WASHINGTON, July 3 (UPI) -- Residents from the U.S. midsection eastward tried to beat sweltering, dangerous heat Tuesday as crews worked to restore power for about 1.8 million people.
Boil-water orders, arrangements to dispose of spoiled food, tree removal, power restoration and countermeasures to escape the hot, muggy weather ruled Independence Day eve, officials in the affected states said.
"If you need to charge your phone or you need Internet or anything, you show up here and it's literally a madhouse," Jacqueline Hirsch of Bethesda, Md., told WJLA, Washington, Monday of showing up at a library branch.
About 1.8 million people in 11 states stretching from Indiana to Delaware and Washington, D.C., were without power Monday night after strong storms accompanied by powerful winds swept across the states Friday.
Officials blamed Friday's derecho -- a widespread, long-lasting storm associated with a fast-moving band of severe thunderstorms in the form of a squall line -- for at least 18 deaths. Three other deaths were reported in North Carolina from a second round of storms Sunday.
Earthquake rattles parts of New Zealand
WELLINGTON, New Zealand, July 3 (UPI) -- A powerful earthquake was felt across parts of New Zealand Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Service said.
The USGS said the earthquake, centered about 107 miles from Wellington, had a magnitude of 6.2, but Geonet reported the quake was a 7-magnitude, Radio New Zealand reported.
The earthquake, which lasted about a half-minute, was felt from the Bay of Plenty on the North Island to Dunedin on the South Island, Radio New Zealand said.
The Wellington Region Emergency Management Office said the earthquake did not trigger a tsunami threat, the New Zealand Herald said.
Officials said they did not receive reports of significant damage, although some items were knocked off store shelves in Whanganui.
"It is at a depth of 257 kilometers [about 160 miles], which means we are pretty lucky at the moment," a fire official in Wellington told the Herald.
A 3.8-magnitude aftershock was recorded about 9 miles east of Christchurch, officials said.
Militants say they'll destroy more shrines
TIMBUKTU, Mali, July 3 (UPI) -- Islamist militants in Mali say they will continue to destroy historic mausoleums in Timbuktu.
The militant group Ansar Dine, which led a successful revolt against Mali's central authority in March, has destroyed at least half-dozen shrines in the internationally protected city of Timbuktu over the past several days.
"It's very simple: It doesn't correspond to the rules of Islam," Sanda Ould Boumana, a spokesman for Ansar Dine in Timbuktu, was quoted as saying by The New York Times. "What doesn't correspond to Islam, we are going to correct."
The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage Committee, has condemned the destruction of World Heritage sites and called on UNESCO to send a mission to Mali to assess the extent of the damage and destruction.
Ministry: 82 Taliban killed in 24 hours
KABUL, Afghanistan, July 3 (UPI) -- Afghan and NATO-led forces killed as many as 82 Taliban in seven provinces within a 24-hour period, Afghan officials said Tuesday.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement eight insurgents were injured and four others detained during the raids in Kabul, Jawzjan, Kandahar, Uruzgan, Wardak, Logar and Ghazni provinces, Pakistani news agency NNI reported.
The joint forces also found and seized weapons, the statement said.
An Australian special forces soldier was killed in Uruzgan province Monday, bringing to 33 the number of Australians killed in the conflict, Khaama Press reported.
Lt. Gen. David Hurley of the Australian military said Tuesday the soldier was killed during an operation involving Australian and Afghan troops targeting an insurgent commander. The trooper, on his seventh tour to Afghanistan in 11 years, was hit during a small arms firefight.
Also Monday, officials said Taliban carried out a suicide car bombing Monday, killing seven civilians and injuring 23 others in Kandahar province, NNI said.
More than 1,500 insurgents have been killed and more than 1,950 others detained since the beginning of the year by joint forces.
Actor Andy Griffith dead at 86
MANTEO, N.C., July 3 (UPI) -- Television icon Andy Griffith died Tuesday in Manteo, N.C., his friend, Bill Friday, former president of the University of North Carolina, confirmed.
He was 86.
The actor was the star of the classic sitcom "The Andy Griffith Show" and legal drama "Matlock." His film credits include "A Face in the Crowd," "No Time For Sergeants," "Angel in My Pocket," "Adams of Eagle Lake," "The Treasure Chest Murder," "Hearts of the West," "Spy Hard," "Waitress" and "Playing the Game."
Friday confirmed his death to WITN-TV, Greenville, but did not identify a cause.
Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, who played Griffith's son, Opie, as a child on "The Andy Griffith Show," told Deadline.com Griffith "has not been well for some time."
"His love of creating, the joy he took in it whether it was drama or comedy or his music, was inspiring to grow up around," Howard told Deadline. "The spirit he created on the set of 'The Andy Griffith Show' was joyful and professional all at once. It was an amazing environment."
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