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135 feared dead as avalanche buries Pakistani military camp

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Avalanche hits base; 135 reported missing

The Pakistani military faced a looming disaster on Saturday after an avalanche crashed through a remote mountain base containing 135 people, setting off a high-altitude rescue scramble that after 18 hours had yielded no survivors. Helicopters, sniffer dogs and hundreds of troops searched for survivors at the Gayari base, which is located deep in the Himalayas at an altitude of 15,000 feet, near the Indian border, and is now buried in a snowdrift 70 feet deep, the military said. By late Saturday the military said that 124 soldiers and 11 civilian employees were missing; none had been recovered. Because of the "very difficult, treacherous terrain," the rescue operation was likely to take several days, military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said.

TULSA, Okla.

Three killed in shootings

Residents of Tulsa's predominantly black north side said Saturday they are afraid a shooter is still roaming their neighborhoods after five people were shot — and three killed — a day earlier. Police were still waiting for the results of forensic tests, but investigators said the shootings happened around the same time within a 3-mile span, and all five victims —all black — were out walking when they were shot. One of the victims told police that the shooter was a white man driving a white pickup truck who stopped to ask for directions before opening fire. More than two dozen officers are investigating the case, along with the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and other agencies.

Chenzhou, China

Kidney for iPhone, iPad?

Five people have been arrested for alleged involvement in the removal and selling of a teenager's kidney for transplant, China's Xinhua news agency reported. It story said the 17-year-old student, identified only by his surname Wang, gave up his kidney for about $3,000, and used some of that money to buy two of Apple's most popular products — an iPad and an iPhone. Prosecutors in the city of Chenzhou — a city of about 4.5 million people in Hunan province in central China — charged the suspects, including a surgeon, with intentional injury, Xinhua reported.

BLANTYRE, Malawi

VP sworn in as president

The government of Malawi confirmed Saturday that President Bingu wa Mutharika had died, ending 24 hours of confusion and fervid speculation about his condition. Vice President Joyce Banda, next in line for the presidency under the country's constitution, was sworn in at a brief ceremony in Lilongwe, the capital. Earlier Saturday, she presided over a Cabinet meeting and held a news conference at which she was flanked by Cabinet ministers, the army commander and the national police chief.

BAMAKO, Mali

Junta agrees to step down

Under intense pressure from the nations neighboring Mali, Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, the junior officer who seized power 17 days ago, signed an accord late Friday agreeing to return the nation to civilian rule. The head of the assembly becomes interim president for a transitional period until new elections are held. Dioncounda Traore, 70, the head of the assembly who was in neighboring Burkina Faso on March 21 at the time of the coup, returned Saturday to Mali.

GAZA, Gaza Strip

Hamas executes 3 in Gaza

The Islamic group Hamas that controls Gaza executed three Palestinians on Saturday, one who was convicted of collaborating with Israel and two others who had been found guilty of murder, a statement from the Hamas Interior Ministry said. The statement said the three men were hanged at a security site in Gaza City.

Airstrike wounds 2: An Israeli airstrike wounded two Palestinians in the Gaza Strip near the Egyptian border on Saturday. Israel's military said its air force targeted Palestinians in the town of Rafah attempting to launch a rocket into Israel.

Elsewhere

Buenos Aires: A bus plunged into a ravine in northern Argentina, killing 10 people and injuring about 40 others, officials said Saturday. Two Germans were reported among the dead.

Cairo: In a statement released late Saturday, the Muslim Brotherhood said it will put up party leader Mohammed Morsi as an alternate to Khairat el-Shater, the party's chief strategist and financier, as a candidate for Egyptian president if the latter faces political obstacles.

Baghdad: A bomb hidden in a plastic bag and planted on a minibus killed two passengers and wounded nine others in central Baghdad, police and hospital officials said Saturday.

Anchorage, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey chief biologist Tony DeGange said nine of 33 bears checked by scientists in the past two weeks were found to have alopecia — loss of fur — and skin lesions, but scientists are not sure why.

Times wires

135 feared dead as avalanche buries Pakistani military camp 04/07/12 [Last modified: Saturday, April 7, 2012 8:26pm]
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