CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — A powerful earthquake shook Venezuela’s northeastern coast on Tuesday, spooking residents in the capital who evacuated buildings and briefly interrupting a pro-government rally in favor of a series of controversial economic reforms.

The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.3 and said it had a depth of 76 miles (123 kilometers). Its epicenter was 12 miles (20 kilometers) northwest of Yaguaraparo, Venezuela.

A witness in Cumana, one of the biggest cities near the epicenter, said there were initial reports of several injuries at a shopping center where an escalator fell, but that there were no other immediate signs of damage in the vicinity.

John Boquett, a firefighter captain in Caracas, said there were no initial reports of injuries or major damage in the capital.

The quake was felt as far away as Colombia’s capital of Bogota, and in Caracas office workers and residents fled from their buildings and homes.

US, UK, France vow to act against

new Syria chemical attacks

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States, Britain and France are vowing on the fifth anniversary of a chemical weapons attack they blame on the Syrian government “to respond appropriately” as they have demonstrated in the past to any further attacks by President Bashar Assad’s regime.

A joint statement issued late Tuesday called the Aug. 21, 2012 sarin nerve gas attack that killed hundreds of people in the Ghouta suburb of Damascus “horrific.”

Since then, the three Western powers accused Syria of resorting to the use of chemical weapons during military offensives elsewhere. Following a suspected chemical attack in Douma in April, the U.S., U.K., and France launched military strikes in Syria.

“As we have demonstrated, we will respond appropriately to any further use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime,” the statement said.