China earthquake shears off mountainsides, kills 186 people. Update.

China 1986

Lushan, China (CNN) — A strong earthquake that struck the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan this weekend has killed 186 people, sent nearly 8,200 to hospitals and created a dire dearth of drinking water, Chinese state-run Xinhua reported Sunday. Earlier reports had said as many as 11,200 people were injured.

The Sichuan Red Cross estimated that drinking water in Ya’an City will run out within three days despite rescue workers’ efforts to deliver supplies to quake-hit area. In more remote areas, where the shifting earth muddied river waters, people anxiously awaited evacuation, Xinhua said.

Thousands of emergency workers, including soldiers, rushed to reach the affected zones in the hilly region, but their progress was impeded.

Huge mountain chunks near the quake’s epicenter in Lushan County have sheared off and fallen into valleys. Boulders have landed on roads, making emergency work difficult. Buildings were flattened in the county, and others had severe structural damage.

Xu Mengjia, the Communist Party chief of Ya’an, the city that administers the area where the quake struck, told state broadcaster CCTV that because of landslides and disruption to communications, determining the total number of casualties will take some time.

The Chinese government allocated 3 million yuan (about $480,400) to rescue and relief efforts Sunday, a day after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang traveled to the area from Beijing, state media reported.

Li spent Saturday in Lushan County, leading the response near the quake’s epicenter, then visited hospital patients Sunday, Xinhua reported.

Petition to deport Piers Morgan??

Piers Morgan at CES 2011.

LONDON (AP) — Tens of thousands of people have signed a petition calling for British CNN host Piers Morgan to be deported from the U.S. over his gun control views.

Morgan has taken an aggressive stand for tighter U.S. gun laws in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. Last week, he called a gun advocate appearing on his “Piers Morgan Tonight” show an “unbelievably stupid man.”

Now, gun rights activists are fighting back. A petition created Dec. 21 on the White House e-petition website by a user in Texas accuses Morgan of engaging in a “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution” by targeting the Second Amendment. It demands he be deported immediately for “exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens.”

The petition has already hit the 25,000 signature threshold to get a White House response. By Monday, it had 31,813 signatures.

Morgan seemed unfazed — and even amused — by the movement.

In a series of Twitter messages, he alternately urged his followers to sign the petition and in response to one article about the petition said “bring it on” as he appeared to track the petition’s progress.

“If I do get deported from America for wanting fewer gun murders, are there any other countries that will have me?” he wrote.