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105 reported killed in Sudan as army, rebels battle

SUDAN

105 REPORTED KILLED AS ARMY, REBELS BATTLE

Two days of fighting in Southern Sudan between the region's army and a rebel faction killed 105 people, an army spokesman said Friday, in a reminder that violence can still explode in the volatile region despite its successful independence referendum. A former high-ranking army member who had previously rebelled against the southern regional government attacked the towns of Fangak and Dor in the Upper Nile state on Wednesday, breaking a cease-fire, said Col. Philip Aguer, the army spokesman. Aguer said 105 people were killed in the two towns: 39 civilians, 24 police and soldiers, and 42 of rebel commander George Athor's men. Renegade commanders abound in the region.

NEW ORLEANS

Coast Guard says ease oil cleanup

The Coast Guard said Friday that the cleanup of oiled beaches along the Gulf of Mexico has reached the point where shores should be left alone to avoid further damaging the ecosystem. A Coast Guard report said the crews of workers, heavy equipment and scrubbing of the shores now could cause more damage than leaving the remaining oil from the BP spill to slowly degrade.

WASHINGTON

Exec sentenced in Abramoff scandal

A leading figure in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal was sentenced to 20 months in prison on Friday and ordered to pay $20 million in restitution for his part in a massive influence-peddling ring. Michael Scanlon, 40, a public relations executive, could have received a longer sentence, but the judge noted his cooperation in the investigation of Abramoff, who gave gifts to lawmakers, congressional aides and executive branch officials in exchange for favors. The case has led to 21 convictions.

Chile

Big quake strikes near one in 2010

A magnitude-6.8 earthquake struck central Chile on Friday, centered in almost the same spot where last year's magnitude-8.8 quake spawned a tsunami and devastated coastal communities. Electricity and phone service were disrupted, and thousands of people fled to higher ground after Friday's quake. But the government quickly announced that there was no risk of a tsunami, and there were no reports of damage or injuries.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska

One of oldest bald eagles found dead

A Kodiak Island bald eagle survived 25 years of Alaska hazards but met an unfortunate fate last month on the crossbar of a utility pole: electrocution. A band attached to its leg showed the bird to be the second-oldest bald eagle documented in Alaska and one of the oldest in the country, wildlife officials said. The oldest bald eagle documented was a 32-year-old bird from Maine.

Elsewhere

Allentown, Pa.: Four of the five victims of an explosion and natural gas fire that engulfed a row of homes have been identified, authorities said Friday. The cause of the blast remains under investigation.

Colombia: Colombian rebels released to the International Red Cross on Friday two more captives, a young marine they captured eight months ago and a 48-year-old town council member seized in 2009. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia released another captive Wednesday.

Times wires

105 reported killed in Sudan as army, rebels battle 02/11/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 11, 2011 11:12pm]

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