The story

In one big jolt, the worst earthquake to hit China in 32 years changed the lives of millions of people in the nation's heartland.

The earthquake struck Sichuan province on May 12, 2008, at 2:28 p.m., just when students were taking lessons in schools, caretakers were watching over giant pandas, farmers were tilling fields and people were shopping in stores.

The initial tremor, which had an 8.0 magnitude, was so strong it was felt as far away as Beijing and even Bangkok, more than 2,000 kilometers (nearly 1,250 miles) away. The epicenter: Wenchuan County, a lush, mountainous region with a population of more than 111,000. It also is the natural habitat of the giant pandas. Read full article »

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