- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2005


Volcano eruption sends many fleeing

NAIROBI — A volcano spewed ash and dark smoke on the main island of the Comoros archipelago yesterday, sending hundreds of people fleeing from their homes, a U.N. official said.

The 7,746-foot Mount Karthala, one of two active volcanoes on Grand Comore island, last erupted in July 1991. No one was killed then, but tens of thousands of villagers fled their homes. The volcano is known to erupt every 11 years.

Officials urged residents to leave eastern parts of Grand Comore and mobilized trucks to help.

The volcano has the world’s largest volcanic basin — an attraction for hikers.


Haider makes comeback

SALZBURG — Austria’s far-right icon Joerg Haider was elected to the leadership of his new party, Alliance for Austria’s Future (BZO), yesterday as he seeks a second wind in his roller-coaster career.

The ambitious 55-year-old politician said April 4 that he would abandon Austria’s junior governing coalition member, the Freedom Party, after five years of worsening results and set up the more moderate BZO, which celebrated its founding congress in Salzburg yesterday.

The charismatic and media savvy Mr. Haider, who is a brilliant orator, wants to relaunch the Austrian far right he led to many victories since taking the helm of the Freedom Party in 1986 up to the day it won 27 percent of the vote in the 2000 legislative election.


Warlord to take government post

MAZAR-E-SHARIF — Afghan warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum yesterday resigned as head of his feared northern militia to take up a post in President Hamid Karzai’s government, his deputy said.

Gen. Dostum, one of Afghanistan’s most powerful warlords, was appointed by Mr. Karzai as chief of staff of the high command of the country’s armed forces, a largely symbolic post that removes the faction leader from his Shiberghan power base.


Pact reached to set up trade council with rival

NEW DELHI — India and Pakistan yesterday agreed to a long-standing industry demand to set up a joint business council and revive a defunct trade panel to strengthen ailing trade ties.

The trade ministers of India and Pakistan discussed ways to boost economic and trade ties, yet another sign that the peace process between the South Asian rivals is gathering strength.

“We have agreed to set up a joint business council to facilitate interaction amongst business people, to strengthen economic ties and promote trade,” Indian Trade Minister Kamal Nath told reporters after a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, Humayun Akhtar Khan.


12 killed as bus plunges into ravine

ORSIERES — Twelve Swiss holidaymakers were killed yesterday when a coach carrying 27 persons skidded off a wet mountain road and plunged 600 feet into a ravine in southern Switzerland, authorities said.

Four of the 15 injured in the crash near the village of Orsieres were in serious condition in intensive care, said authorities in the southern canton of Valais.

About 200 rescuers, 15 ambulances and a helicopter were rushed to the crash site, north of the Great St. Bernard pass that links Switzerland and Italy.

“This was a major plunge,” a police spokesman told reporters.

Stephane Oggier, a doctor with local rescue services who arrived within minutes of the accident, said most of the people on board the coach suffered fractures or head injuries.

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