Alain Le Roy, the U.N. peacekeeping chief in New York, said late Tuesday that the headquarters of the 9,000-member Haiti peacekeeping mission and other U.N. installations were seriously damaged.

"Contacts with the U.N. on the ground have been severely hampered," Le Roy said in a statement, adding: "For the moment, a large number of personnel remain unaccounted for."

Felix Augustin, Haiti's consul general in New York, said a portion of the National Palace had disintegrated.

"Buildings collapsed all over the place," he said. "We have lives that are destroyed. ... It will take at least two or three days for people to know what's going on."

An Associated Press videographer saw the wrecked hospital in Petionville, a hillside Port-au-Prince district that is home to many diplomats and wealthy Haitians, as well as many poor people. Elsewhere in the capital, a U.S. government official reported seeing houses that had tumbled into a ravine.Kenson Calixte of Boston spoke to an uncle and cousin in Port-au-Prince shortly after the earthquake by phone. He could hear screaming in the background as his relatives described the frantic scene in the streets. His uncle told him that a small hotel near their home had collapsed, with people inside.

"They told me it was total chaos, a lot of devastation," he said.

Haiti's ambassador to the U.S., Raymond Joseph, said from his Washington office that he spoke to President Rene Preval's chief of staff, Fritz Longchamp, just after the quake hit. He said Longchamp told him that "buildings were crumbling right and left" near the National Palace. The envoy said he had not been able to get back in contact with officials.

With phones down, some of the only communication came from social media such as Twitter. Richard Morse, a well-known musician who manages the famed Olafson Hotel, kept up a stream of dispatches on the aftershocks and damage reports. The news, based mostly on second-hand reports and photos, was disturbing, with people screaming in fear and roads blocked with debris. Belair, a slum even in the best of times, was said to be "a broken mess."

The earthquake had a preliminary magnitude of 7.0 and was centered about 10 miles (15 kilometers) west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of 5 miles (8 kilometers), the U.S. Geological Survey said. USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti. In 1946, a magnitude-8.1 quake struck the Dominican Republic and also shook Haiti, producing a tsunami that killed 1,790 people.

The temblor appeared to have occurred along a strike-slip fault, where one side of a vertical fault slips horizontally past the other, said earthquake expert Tom Jordan at the University of Southern California. The quake's size and proximity to populated Port-au-Prince likely caused widespread casualties and structural damage, he said.

"It's going to be a real killer," he said. "Whenever something like this happens, you just hope for the best."

Most of Haiti's 9 million people are desperately poor, and after years of political instability the country has no real construction standards. In November 2008, following the collapse of a school in Petionville, the mayor of Port-au-Prince estimated about 60 percent of the buildings were shoddily built and unsafe in normal circumstances.

Tuesday's quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares a border with Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, and some panicked residents in the capital of Santo Domingo fled from their shaking homes. But no major damage was reported there.

In eastern Cuba, houses shook but there were also no reports of significant damage.

"We felt it very strongly and I would say for a long time. We had time to evacuate," said Monsignor Dionisio Garcia, archbishop of Santiago.

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