Quakes Trigger New Zealand Recession

After a devastating earthquake struck the city of Christchurch several weeks ago, the government has predicted that the damage it wrought—combined with the damage from a previous quake in September—will almost halve New Zealand's economic growth in 2011. Both disasters could send New Zealand into a recession, which is defined as consecutive quarters of economic decline (the Treasury expects the quakes to slow economic growth by 1.5 percent to 2 percent for the calendar year). Police announced on Sunday that the death toll had reached 166, and the final toll is expected to exceed 200.