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AROUND THE NATION

Aftershocks persist from East Coast quake

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that rattled the East Coast on Aug. 23 continues to produce aftershocks.

At least 18 aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 4.5 to as little as 2.0 followed the strongest earthquake to strike the East Coast since World War II, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Two of the latest happened late Monday.

Aftershocks -- smaller tremors that take place in the weeks and possibly months following a major earthquake such as the one centered in Mineral, Va. -- are usually felt in a smaller area than the original quake.

The largest of the aftershocks -- a 4.5-magnitude quake last Thursday -- was felt by people in nearly 1,100 ZIP codes from New England south to Georgia and Illinois to the west, according to the agency. Tens of millions of people from Georgia to Canada were jolted by the initial tremor.

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Man on plane thwarts burglary at his home

BAY, Ark. (AP) -- A man who wanted to capture aerial photos of his home during his first plane ride instead helped catch two men burglarizing it.

Steven Lynn said he could see the men taking items from his house. "I looked down, and sure enough, there was a truck hooked onto a trailer, and guys were loading stuff up," he told the Jonesboro Sun. "It didn't seem to faze them that we were buzzing over in an airplane; we got down pretty low."

Lynn called an uncle who lives nearby and 911.

Craighead County Sheriff's Deputy Phillip Wheaton said the two men unloaded the trailer and left the scene when the uncle arrived. But the pilot and Lynn's uncle followed them until they were stopped by Wheaton and two other officers.

"They were giving us turn-by-turn directions and giving us a description by county road," Wheaton said.

Roosevelt Smith III and Joseph Peel, both of Jonesboro, face burglary and theft charges.

Most of the stolen items were found, but Lynn said a rifle valued at $1,200 was still missing.

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Evacuations are focus of N-plant rule update

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Nuclear power plants must provide updated estimates of how long it would take to evacuate nearby communities in an emergency, under a new rule approved Tuesday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Plant operators would have to update their evacuation estimates after every 10-year census, or when changes in population would increase the estimated time by at least 30 minutes.

The requirement was among several changes that regulators approved regarding emergency preparedness. The changes came as the commission considered sweeping safety changes for the U.S. industry in response to the nuclear power plant crisis in Japan from the March earthquake and tsunami.

The Associated Press reported in June that as America's 104 nuclear reactors have aged, the once-rural areas around them have become far more crowded and difficult to evacuate.

By law, evacuations must be prepared for areas within about 10 miles of every nuclear plant, but many plans haven't kept up with changing populations, according to the AP investigation.