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Archive for Wednesday, August 28, 2002

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August 28, 2002

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Sweden: Diplomat who saved Hungarian Jews dies

Per Anger, a former Swedish diplomat who worked with Raoul Wallenberg in shielding thousands of Hungarian Jews from Nazi death camps, has died. He was 88.

Anger, who was awarded honorary Israeli citizenship in 2000, died Sunday night in a Stockholm hospital after a stroke, according to the Swedish Foreign Ministry.

Anger, who was working as first secretary of the Swedish Legation in Budapest when the Germans occupied Hungary in 1944, began issuing temporary "Schuetzpaesse," or protective passports, that identified Jews as Swedes to keep them from being sent to death camps.

He was soon joined by Wallenberg, who extended the practice and is credited with saving some 20,000 Jews from deportation before he was arrested in 1945 by Soviet troops and disappeared at the age of 32.

India: Rivers overflowing after release from dam

Hundreds of villagers fled their homes in the eastern Indian state of Bihar on Tuesday, after officials in neighboring Nepal were forced to open the floodgates of a dam threatened by rising water, officials said.

The Gandhak and Ganges rivers were gushing after water was released from the Balmikinagar Dam, which had been threatened because of dangerously high water levels behind it.

Across South Asia, some 25 million people have been forced from their homes in an enlarged version of what is an annual exodus to escape monsoon flooding. Since June, more than 1,000 people have been killed by rains in Nepal, neighboring areas of India and low-lying Bangladesh.

In China, the major city of Wuhan escaped flooding Tuesday as the swollen Yangtze River receded, but towns downstream braced for high water racing toward them. Some 5,000 soldiers and civilians were watching for leaks in dikes near Jiujiang.

Nearly 1,000 people have been reported killed in flooding or landslides since China's rainy season began in June.

Afghanistan: U.N. envoy rules out massacre investigation

The U.N. special envoy to Afghanistan on Tuesday said there would be no U.N.-backed investigation into allegations a U.S. ally killed hundreds of prisoners last year until the government can protect witnesses.

The government "would like to investigate, but I don't think they have the capacity to do so," U.N. special representative Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in the capital.

"There is no judicial system that we can really expect to face up to a situation like this. There is no proper police to protect people."

Reports that hundreds of captured Taliban fighters suffocated to death after they were crammed into unventilated metal shipping containers began emerging late last year after U.S.-backed troops loyal to warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum captured thousands of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters near the northern city of Kunduz in November.

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