Ecuador canceled payments on its $8.2-billion foreign debt for the rest of the year and appealed for international aid because of earthquakes that crippled its vital oil industry. "This is the most serious problem in our history," said President Leon Febres Cordero. The tremors reportedly killed as many as 300 people and ruptured the country's main oil pipeline, forcing a halt to oil exports, which account for 60% of Ecuador's hard currency earnings. Officials said it will take months to repair the pipeline. Ecuador asked fellow members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies to assume its oil-sales commitments.