- - Thursday, November 10, 2011


Quake kills at least 10, topples two hotels

VAN | A Japanese aid worker was among 10 people killed by a second earthquake in eastern Turkey, and angry residents protested Thursday that authorities should have closed down two collapsed hotels that were damaged by the first temblor.

Riot police used pepper spray to halt the protests.

The demonstration erupted as rescue workers with pickaxes and earthmovers searched for survivors of Wednesday night’s quake, which hit the same region rocked by an Oct. 23 temblor that left 600 people dead in the eastern province of Van.

Nearly 30 people were pulled from the rubble in the provincial capital, also called Van, as frantic rescue efforts began Wednesday evening and lasted through the night under high-powered lights.

All 10 fatalities occurred in the two collapsed hotels.

Van’s most prominent hotel, the five-story Bayram Hotel, survived last month’s 7.2-magnitude quake with some cracks and a damaged elevator. But it toppled in the new, 5.7-magnitude quake, trapping an unknown number of people under tons of concrete and twisted metal.


New premier vows to stick with euro

ATHENS | Senior banker Lucas Papademos on thursday was appointed prime minister of an interim Greek unity government that seeks to cement a European debt deal and stave off national bankruptcy.

Chosen after four tortuous days of power-sharing talks, Mr. Papademos immediately promised to seek cross-party cooperation to keep Greece firmly in the 17-nation eurozone.

The 64-year-old former vice president of the European Central Bank will lead a government backed by the governing Socialists and the opposition conservatives that will operate until early elections, tentatively set for February. He replaces outgoing Prime Minister George Papandreou midway through a four-year term.

The new Cabinet, whose members were not immediately named, will be sworn in Friday afternoon.

The announcement came as Italy wrestled with its own governing crisis, with economist Mario Monti in line to run another interim technocratic government.

Italy’s borrowing costs shot up Wednesday on fears that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi would linger in office, prompting the country’s president to promise that Mr. Berlusconi would likely be out by Saturday.


Officials: Sudan bombs South Sudan, kills 12

NAIROBI, KENYA | Military aircraft from Sudan crossed the new international border with South Sudan and dropped bombs Thursday in and around a camp filled with refugees fleeing violence in the north, officials said.

At least 12 people were killed.

The violence in and near the Yida refugee camp, located 10 miles south of the border, came a day after bombings were reported in another region of South Sudan, an attack that provoked strong condemnation from the U.S. State Department.

The president of South Sudan, which became the world’s newest country only four months ago, said he fears the Khartoum-based government intends to invade the south soon.


Pope may visit Cuba, Mexico in spring

The Vatican said Thursday that Pope Benedict XVI is looking into visiting Cuba and Mexico next spring, traveling to a region where about half of the world’s Catholics live and where Pope John Paul II made historic visits during his pontificate.

The announcement marked the first word from the Vatican of a possible foreign trip for the pontiff next year, and signals that despite his age - he turns 85 in April - and increasing frailty, the pope intends to travel far to meet the world’s Catholics.

Mexico is poised to take Brazil’s place as the world’s top Catholic nation, although the church is losing members in both countries.

The church in Cuba, meanwhile, has taken on a prominent role recently in negotiating the release of jailed dissidents.


Attackers blow up gas line, halting exports

EL-ARISH | Attackers set off explosives early thursday along a gas pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula that carries fuel to neighboring Israel and Jordan, Egypt’s state news agency reported.

It was the seventh attack on the pipeline since the uprising that ousted longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in February.

The report by news agency MENA said unidentified assailants placed explosive charges in two separate places on the line that carries natural gas near the north Sinai town of el-Arish, causing blasts and huge fires.

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