Mother Nature played havoc in California this week with two disasters striking both ends of the state.
A magnitude 5.4 earthquake rattled Southern California on Tuesday rocking buildings and homes across the region as far as Las Vegas.
Further north, 2000 homes near Yosemite National Park are in the path of a massive wildfire.
Dubbed the "Telegraph Fire", the blaze has scorched more than 32,000 acres of land and consumed 21 homes since Saturday.
Karadzic answers judge
Radovan Karadzic appeared before a UN war crimes judge for the first time on Thursday.
The former Serb-leader, captured last week near Belgrade, is facing charges of genocide committed during the 1992 to 1995 Bosnia war.
Karadzic will remain in prison until the trial, expected to begin in October.
Bomb in the Pacific
New Zealand suffered a second belt of torrential rain and flooding this week due to a ‘weather bomb’ blasting the country.
The ‘bomb’ exploded across the north island last weekend, before heading south, cutting power to more than a 150,000 households, ripping roofs from homes, causing land slides and massive flooding.
The New Zealand MetService says the storms are easing but a state of emergency remains in many parts of the country.
A Virgin in space
Entrepreneur Richard Branson has unveiled the plane that will transport Virgin Airways galactic travel service into space.
The WhiteKnightTwo is a twin fuselage, high-altitude aircraft that will launch Virgin’s SpaceShipTwo from 49,000 feet above the earth.
Virgin Galactic hopes to send its first paying customers into space by 2010.Tickets for this extraterrestrial event start at $200,000 each.
WTO talks collapse
Marathon talks with the World Trade Organization collapsed on Tuesday as the United States and India refused to compromise.
At the summit held in Geneva, the ministers were not able to agree on US cotton subsidies, or those to protect farmers in the developing world from cheap imports.
The halt is seen as a huge setback for the global economy in what has been a very challenging year.
The high-level talks ended without new trade deals for farmers and manufacturers, no global economic boost and no grand deal for Third World development.
Baby boom in Sichuan
The Panda world experienced a bear baby boom this week with four giant panda cubs born within a 14 hour of period.
The tiny cubs, no bigger than a person’s hand, were born at the Giant Panda Breeding Centre in Chengdu, Sichuan province.
The cubs are said to be healthy and in the care of staff at the world-renowned centre.
With the four new additions, Chengdu is now home to a total of 71 pandas, good news for one of the world’s most endangered animals.
Treasures fill capital
China’s greatest treasures are being brought together for an amazing exhibition in Beijing this month.
Two years in the making, the Grand Cultural Relics Exhibition at the Capital Museum is actually five exhibitions in one.
The collection includes hundreds of exhibits of the most precious items from more than 70 museums in 27 provinces, including the Terracotta Warriors and a pottery bowl dated between 5000 and 3000 BC.
For some of the exhibits, this is the first time they have left their hometowns.
All go for Iraq
The International Olympic Committee has given the green light for Iraq to participate in the Beijing Olympics.
The committee lifted the country’s suspension from the Olympic association after Iraqi government officials pledged to hold open elections for its national Olympic committee.
Full steam ahead
Today marks the inaugural journey of the world’s fastest intercity rail link between Beijing and Olympic co-host city Tianjin.
Rail fans queued up Thursday morning to buy tickets for today's journey that will reach speeds of up to 350km per hour.
Homage in Qinhuangdao
The Olympic torch passed through co-host city Qinhuangdao in Hebei province on Thursday.
75-year-old torchbearer Ji Shaolin paid homage to former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch by kissing the nose of his statue in Qinhuangdao’s Olympic Park.
Orchestral opening weekend
Famed maestro Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra will perform twice in Beijing as part of the Olympic Games.
The group is the only American orchestra scheduled to play during the opening weekend.
The first show will be at the National Center for Performing Arts on August 9 and the second will be a free concert at the Olympic Green on August 10.
（英语点津 Helen 编辑）
" style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 120px" title="">Meghan Peters is a foreign language expert at China Daily’s Web site. A recent graduate from the University of Washington in Seattle, Meghan has written for The Seattle Times, the Seattle Post Intelligencer and the Seattle Weekly, where she also worked on various multimedia projects.
" style="WIDTH: 120px; HEIGHT: 120px" title="">Marc Checkley is a freelance journalist and media producer from New Zealand. Marc has had an eclectic career in the media/arts working on various projects in theatre, television, online, radio, print and film. Marc spent three months with the China Daily last year leading the online video news initiative. He returns to chinadaily.com.cn as Senior Editor and Producer for the website’s Olympic media news coverage.