News In Brief

Twenty thousand people "and probably more" were believed to have died in the powerful earthquake that struck South Asia early Friday, India's Republic Day. The temblor was measured at 7.9 on the Richter scale, and reports said relief efforts were hampered by severe shortages of food, water, and electricity. Indian officials were accepting "with gratitude" donations of aid from around the world but refused to comment on an offer from neighbor and bitter rival Pakistan.

Harsh criticism was being directed by the news media at Swiss authorities for their "heavy-handed" crackdown against anti-globalization protesters at the World Economic Forum meetings in Davos. Demonstrations in Zurich and the capital, Bern, also turned violent. Early damage estimates ran well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Thousands of supporters swarmed the airport in Lima, Peru, to welcome ex-President Alan Garcia home for his reelection campaign. Once called "Latin America's JFK," he served from 1985 to 1990, but couldn't subdue the leftist Shining Path rebel movement and fled to exile in Colombia to dodge an arrest order for corruption. The vote is scheduled for April 8, and Garcia is thought to have the potential to force presumed favorite Alejandro Toledo into a runoff.

Army troops were rushed to the volatile port city of Karachi to quell Pakistan's worst domestic violence since the military junta seized power two years ago. The trouble began when masked gunmen ambushed a van carrying Sunni clerics from a Muslim school, killing five people and wounding three others. At least one other person died and five more were hurt when the soldiers fired on angry protesters after the ambush.

A predawn bomb explosion wrecked the presses of a newspaper in Zimbabwe's capital that has been consistently critical of President Robert Mugabe's government. Owners of the Daily News were searching for alternatives to print today's edition. The blast was the latest in a series of acts of intimidation. A similar explosion last June destroyed a gallery next door to the newspaper.

Weekend violence on two Indian Ocean islands that are part of Tanzania still was flaring as the Monitor went to press. Reports said at least 32 people died, with almost 400 others under arrest on Zanzibar and Pemba, and police hunting down and beating supporters of the opposition Civic United Front (CUF). The islands have been tense since last fall when the CUF accused the ruling Revolutionary Party of rigging national elections. The CUF had scheduled mass protests Saturday to press for a new vote, but they were declared illegal.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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