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Taiwan earthquake shakes internet

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An undersea earthquake off the coast of Taiwan on Boxing day severely disrupted communications across east Asia by damaging cables.

The tremor struck at 12.26 GMT yesterday, and was measured at 7.1 on the Richter scale by the US Geological Survey. Warnings of a one metre high tsunami headed for the Philippines were issued, but the wave did not make land. The BBC reports two people were killed and at least 42 injured on Taiwan.

The island's biggest telecoms provider, Chunghwa Telecom Co., said damage to its undersea cables had cut off 98 per cent of communication with Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong. Repairs are set to take up to three weeks, according to the firm. Japanese operators also reported trouble.

China Telecommunications Group said its connections with the US and Europe had been disrupted too. It said: "Internet connections have been seriously affected, and phone links and dedicated business lines have also been affected to some degree."

Slow internet services in the region are expected over the next few days. Trading on currency exchanges has been hit. ®

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