By Marcus Lavergne


More than 200 reported dead in South Asia after high-magnitude quake

A magnitude-7.5 earthquake that struck in northeastern Afghanistan resulted in heavy casualties Monday. The quake was felt in surrounding areas like Pakistan, India and Tajikistan and has reportedly resulted in the deaths of over 200 people, according to early reports from Afghan, Pakistani and Indian officials. That estimate is likely to rise in the coming days due to a lack of communication in some hard-hit rural areas.

The epicenter was located nearly 140 miles underground, according to the United States Geological Survey, and hit close to the Afghan city of Jarm. This quake is being compared to the magnitude-7.6 earthquake that struck in nearby Kashmir 10 years ago, which led to 18,000 deaths.

Monday’s quake is being called stronger than the 2005 incident in Kashmir, but USGS officials assessed that there was less surface damage because of its depth.

Reports have stated that panic was a major cause of injury and death. A stampede in a northern Afghan town resulted in the deaths of 12 girls who were all trying to evacuate their school.


The University of Mississippi takes down state flag

For months, controversy surrounding the Confederate flag has sparked protest. Now, the University of Mississippi, often known as Ole Miss, has taken down Mississippi’s state flag, which flashes the Confederate symbol in its top left corner.

The removal was brought about by the efforts of the Associated Student Body, Ole Miss’ student government. Last week the university’s student senate voted 33-15 with one abstention to request removal of the flag, and it was taken down by campus police officers on Monday.

There has been a divide in public opinion of how the flag removal should have been handled. Student Sen. Andrew Soper organized a petition to keep the flag up on campus. It received over 1,500 votes. He said the removal “should have [been] done through the state of Mississippi.”

Allen Coon, a student senator and president of the campus’s College Democrats, was one of the leading supporters of the removal. He told reporters he was “surprised and elated” that it actually happened. According to him, campus police removed the flag without any announcements.


Northern Nevadans hoping for norovirus relief during school break

Officials in northern Nevada are hoping that a fall hiatus for schools around the region will stop a norovirus outbreak that has affected over 1,700 faculty and staff. Health officials are saying the virus has grown at an alarming rate.

Day cares and preschools have been included in a list of around 20 schools affected by the norovirus, which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

As of Oct. 23, 17 schools are still on the outbreak list. Washoe County Health officials are urging students and faculty to wash their hands.

Marcus Lavergne can be reached at and on Twitter @mlavergne21.