Monsoon death toll surpasses 2,000
NEW DELHI — India asked doctors to cancel vacations yesterday and rushed food and medicine to flooded regions where disease has stricken thousands of people. A wild storm hit Pakistan's largest city, pushing the death toll from a particularly calamitous South Asia monsoon season past 2,000.
Relief workers said there was an acute shortage of clean drinking water and medical supplies in parts of northern India, where storms have been heavier than usual this year.
At least 2,090 persons have died this year, double the number killed last year.
U.N. refugee agency requests more funds
GENEVA — The U.N. refugee agency yesterday said it needed an extra $10 million to assist 400,000 Afghans returning to their homeland from Pakistan this year, a figure nearly four times higher than in 2006.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had already requested an additional $15 million in April. The new revised budget for the entire Afghanistan operation is now $108,373,526.
This will enable the United Nations to support the return and reintegration of a revised total of 400,000 Afghans this year. Returnees receive a transportation and reintegration grant, medical checkups and children receive polio and measles vaccinations. They also receive mine-awareness training at a transit center close to Jalalabad in Afghanistan.
HIV infections found in hospital
BISHKEK — Two more cases of HIV infections have been found and three are suspected in a hospital in southern Kyrgyzstan, where four doctors have been fired for allowing the virus to spread, the health ministry said yesterday.
The infection of a mother and her child brought to 13 the number of persons known to have contracted the virus, which causes AIDS, in the hospital in the Och region, nine of whom are children.
Those fired were the head doctor of the Nookatsk hospital, the head of the regional pediatric hospital, the top doctor for the regional diseases center, and the doctor in charge of the blood transfusion center.
Maoist minister's resignation accepted
KATMANDU — Nepal's prime minister has accepted the resignation of a Maoist minister who had complained of a lack of cooperation from his government partners, officials said yesterday.
"Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala accepted Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Matrika Yadav's resignation today [Friday]," said government spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who is also a Maoist minister.
Mr. Yadav, one of the five Maoists given ministerial roles in April, submitted his resignation letter last week saying other parties in the coalition government were not cooperating and the demands of minority groups had gone unheeded.
Former diplomat elected vice president
NEW DELHI — Former diplomat Mohammed Hamid Ansari was elected India's vice president yesterday, easily defeating his opposition-backed rival, a senior official said.
Mr. Ansari, nominated by India's ruling Congress party, won 455 votes, more than double the number cast for Najma Heptullah, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party's candidate, in elections in New Delhi, the official said.
Mr. Ansari, 70, was elected by India's electoral college, which comprises 788 lawmakers from the national Parliament's two houses.
Mr. Ansari has served as India's representative in the United Nations as well as an ambassador to war-torn Afghanistan in the late 1990s.
From wire dispatches and staff reports