The sun rose twice yesterday, as a rare eclipse of the sun shrouded a large swath of South America, plunging people briefly back into darkness just as they rose to greet the morning. The eclipse darkened an area of southern Peru, northern Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina for several minutes. La Paz, Bolivia, came to a virtual standstill as schools, banks, businesses, and government offices shut down so people could watch the eclipse. Thousands of foreign tourists and scientists flocked to the region. The last total solar eclipse visible in the region was in 1966, and the next one won't be until 2113.

Fiery flood in Egypt

In a freak chain of events, a fuel train derailed on a rain-loosened track and sent ``winds of fire'' coursing through a town in southern Egypt. The inferno killed at least 500 people and left thousands homeless. The train derailed in Durunka, 200 miles south of Cairo, amid torrential rains as it headed to a government oil depot early Wednesday. Ignited by electric wires, the burning cargo was carried on flood waters into the town of 22,000 people.

Muslim-Croat advance

Thousands of civilians fled the Serb-held town of Kupres yesterday in anticipation of a two-pronged attack by Muslim-led government forces and their Bosnian Croat allies. The rare coordinated assault in central Bosnia could signal a new phase in the 2-1/2-year-old civil war. Long-outgunned government troops have captured about 100 square miles in the past week in northwest Bosnia, and full battlefield support from the Bosnian Croat militia would provide them with a huge troop advantage over the Bosnian Serbs.

Rare Swiss strike

In Switzerland's first nationwide strike since 1980, members of printing unions stopped work yesterday in a 24-hour protest over pay, benefits, and working hours. Strikes, even at individual companies, are extremely rare in Switzerland, which has a tradition of compromise and conciliation at the negotiating table.

Euro Disney deficit

Euro Disney near Paris is still losing money but not as much as in the last fiscal year, the troubled theme-park operator reported yesterday. Meanwhile, attendance fell 10 percent. Losses for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30 were reported at $360 million, substantially narrowed from the $1 billion lost in 1992-93. The losses were in the upper range forecast by market analysts.

Writer cleared of libel

A jury has cleared New Yorker magazine writer Janet Malcolm of libel, even though it decided she made up two quotes that she had attributed to a psychoanalyst. The verdict announced on Wednesday culminated a 10-year legal battle that went as far as the US Supreme Court and triggered a debate over how much leeway journalists have when quoting sources.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.