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Russia's Chelyabinsk recovers from meteor crash


Moscow, Feb 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti): Emergency services have repaired most of the damage caused by a meteor that shook Russia's Chelyabinsk region.

A flaming meteorite streaked across the sky and slammed into the region in central Russia Feb 15 with a massive boom that blew out windows and damaged thousands of buildings, injuring more than 1,000 people in the area.

Since restoration work began, windows have been mended in over 5,700 buildings, including more than 4,700 residential buildings, 187 health care organisations, 609 educational establishments, 19 social and 79 cultural facilities.

Over 24,000 workers and 4,300 pieces of equipment are involved in the effort to clear up the damage, which is estimated at one billion rubles ($33 million).

NASA said the meteorite released about 500 kilotonnes of energy when it exploded in the atmosphere, though the Russian Academy of Sciences gave a preliminary estimate of between 100 and 200 kilotonnes.

Meanwhile, some entrepreneurial minds have found a way of capitalising on the celestial body.

In addition to numerous meteorite fragments of questionable provenance put up on sale by various dealers, a company reportedly headed by the leader of Chelyabinsk Lutheran community has applied to register several meteorite-related brands for a range of foodstuff, Russia's patent agency said.

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