- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 16, 2005


Estimated death toll tops 54,000

BALAKOT — Officials predicted yesterday that thousands more bodies would be found in earthquake-ravaged Kashmir as heavy rains in the Himalayan region left homeless survivors in mud and misery.

The latest estimate of at least 40,000 deaths in Pakistan’s portion of Kashmir alone would mean that more than 54,000 people were killed when the magnitude 7.6 quake hit the mountains of northern Pakistan and India. That represents a jump of 13,000 from the official count of known dead.

A spokesman for the prime minister of the region warned that the cold and wet weather could cause more deaths among the 2 million or so people thought to be homeless.


Minister defends support for Iran

MOSCOW — Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday brushed aside criticism of Moscow’s support for Iran’s nuclear-energy program, saying Russia will bow to no country.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Moscow over the weekend, seeking President Vladimir Putin’s support for referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council if it refuses to resume talks on suspected nuclear-arms programs.

But Mr. Lavrov said Iran, “like any other country, has the full right to develop its peaceful nuclear energy. … No one, including the United States, will challenge our right to continue building the atomic electricity station in Bushehr.”


Soccer star Weah headed for runoff

MONROVIA — Presidential elections appeared headed for a second round as the latest tally, released yesterday, from the vote last week showed that soccer great George Weah’s lead was not wide enough to win outright.

With results in from 84 percent of polling stations across the war-ravaged West African country, the former recipient of the World Player of the Year award led the field of 22 candidates with 30.0 percent of the vote.

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, a former finance minister and World Bank economist who would become Africa’s first elected female president if she won, was in second place with 19.6 percent of the vote.


U.S. deal reported on Okinawa bases

TOKYO —The United States and Japan have reached a basic agreement on relocating two U.S. military bases on the southern island of Okinawa, where the American presence frequently has provoked protests, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Under the accord, the United States will return port facilities at the Naha naval port in Naha and the Makiminato Service Area in Urasoe to Japan, the Yomiuri newspaper said, citing unidentified Japanese government sources.

The bases’ functions will be consolidated with those at Camp Courtney, also on Okinawa, the report said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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