Trial opens against scientists for Italy quake

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ROME (AP) — Seven scientists and other earthquake experts are going on trial in Italy on manslaughter charges for allegedly failing to sufficiently warn residents before a devastating quake that killed more than 300 people in 2009.

The case is being closely watched by seismologists around the world who insist it’s impossible to predict earthquakes and that no major temblor has ever been foretold. Last year, about 5,200 international researchers signed a petition supporting their Italian colleagues.

The seven defendants going on trial Tuesday are accused of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” about whether smaller tremors felt in the central city of L’Aquila in the months before the April 6, 2009, quake should have constituted grounds for a quake warning.