- - Sunday, December 4, 2011


45,000 evacuated amid defusing of WWII bomb

BERLIN — Nearly half of the 107,000 residents of Germany’s western city of Koblenz had to leave their homes Sunday as experts prepared to defuse a 1.8 ton World War II-era bomb discovered in the Rhine River.

It’s one of Germany’s biggest bomb-related evacuations since the war ended, and some 2,500 police officers, firefighters and paramedics were on duty across the city to secure the operation.

Authorities set up shelters in parts of Koblenz farther away from the bomb site, and shuttle buses were on hand in the morning to carry residents to safety.

The evacuation of some 45,000 residents living within a radius of about 1.2 miles from the bomb site was finished by early Sunday afternoon, the city said on its website.

The British bomb, which was defused, could have caused massive damage if it had exploded.


Conservatives expected to win election

LJUBLJANA — Conservatives were expected to take back power in Sunday elections in Slovenia, where they will have to tackle the country’s mounting debt, unemployment and a looming recession.

The parliamentary vote is Slovenia’s first snap election since becoming independent from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. It was called in September after the center-left government was toppled due to economic uncertainty and allegations of corruption.

By mid-afternoon, turnout reached nearly 49 percent - somewhat higher than the same period in 2008, when the overall turnout was 63 percent, election officials said.

Slovenia has been hit hard by the European debt crisis, with public debt swollen to 44 percent of GDP and unemployment at about 12 percent.

Opinion polls have predicted the Slovenian Democratic Party of former Prime Minister Janez Jansa will win a third of the votes in the country of 2 million. But he may have to seek support from smaller parties to form the majority in the 90-member parliament.


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