World briefs 1/21/05

Friday, January 21, 2005

Thousands of flood-stricken Guyanese wait for aid

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Thousands of flood-stricken Guyanese waited for food aid along a main highway Thursday, as this South American country struggled to recover from flooding caused by the heaviest rains in a century. More than 40 inches of rain have fallen in the former British colony since Dec. 26, including 25 inches this month alone. Two people have been reported killed. Thousands of people were forced from their homes in the flooded capital region of Georgetown, officials said. Residents braced for more rain this weekend.

WHO warns of repeat of bird flu outbreak

HANOI, Vietnam -- Health experts fear a repeat of last year's bird flu outbreak after six people died in Vietnam within three weeks and neighboring Thailand reported its first case among poultry this year. Outbreaks among poultry have been reported nationwide in Vietnam, and health experts say the pattern looks worrying similar to last year, when the virus spread rapidly just before the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet. It quickly appeared in nine other Asian countries, killing or forcing the slaughter of more than 100 million birds and jumping from poultry to people in Vietnam and Thailand, where 26 and 12 people died, respectively.

Muslim world marks Feast of the Sacrifice holiday

MINA, Saudi Arabia -- Shuffling slowly but smoothly, huge crowds of people hurled pebbles Thursday at pillars representing Satan, symbolically stoning the devil in a final ritual of their pilgrimage, while Muslims at the hajj and around the world slaughtered sheep, cows and camels to mark the Feast of the Sacrifice holiday. Most of the 2 million pilgrims were expected to begin carrying out the ritual later in the day, historically one of the most dangerous because of stampedes as pilgrims elbow their way close to the pillars.

U.N. Holocaust session reminder of genocide

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. commemoration of the liberation of Nazi concentration camps 60 years ago is a reminder that the evil that killed six million Jews still threatens the world today and must never be repeated, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said. He said Monday's planned special session of the General Assembly should also be seen as an expression of the United Nations' commitment to ensuring that it can respond quickly to future genocide and other human rights violations.

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