30 killed, 15 injured in China hotel fire

Saturday, June 11, 2005

BEIJING -- A fire raced through the top three floors of a hotel in southern China, killing 30 people and injuring 15 othersThe fire broke out at noon Friday in Shantou, engulfing the top floors of the four-story hotel, An investigation into the cause was under way.

Pope says abstinence best way to fight AIDS

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI told African bishops Friday that abstinence is the only "fail-safe" way to prevent the spread of HIV, reiterating the Roman Catholic Church's teaching. The pope met with bishops from South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho. He said he shared the bishops' concern about the devastation caused by AIDS and that he prayed for "all those whose lives have been shattered by this cruel epidemic."

Germany's 'Grandpa Gang' convicted

HAGEN, Germany -- Three men dubbed the "Grandpa Gang" because of their ages were convicted Friday of robbing 14 banks of more than $1.23 million. Rudolf Richter, 74, was sentenced to nine years, while Wilfried Ackermann, 73, received a 10-year sentence. Lothar Ackermann, 64, who is not related to Wilfried Ackermann, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. Rather than being "pitiful grandpas," they were "a gang of serious criminals," prosecutor Klaus Neulken said.

Saudis pressured for more nuclear openness

VIENNA, Austria -- The United States, Europe and Australia are joining forces in a stark reflection of international concern in urging Saudi Arabia to allow nuclear inspectors in the kingdom before a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The joint diplomatic push is being sparked by concerns the Saudis could be exempt from any outside policing of their nuclear agenda under an agreement they have negotiated with the IAEA, and by past Saudi nuclear ambiguities, including reported interest in a weapons program. The Saudis deny any plans to develop nuclear arms.

-- From wire reports

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