- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2005

AUSTRALIA

Tsunami warning buoys planned

PERTH — A coalition of Indian Ocean nations agreed yesterday to develop and launch more than 70 high-tech buoys which they hope will provide warning of any approaching tsunami.

Twenty-seven nations around the Indian Ocean Rim will share technology, officials at a United Nations-backed conference said. The buoys, known as DART for deep-ocean assessment and reporting of tsunamis, cost an estimated $230,000 each and are currently only built in the United States.

KAZAKHSTAN

Bird flu spreads across Russian regions

ALMATY — Bird flu has been officially confirmed in two more Russian regions, and the disease may also be spreading in Northern Kazakhstan, officials said yesterday.

Health officials fear that a subtype of bird flu dangerous to humans may mutate into a lethal strain that could rival or exceed the Spanish flu pandemic that killed 20 million to 40 million people worldwide at the end of World War I.

The presence of the highly pathogenic H5N1 subtype that can cause disease in humans has so far only been confirmed in one Russian region, Novosibirsk.

INDIA

Villagers evacuated from rural floods

BOMBAY — Villages in western and southern India were evacuated yesterday with at least 222,000 persons moved to higher ground as waters released from near-bursting dams flooded vast rural tracts, officials said.

B.S. Prakash, chief of the disaster unit in southern Karnataka state, said 16 more persons died overnight from house collapses and flooding in rural regions.

Overflowing rivers and dams in the western state of Maharashtra, which bore the brunt of a weeklong drenching that left more than 1,000 people dead, were emptying waters into neighboring Karnataka, he said.

NEPAL

Artists rally for democracy

KATMANDU — Songs and poems for democracy rang out under pouring rain in Nepal’s capital yesterday at a rally of nearly 1,000 people protesting King Gyanendra’s seizure of direct power six months ago.

Sitting on a road in a suburb of Katmandu, the gathering of poets, singers, journalists, teachers and lawyers clapped to music during the latest in a string of protests against the king’s suspension of democracy in the Himalayan kingdom.

“The country cannot make any progress under the existing system,” sang 12-year-old Rubin Gandarbha as riot police stood guard by the roadside. “We must change the political system for the development of the country.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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