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The Latest: Italy probes building codes after deadly quake

Italian authorities have opened investigations into the massive destruction wrought by the latest earthquake, seeking to determine if anyone bears criminal guilt for failing to ensure building safety standards in the seismically risky area.The investigation...

The Latest on Italy's devastating Aug 24 earthquake (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Italian authorities have opened investigations into the massive destruction wrought by the latest earthquake, seeking to determine if anyone bears criminal guilt for failing to ensure building safety standards in the seismically risky area.

The investigation will focus on a number of structures, including an elementary school in Amatrice that crumbled when the quake hit Wednesday. The school was renovated in 2012 to resist earthquakes at a cost of 700,000 euros ($785,000).

Questions also surround a bell tower in Accumoli that collapsed, killing a family of four, including a baby of 8 months and a 7-year-old boy. That bell tower had been recently restored with special funds allocated after Italy's last major earthquake in 2009.

Giuseppe Saieva, the prosecutor in Rieti, capital of the province that includes Amatrice and Accumoli, says the high human death toll "cannot only be considered the work of fate."

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9:50 a.m.

Italy's state museums are donating their proceeds Sunday to relief and reconstruction efforts in the area devastated by an earthquake.

The 6.2 magnitude quake on Wednesday flattened three medieval towns in central Italy, destroying not only private homes but also churches and other centuries-old cultural treasures.

The idea is to use art for art — harnessing the nation's rich artistic heritage to help recover and restore other objects of beauty in the towns flattened by the tremor.

Culture Minster Dario Franceschini appealed to Italians to "go to museum in a sign of solidarity with people affected by the earthquake." The appeal on Twitter is at #museums4italy.

It's one of several efforts that have sprung up to help the towns rebuild.

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8:30 a.m.

Nobody has been found alive in Italy's earthquake ruins since Wednesday, and hopes have vanished of finding any more survivors.

The pre-dawn earthquake Wednesday killed 291 people and injured hundreds in central Italy. The number of missing is still uncertain, due to the many visitors seeking a last taste of summer in the Apennine mountains.

Amatrice bore the brunt of destruction, with 230 fatalities and a town turned to rubble. Eleven others died in nearby Accumoli and 50 more in Arquata del Tronto, 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Amatrice.

Overnight into Sunday morning was relatively calm, the first since the quake struck without strong aftershocks. In all, the region has seen 1,820 aftershocks, according to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.

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8 a.m.

Mourners in Italy prayed, hugged, wept and even applauded as 35 coffins carrying earthquake victims passed by at a state funeral in the town of Ascoli Piceno.

Emotions that had been dammed up for days broke in a crescendo of grief on Saturday. One young man wept over a little girl's white coffin. Another woman gently stroked another small casket. Many mourners were recovering from injuries themselves, some wrapped in bandages. Everywhere people knelt at coffins, tears running down their cheeks, their arms around loved ones.

"It is a great tragedy. There are no words to describe it," said Gina Razzetti, a resident at the funeral. "Each one of us has our pain inside. We are thinking about the families who lost relatives, who lost their homes, who lost everything."

The pre-dawn earthquake on Wednesday killed 291 people, injured hundreds and flattened three medieval-era towns in central Italy.

Source:   foxnews

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