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Archive for Monday, October 4, 2004

Briefly

October 4, 2004

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Louisiana

Swamp tour accident kills two tourists

A man and a woman from California died after an airboat carrying 16 tourists overturned in a Louisiana swamp, authorities said Sunday. Three passengers remained hospitalized.

Daniel Nanna, 31, of Newport Beach, Calif., died just before midnight Saturday, about seven hours after the Louisiana Swamp Tours boat overturned in 3 feet of water. An autopsy is planned, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Col. John Fortunato said Sunday.

Tsai Woo died of her injuries Sunday afternoon, said Diane Angelico, spokeswoman for Charity Hospital. Woo's hometown in California was not released.

Eleven other people were injured when the boat -- a flat-bottomed aluminum craft powered by a big fan at the rear -- flipped in a swamp around Lake Salvador, about 20 miles south of New Orleans.

Los Angeles

California shows drop in birthrate

California analysts have sharply reduced estimates of the state's future population, and state planners are reconsidering long-term needs for new schools and other public services primarily as the result of an unexpectedly large decline in the birthrate among Hispanics.

The state's population will continue to grow as the result of immigration and births outpacing deaths. But the increase will be notably slower than once predicted.

Demographic experts now project California's population to hit about 51 million by 2040, 7 million fewer than they forecast a few years ago, according to new state estimates. The state currently has about 36 million residents.

"I think you could safely say more than half the reduction (in births) is because of the reduced ... fertility among Latinas," said Mary Heim, chief of the state Finance Department's demographic research unit.

Iran

Minister impeached in blow to reformists

In the latest strike against the administration of reformist President Mohammad Khatami, Iran's conservative-dominated parliament impeached the transportation minister Sunday, accusing him of financial mismanagement and a shady aviation deal.

After several hours of debate, 188 legislators voted to strip Ahmad Khorram of his Cabinet post. Fifty-eight voted in his favor, and nine abstained. Conservative lawmakers raised loud cheers of "Allahu akbar" or "God is great."

Khorram's impeachment was the first since hard-liners regained control of the parliament in disputed legislative elections in February.

Hard-liners have been trying to stifle Khatami's political and social reform campaign since he was elected in 1997, striking at the heart of his reform program by targeting ministers who were promoting press and political freedoms.

Haiti

Gunfire reported amid fighting for Aristide

Gunfire erupted in a slum teeming with loyalists of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Sunday, sending people scattering through trash-strewn streets after days of political clashes that have left at least 14 dead.

Residents said men fired into the air, stole food from market vendors and burned tires in the streets in the slum of La Saline.

The unrest came a day after police arrested Haiti's Senate president and two other pro-Aristide politicians following a six-hour standoff in a radio station.

Heavy gunfire rang out Saturday night and Sunday in parts of Port-au-Prince. No one was reported killed, but streets remained blocked with overturned wooden market stalls in some areas.

Tensions have erupted as the impoverished country struggles to recover from floods unleashed two weeks ago by Tropical Storm Jeanne, which killed more than 1,550 and left some 900 missing, most presumed dead.

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