- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 5, 2004


37 killed in stampede at holiday gathering

MIYUN — A lantern festival marking the end of China’s Lunar New Year celebrations erupted into a stampede yesterday, killing at least 37 persons and injuring 15.

Many of the victims suffocated, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The accident occurred in Miyun county, a suburb of the Chinese capital, Beijing.

Revelers had gathered for the annual festival at the popular Mihong Park when, at 7:45 p.m., someone tripped on a bridge in a crowded area and started a chain reaction, a spokesman for the Beijing city government said.


Rebels seize key city; 4 reported dead

PORT-AU-PRINCE — An armed opposition group seized control of Haiti’s fourth-largest city yesterday, burning a police station and freeing prisoners. Clashes with police reportedly left at least four rebels dead and 20 wounded.

Members of the Gonaives Resistance Front began the assault shortly after noon in Gonaives, setting afire the mayor’s home and then dousing the police station with fuel and lighting it while officers fled, Haitian radio reports said.

At least four opponents of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide were killed in gunbattles with police, rebel leader Wynter Etienne told Radio Vision 2000. Radio Metropole reported that 20 persons were wounded and more than 100 inmates were freed from the jail.


Top court endorses tough media laws

HARARE — Zimbabwe’s highest court yesterday endorsed legislation tightening government control over the media, ruling that the laws do not violate free speech.

President Robert Mugabe introduced the laws after his controversial re-election in March 2002. The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act requires journalists to register with a state media commission and be subject to its regulations.


Rebels kill 44 in raid on camp

KAMPALA — Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army rebels killed at least 44 persons yesterday in a dawn raid on a camp for people fleeing fighting in the north of the country, a Catholic priest in the area said.

The Rev. Sebat Ayala said more than 300 rebels overpowered government troops guarding the camp but were repulsed by army reinforcements. It was one of the bloodiest attacks in months.

The army said at least 20 persons were confirmed killed in the attack on the camp, which lies more than 180 miles north of Uganda’s capital, Kampala.


$488 million sought for reconstruction

NEW YORK — International aid officials called on governments and relief groups yesterday to pledge $488 million to help rebuild Liberia or risk letting the war-shattered West African nation tumble into chaos.

Failing to back up promptly a recently installed transitional government in Monrovia with outside funding could risk letting Liberia’s years of civil war again spill over into neighboring countries.


10 militancy suspects killed in Kashmir

SRINAGAR — Indian soldiers yesterday fatally shot 10 persons suspected of being Muslim militants in the forests of northern Kashmir, a military spokesman said.

Earlier, Muslim militants fighting Indian rule in Kashmir blew up an army truck at the end of a three-vehicle convoy, killing four Indian soldiers and wounding five.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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