World briefs 2/15/05

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

'Baby 81' has name, birth date at last

KALMUNAI, Sri Lanka -- The 4-month-old boy dubbed "Baby 81" now has a name -- Abilass -- and a birth date -- Oct. 19 -- and two loving parents who can't wait to get him back. A Sri Lankan court, relying on DNA tests, ruled Monday that the baby recovered from tsunami debris belongs to Murugupillai and Jenita Jeyarajah, who launched an agonizing court battle to claim him.

Roman ruins correspond to myth of city's founding

ROME -- Legend has it that Rome was founded in 753 B.C. by Romulus and Remus, the twin sons of Mars. Archaeologists believe they have found evidence that at least part of that tale may be true: Traces of a royal palace discovered in the Roman Forum have been dated to roughly the period cited in the legend. Archaeology professor Andrea Carandini and his team unearthed a 3,700-square-foot palace, 1,130 square feet of which were covered and the rest courtyard.

Mosque fire in Tehran kills at least 59

TEHRAN, Iran -- A fire raged through a crowded mosque in Tehran during evening prayers Monday, killing at least 59 people, and injuring more than 250, Iran's official news agency reported. The fire started when the veil of a female worshipper caught the flames of a kerosene heater on the upper floor. The flames spread to a thick green cloth that covered the ceiling and walls. "Pieces of burning cloth fell on the head of the worshippers, who ... smashed windows to run out of the mosque in panic," a witness said on condition of anonymity.

Gas explosion in Chinese coal mine kills 203

SHANGHAI, China -- A gas explosion in a coal mine in China's northeast killed at least 203 miners, the government said today, in the deadliest such disaster reported since 1949. The explosion Monday afternoon at the Sunjiawan mine in Liaoning province also injured 22 miners the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The cause of the blast was under investigation, it said.

Venezuela, Colombia floods kill at least 86

TOVAR, Venezuela -- Dozens of people were missing Monday after devastating floods and landslides, the latest victims from torrential rains across Venezuela and Colombia that have killed at least 86 people. A week of floods and landslides that has destroyed the homes of more than 21,000 people from the Caribbean coast to the southwestern mountains, officials said.

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