Iran The Hour of Doom

A deadly quake rocks the Caspian shore and claims at least 45,000 lives

According to the Holy Koran, the world will end not through fire or flood but by earthquake. "The earthquake of the Hour of Doom is a terrible thing," reads the Koran. Mothers will abandon their babies. Humankind will totter as if in a drunken stupor. There is no escape. The earth will give up its secrets. All good will be revealed. And all evil.

Notwithstanding the religious imagery, what characterized the first few hours after a savage temblor struck northern Iran last week was the stunning silence. Not until 7 a.m. or so, 6 1/2 hours after the quake, did Iran...

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