Leading article: Not many dead

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The Independent Online

By Japanese or Californian standards, Tuesday's earthquake on the US East Coast was no big deal. Indeed, for inhabitants of Washington DC or New York it was a relief that the shuddering and shaking turned out to be an act of God, rather than a deadly deed perpetrated by al-Qa'ida or some other terrorist group.

Statistically, the latter was much more likely: it is only 10 years since 9/11, but not for 70 years has so strong a quake struck the Atlantic seaboard. When it came, it was an oddly comforting reminder that the capital of the most powerful country on Earth is as helpless as anywhere else in the face of Mother Nature.