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The easing of rains gave soldiers and other rescuers the chance to reach some isolated towns by boat and helicopter. Heavy machinery was used to remove destroyed homes, while search dogs scoured areas where survivors or more bodies might be found, according to the civil defense department of Alagoas state.

A fire department spokeswoman in Maceio, the capital of Alagoas, said there were no reports of survivors found - but also nothing yet to indicate the missing were dead.

FRANCE

Council of Europe hits veil bans

STRASBOURG | The Council of Europe human rights watchdog said on Wednesday it opposed an all-out ban on full-face veils, under consideration by some European states, but also urged Muslims to reject customs that deny women equal rights.

The council’s Parliamentary Assembly unanimously passed a resolution saying all-out bans on full veils in public would deny a basic right to women who wanted to cover their faces.

It qualified that right by saying veils, also known as burqas and niqabs, could be banned when public security or professional obligations required women to show their faces.

France, Belgium and Spain are considering a ban on full-face veils in public and may outlaw them later this year. The council’s resolution has no legal weight against national laws.

CANADA

Magnitude 5.0 quake rattles buildings

TORONTO | A magnitude 5.0 earthquake struck at the Ontario-Quebec border region of Canada on Wednesday, shaking homes and businesses from Toronto to the states of New York and Michigan, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The midday quake was was also felt in Vermont.

JAMAICA

Reputed drug kingpin arrested

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