102 killed in stampede at Hindu festival
At least 102 people were killed and 44 others were injured when pilgrims returning from one of India's most popular Hindu festivals stampeded, police said. The stampede was set off Friday night when pilgrims in a jeep drove into a crowd of worshipers walking along a narrow forest path as they returned from offering prayers at the hilltop Sabarimala shrine in the state of Kerala in southern India, said local police official Sanjay Kumar. "We have recovered 102 bodies. The rescue work is almost over," he said today. The annual two-month festival attracts millions of worshipers to the remote temple to the Hindu deity Ayyappan.
Iceland sought $1B bailout from U.S.
Documents released by WikiLeaks reveal that cash-hungry Iceland asked for a $1 billion loan from the United States in 2008 to shore up its collapsing economy. The U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik urged Washington to back the loan, worried Iceland might otherwise turn to Russia. The loan was not approved, and Iceland accepted a $2.1 billion loan from the IMF, plus billions from individual countries.
Seoul, South Korea: Defense Secretary Robert Gates met with South Korean President Lee Myung Bak and Defense Minister Kim Kwan Jin on Friday as South Korea and the United States declared solidarity against North Korea.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The death toll from mudslides and flooding in Brazil has reached 539, officials said Friday as rescue teams recovered more bodies of victims from the disaster unleashed by heavy rains.
Minsk, Belarus: The newspaper of Belarus' presidential administration on Friday accused Poland and Germany of trying to overthrow authoritarian President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko. Both countries denied the claim.
Rome: Italian prosecutors are investigating accusations that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi paid a 17-year-old girl for sex and abused the powers of his office by trying to cover up the liaison, officials said Friday. The prime minister's lawyers denied the charge.
Mexico City: Mexican soldiers clashed with gunmen for hours in Xalapa, capital of the coastal state of Veracruz, leaving at least 12 suspects and two soldiers dead, authorities said Friday.