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Two killed in japan aftershock

SENDAI, Japan -- A big aftershock rocked quake-weary Japan late yesterday, rattling nerves as it knocked out power to the northern part of the country and prompted tsunami warnings that were later canceled.

Officials in Tokyo said at least two people were killed, a 79-year-old man who died of shock and a woman in her 60s was killed when her oxygen tank failed because of power outages. The national police agency reported that 132 people have been injured.

The quake was initially measured at magnitude-7.4, though the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., later downgraded it to 7.1. Either way, it was the strongest aftershock since several were recorded on March 11 -- the day of the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami that killed as many as 25,000 people and touched off a nuclear crisis last month.

The operator of the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant said there was no sign the aftershock had caused new problems there. Workers retreated to a quake-resistant shelter in the complex, with no injuries.

The aftershock around 11:30 p.m. was strong enough to knock items off store shelves and move a large automated teller machine at a convenience store in Sendai, a major industrial city far enough inland that it avoided major tsunami damage, but people there were without gas and electricity for weeks.

Japan's nuclear safety agency said power plants along the northeast coast were under control after backup generators kicked in at two -- Rokkasho and Higashidori -- that lost power. -- AP

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