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Archive for Thursday, October 21, 2004

Briefly

October 21, 2004

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Thailand

Zoo to kill tigers thought to have bird flu

Authorities will kill about 40 tigers believed to be sick with bird flu after 30 others died at a private zoo, officials said Wednesday.

The tigers, which have all died since Thursday, are among more than 400 at the Sriracha Tiger Zoo in central Chonburi province. All are regularly fed raw chicken, which could have been infected with the bird flu virus.

The decision to kill the tigers came after seven more tigers suspected to have the virus died, bringing the total to 30 after other deaths announced Tuesday.

Zoo executives, health and wildlife officials agreed to destroy the remaining sick tigers, said Dr. Thawat Suntrajarn, director-general of the Public Health Ministry's Department of Communicable Disease Control.

Lebanon

Prime minister resigns, dissolves Cabinet

Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the self-made billionaire who rebuilt Beirut from the ruins of civil war, dissolved his Cabinet on Wednesday and said he wouldn't lead the next government, a surprise move that could bolster Syria's role in Lebanese affairs.

Hariri's decision could make him a more powerful force in Lebanese politics, building support among a disillusioned public ahead of parliamentary elections in May.

It is more likely, however, to indicate that Syria is strengthening its hand in Lebanon by seeking to bring in an entirely loyal Lebanese administration to face the mounting international pressure on Damascus' dominance here.

Hariri, who has been prime minister for 10 of the 14 years since the end of Lebanon's devastating 1975-90 civil war, submitted his resignation to President Emile Lahoud at a brief meeting Wednesday, his office said.

Indonesia

Retired general sworn in as sixth president

Former Gen. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono vowed to fight poverty, end separatist conflicts and make Indonesia safer from terrorism after being sworn in Wednesday as the first directly elected president in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Yudhoyono, 55, won the presidency of the sprawling Southeast Asian country by a landslide in elections last month -- the first in which the country's 210 million people voted for their head of state directly.

He took the oath of office at Indonesia's parliament, swearing before an audience of lawmakers and foreign dignitaries to "uphold the law and the constitution ... and serve the nation" in the name of God.

Mexico City

Nobel Prize author's novel released early

The first novel in a decade by Nobel Prize author Gabriel Garcia Marquez went on sale across the Spanish-speaking world Wednesday, a launch pushed forward because counterfeiters already selling copies of "Memories of My Melancholy Whores."

The long-awaited novella, called "Memoria de Mis Putas Tristes" in Spanish, explores love, sex and life by telling the story of a male journalist who decides to celebrate his 90th birthday by having sex with a young virgin.

Street vendors began selling pirated copies of the book last week in Colombia, prompting publishers to push up the original Oct. 27 release date.

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