Archive for Friday, August 13, 2004


August 13, 2004



Eager opponents march before recall referendum

Tens of thousands of opponents of President Hugo Chavez marched through Caracas on Thursday, their biggest display of strength in campaigning ahead of a weekend referendum on his rule.

Chanting, "he's leaving, leaving, leaving," marchers wove through a city blanketed in posters urging citizens to vote on Sunday: "yes!" -- to recall Chavez -- or "no!" -- to leave him in office.

At stake is whether Chavez will serve out the remainder of a six-year term marked by huge public spending for the impoverished majority, a failed 2002 coup, and a general strike that failed to topple the 50-year-old former army paratrooper but crippled the economy.


Five more al-Qaida suspects captured

Armed with intelligence from newly arrested al-Qaida suspects, Pakistan has nabbed five more members of Osama bin Laden's network in the past 48 hours and a leader of a militant group accused in an attack on a Pakistani general, officials said Thursday.

The arrests are the latest in a monthlong terror crackdown that has netted about 30 fugitives, including a Pakistani computer expert for al-Qaida and a Tanzanian indicted in the deadly 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in East Africa.

Pakistani officials would not name the five al-Qaida men they said were arrested in the past two days. A senior official described them as "valuable targets" but refused to reveal their identities, nationalities or roles within al-Qaida.


Report: Typhoon kills 63 on southeastern coast

The death toll from Typhoon Rananim rose to 63 early Friday with more than 1,800 injured, after the strongest storm of the season slammed into China's southeastern coast, official news reports said.

Another 15 people were missing in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, where the storm roared ashore late Thursday, the Web site of the main Communist Party newspaper People's Daily and other outlets reported.

Power in the major city of Taizhou was knocked out, and millions of people lost water and phone service, the reports said. They didn't cite any source for the information but gave identical casualty figures.


Three die of bird flu

Bird flu has killed three Vietnamese, the first deaths reported among humans from the disease since outbreaks in Asia early this year that killed 24 people and forced the slaughter of millions of birds.

Two of the recent deaths were children, a health official said Thursday.

All three victims tested positive for the H5N1 strain of the virus and died between July 30 and Aug. 3, said Trinh Quan Huan, head of the Ministry of Health's Department for Preventative Medicine and HIV/AIDS Control.

Two children, ages 4 and 1, died in Ha Tay province, while the other victim died in southern Hau Giang province in the Mekong Delta, he said.

No details were available about the third victim or how the three were infected.

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