- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 19, 2005

INDONESIA

Tsunami toll soars past 226,000

BANDA ACEH — The global death toll from the Asian tsunami shot above 226,000 yesterday after Indonesia’s Health Ministry confirmed the deaths of tens of thousands of people previously listed as missing.

The ministry raised the country’s death toll to 166,320. It had previously given a figure of 95,450 while Indonesia’s Ministry of Social Affairs had put the death toll at about 115,000 before it stopped counting.

Dodi Indrasanto, a director at the Health Ministry’s department of health affairs, said the new death toll reflected the latest reports from the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra, which were directly in the path of the killer tsunami spawned by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake.

RUSSIA

Official rejects U.S. criticism

MOSCOW — Russia’s foreign minister brushed off U.S. doubts about the country’s commitment to democracy yesterday, saying “ill-intended” criticism would not alter President Vladimir Putin’s political course.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he expected Washington’s policy of cooperation with Moscow to remain unchanged, despite U.S. Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice’s comments on Tuesday that Russia’s path to democracy was “not yet assured.”

PAKISTAN

Kazakh diplomat shot, critically hurt

ISLAMABAD — A diplomat from Kazakhstan was in a coma after being found wounded by a gunshot to the head at his home in the Pakistani capital yesterday, officials and police said.

Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan said diplomat Sapargali Aubakirov, a counselor at the Kazakh Embassy, was in critical condition.

GERMANY

Nation opens ‘Einstein year’

BERLIN — Celebrating a native son who had to flee the Nazis, Germany opened festivities yesterday marking the 100th anniversary of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and the 50th anniversary of his death.

The so-called “Einstein Year” of 2005 is being marked with tours, a scientific conference and a major exhibition about Einstein, whose theories about space, time and relativity revolutionized science.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder began the celebration at the German Historical Museum, calling on his fellow Germans and scientists to embrace innovation and political debate as Einstein would.

Einstein, was born in Ulm, Germany, in 1879. He left Germany before Adolf Hitler took power and never returned.

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