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Archive for Monday, February 16, 2004

Briefly

February 16, 2004

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Haiti

Aristide opposition growing; exiled forces join rebels

Defying government loyalists, more than 1,000 protesters demonstrated against President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Sunday as exiled paramilitary forces joined rebels in a bloody uprising that has killed some 50 people.

Shouting "Down with Aristide!" members of a broad opposition alliance known as the Democratic Platform marched peacefully through Port-au-Prince, saying they didn't support violence but shared the same goal as the rebels -- ousting the embattled president.

Haiti has been wracked by violence since Feb. 5, when armed rebels seeking to oust Aristide launched a rebellion in Gonaives.

Beijing

Fire death tolls at least 92

A fire at a crowded shopping mall killed at least 53 people Sunday in China's northeast, while 39 died in a blaze in a temple in the southeast, state media said. The fires added to a string of deadly accidents despite repeated government vows to improve public safety.

The shopping center fire broke out at about 11:20 a.m. on the second floor of the five-story Zhongbai Building in Jilin, a city about 590 miles northeast of Beijing, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

The temple fire broke out at about 2:15 p.m. in Wufeng, a village in Zhejiang province, Xinhua said. It said firefighters put out the blaze about 30 minutes later.

Moscow

Search called off for survivors in roof collapse at water park

Russian rescue workers pumped warm air into the ruins of an indoor water park Sunday, vainly hoping the heat would help victims survive freezing temperatures a day after a roof collapse killed at least 25 people and injured more than 100.

As many as 17 people remain missing, presumably buried under debris of the Transvaal Park on Moscow's southwestern outskirts, officials said.

Periodically, searchers called for silence to listen for signs of life. They heard none, however, and by Sunday night they called off the search and stopped heating the rubble, said Viktor Starostin, spokesman for the Moscow branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov and other officials said the cause of the collapse was still under investigation.

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