Tens of thousands of people were being evacuated from the path of a potential dam burst in southwestern China Tuesday as soldiers and police worked to relieve pressure on rubble and mud left by the May 12 earthquake. The lake in Szechuan Province is the largest of 35 resulting from landslides that have blocked rivers, and its depth was measured at 2,380 feet and rising. The government issued a new count of deaths from the quake â€“ 67,183 â€“ and estimated the economic loss in Szechuan alone at more than $29 billion. Above, a resident of the province salvages a mattress from the rubble.
International relief groups began their first missions in the cyclone-battered Irawaddy Delta of Burma (Myanmar) Tuesday. But that development was overshadowed by a one-year extension of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest as her current sentence was due to expire. She has been confined for almost 13 of the past 18 years.
The Kremlin reacted to demands for an apology and compensation for a downed Georgian reconnaissance drone Tuesday by saying it has no confidence in a UN finding that a Russian military jet was responsible. No "definitive response" is possible until Georgia agrees to hand over videotaped footage of the incident, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The unmanned craft was shot down April 20 over the separatist province of Abkhazia.
An immediate and unconditional cease-fire was signed by the government of Burundi and the nation's last active rebel movement. A spokesman for the National Liberation Forces (FNL) said the deal means that "war would stop forever." Fighting between FNL units and the Army has killed more than 100 people and displaced tens of thousands of others in the past month alone.
A revolt by soldiers in Guinea spread to a second base Monday night as junior officers took the Army's deputy commander hostage in a demand for higher pay. Lansana Conte, the military president, held 4-1/2 hours of talks with top aides and advisers but afterward announced no new initiatives other than calling on the dissidents to open a dialogue. A similar revolt last May led to Conte appointing a power-sharing prime minister. But he was fired last week.
By unanimous vote, the town council of Camden, Australia, rejected plans Tuesday to build a school for 1,200 Muslim children. Mayor Chris Patterson said the issue was concern over the loss of agricultural land and the effect on traffic patterns rather than religion. But the plan drew 3,200 written objections, compared with 100 letters in favor. Camden has few Muslim residents; most of the students would have come from Sydney, an hour away by bus. The rejection can be appealed to the courts.
Almost one-quarter of Mexico's people will be paid a subsidy to offset spiraling food prices, President Felipe CalderÃ³n announced in a nationally televised speech Monday. He said his government also will use record profits from the production of crude oil to help maintain below-market prices for gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas. The food subsidies will amount to $11.55 per person per month and will cost the government about $433 million, CalderÃ³n said.
Quick thinking and pilot skill were being credited for averting another disaster at the same airport in Congo where 47 people died in a plane crash last month. Reports from the eastern city of Goma said a Russian-built transport developed engine trouble on takeoff, and the pilot turned back for an emergency landing. The craft veered off the runway and caught fire, but it hit nothing and there were only minor injuries to the crew.