Archive for Saturday, May 29, 2004

Briefly

May 29, 2004

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Iran

At least 23 dead, 100 injured as strong earthquake hits

A strong earthquake shook central and northern Iran on Friday, killing at least 23 people -- some buried by landslides on a mountain road -- and seriously damaging more than 80 villages, the Interior Ministry and state-run media said.

More than 100 others were reported injured by the 6.2 magnitude earthquake, which struck at 5:08 p.m. and was centered about 45 miles north of Tehran, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The quake unleashed landslides and falling boulders that killed 16 people and injured 70 others by burying them in their cars along the mountainous Tehran-Chalous road.

Haiti

Flooding rescue efforts focus on remote Haitian town

U.S. troops delivered food and water to this remote farming town, where reporters saw for the first time Friday the worst devastation from deadly floods that have inundated parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and left Mapou under 10 feet of water.

Aid workers dragged bodies and treated survivors who had broken limbs and gashes from aluminum roofs after torrents of water caused mudslides to cascade down denuded mountains Monday, destroying half of the town's 2,800 houses.

The flooding has left hundreds dead and thousands homeless across the south-central part of Hispaniola island, shared by the two countries. The death toll, impossible to estimate, is increasing daily as authorities find more cut-off villages and towns.

WASHINGTON, D.C.

9-11 victims' families to hear tapes of calls from planes

Two closed-door meetings are planned for families of the passengers and crew of the four aircraft used in the Sept. 11 attacks so they can hear tapes of phone calls from the planes and see other government evidence of what happened during the hijackings.

The invitation-only briefings will be next Friday in Princeton, N.J., and July 14 in Boston, Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said. The Boston session also will be broadcast via closed-circuit hookup to sites for family members in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.

Tom Roger, whose daughter was aboard American Airlines Flight 11 that crashed into the World Trade Center, said the family members had requested access to the flight attendants' phone calls and other evidence after some of it was revealed during recent hearings of the independent commission investigating the attacks.

Afghanistan

U.S. forces call in air strikes against militants near border

U.S.-led forces fought militants near Afghanistan's unstable border, the military said Friday, just across from a Pakistani region where suspected al-Qaida fighters are believed to have found refuge.

The skirmish occurred Thursday near Shkin, a border town in Paktika province 140 miles south of the capital, Kabul, U.S. military spokeswoman Master Sgt. Cindy Beam said.

The U.S.-led troops were backed by warplanes in the fighting that was near a remote American base.

Beam didn't say if there were casualties or give any other details.

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