World briefs 9/7/04

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

Death toll from China flooding rises to 76

BEIJING -- Torrential floods in southwest China have claimed at least 76 lives, prompting beleaguered local officials to seek help Monday from the military in rescuing hundreds trapped by mudslides and caved-in roads, state media reported. Days of heavy rain in Sichuan province and the municipality of Chongqing have swamped entire villages and ruined huge swathes of farmland, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Malaysia announces outbreak of bird flu

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia announced its second outbreak of deadly bird flu in three weeks Monday, the latest near a northern village close to the border with Thailand where the disease was first detected. The Veterinary Department said that lethal H5N1 strain of avian influenza was believed to be the cause of the deaths of 10 chickens and 20 quail in Kampung Belian, a village three miles from the outbreak announced Aug. 17.

Typhoon, earthquakes trouble Japanese

TOKYO -- A powerful typhoon in southern Japan caused landslides and floods, left tens of thousands without power, and injured at least 23 people Monday. In the western part of the country, strong aftershocks rattled a region hours after two earthquakes injured 43. Typhoon Songda, packing winds of up to 90 mph, headed northeast toward Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, the Meteorological Agency said. Late Monday, it was about 140 miles southwest of Nagasaki.

Russia, Israel agree on anti-terror coalition

JERUSALEM -- Russia's foreign minister welcomed Israel's offer of help in combating militant groups on Monday, saying Russia needs to be more effective in fighting terror after last week's deadly hostage school standoff. While showing willingness to work with Israel against militants, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said any counter-terrorism alliance would have to include Arab countries -- in a nod to Russia's traditional allies in the region.

Darfur talks deadlocked after two weeks

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Peace talks on Sudan's violence-torn Darfur region are deadlocked, one mediator said Monday, as the African Union's chief appealed to the Sudanese government and rebels to compromise. The two-week-old talks in Nigeria's capital Abuja have failed to move past the crucial question of disarming -- with rebels saying they will lay down their guns only after Sudan's pro-government militia, the Janjaweed, does so.

Pakistan plays down bin Laden lead claim

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pakistan on Monday played down comments by a top U.S. counterterrorism official that progress has been made recently in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Information Minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed described the remarks by J. Cofer Black -- the U.S. State Department coordinator for counterterrorism who visited Pakistan last week -- as a "political statement." "We don't have any information about bin Laden," Ahmed said.

-- From wire reports

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