World briefs 4/25/04

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Landslide buries bus in Indonesia, kills 37

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A rain-triggered landslide smashed into a bus on Indonesia's Sumatra island, killing at least 37 passengers and leaving six others buried under tons of mud, officials said Saturday. Scores of rescue workers dug with spades and hoes in a search for survivors, said police Sgt. Satria Dinata. A backhoe was on the way to the scene. The bus was hit late Friday as it traveled from Medan, the capital of North Sumatra province, to the town of Pasaman during a heavy rainstorm, Dinata said. Rescuers had recovered 37 bodies, said Sgt. Ronnie Hamdani. Six other people were still buried, he said, adding 14 were injured. Medan is about 900 miles northwest of the capital, Jakarta. Rampant deforestation and a lengthy rainy season cause dozens of landslides and flash floods each year in Indonesia.

American, Nigerian oil workers killed by gunmen

LAGOS, Nigeria -- Gunmen attacked a boat carrying oil workers in Nigeria's violence-wracked southern delta region, killing two Americans and at least three Nigerians, company and army officials said Saturday. A third American, an employee of oil giant ChevronTexaco, was in stable condition after being shot during the Friday afternoon attack on the Benin River near the southern city of Warri, ChevronTexaco spokesman Deji Haastrup said. The gunmen opened fire on the boat's passengers after navy personnel guarding the oil workers refused to give up their arms, Haastrup said. Authorities have recovered the bodies of the two slain Americans, who were employed by a firm contracted by the U.S. oil giant, said Haastrup. He declined to identify the contractor. Also retrieved were the remains of three Nigerians: two navy soldiers and one boat crew member identified as a contract worker for international oil consulting firm Willbros, military officials said. Two other Nigerians remain missing, they said.

Mbeki's second term to focus on poverty, jobs

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- President Thabo Mbeki embarks on a second term this week with a powerful mandate to do more to fight South Africa's crushing poverty and create at least a million new jobs. Mbeki's first term was a balancing act as he strove to promote an African Renaissance while reconciling opposing demands from white business leaders and a poor black majority still reeling from apartheid. Analysts believe Mbeki will pressure government to deal with core issues of poverty, unemployment, health and education still plaguing the country.

Austria prepares to choose new president

VIENNA, Austria -- Austrians pick a new president this weekend for the first time in more than a decade, with voters choosing between two candidates who differ sharply on whether the alpine country should retain its cherished neutrality. Today's election pits Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who would reconsider neutrality, against deputy parliament speaker Heinz Fischer, who leans toward retaining a neutral position. Ferrero-Waldner, 55, has been foreign minister since 2000 and would be the nation's first woman president if elected. Fischer, 65, is a former president of the national assembly.

-- From wire reports

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