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Archive for Monday, May 6, 2002

World Briefs

May 6, 2002

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Bolivia: Former president dies

Former President Hugo Banzer, a one-time dictator who led Bolivia to democracy and helped wipe out cocaine production, died of a heart attack Sunday. He was 75.

The two-time president was forced by cancer to resign from office last August.

Banzer was dictator from 1971-78, leading a regime accused of widespread human rights abuses.

After the era of Latin American dictatorships ended, he reinvented himself as a democrat, running in every election in the 1980s and 1990s before finally winning the presidency in 1997.

Egypt: New pyramid found

Archaeologists have discovered the 110th pyramid to be uncovered in Egypt the 4,500-year-old tomb of a queen whose identity remains a mystery, the country's antiquities director said Sunday.

The latest discovery was made by a Swiss team excavating the tomb of the 4th dynasty pharaoh Redjedef, son and successor of Cheops also known as Khufu of Great Pyramid fame.

The Swiss archaeologists were clearing sand from desert around Redjedef's unfinished pyramid just outside Cairo when they found an unmistakable shape: sharply cut blocks rising just a few feet above a square base of just 5-by-5 yards.

The discovery "was completely by accident," said Zahi Hawass, director of Egypt's Supreme Council of the Antiquities.

Italy: Pope makes day trip

After weeks of stress from health problems and sex abuse scandals stinging the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II took a break from the Vatican and traveled Sunday to a spa island in the first of several trips that will test his stamina in the coming months.

John Paul flew by helicopter from Rome to Ischia, a mountainous island in the Bay of Naples.

The pope looked pale and weary as he celebrated a dockside Mass. The widely traveled pontiff had not traveled outside of Rome since January, when he spent a day of prayer in the central hill town of Assisi.

Colombia: Battle toll tops 100

The death toll in an isolated village where rebels and paramilitaries were battling rose Sunday to 108 including 40 children while troops began to move into the region.

U.N. officials said they warned the government that a tragedy was about to occur before the fighting started.

"It's lamentable that the government authorities ignored the early warning," the United Nations said in a prepared statement.

Among the dead were dozens who had taken refuge Thursday in a church in the village of Bojaya. Authorities said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, fired homemade mortars into the church. It was unclear whether they were aiming for the church.

Nigeria: More crash victims and survivors found

Boy scouts pulled scorched bodies and body parts Sunday from the charred wreckage of an airliner that plowed through homes, mosques and a school in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

The Red Cross reported 145 dead, with the army saying that included the country's sports minister.

The death toll among people of the working-class neighborhood neared that of those aboard the plane and the Red Cross warned the number was likely to rise.

Carrier EAS Airlines reported two more survivors Sunday among the 69 passengers and eight crew members. The announcement brought the known total of those saved aboard the plane to four a female crew member and three passengers.

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