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Floods kill 71 at Sumatra resort

Flash floods swept through a popular tourist resort on Indonesia's Sumatra island, killing 71 people, five of them foreigners, and leaving more than 100 missing, officials said Monday.

The floods, which were triggered by days of heavy rain, took place late Sunday in Bohorok, close to the provincial capital of Medan in north Sumatra province.

A river that winds down from nearby mountains overflowed its banks and washed away dozens of makeshift guesthouses that host tourists who come to the area to see its famous orangutan reserve. Officials said logging in the area had encouraged erosion, worsening the landslide.

The dead foreigners included a German, an Australian, two Chinese and a Singaporean, said Sgt. Togar Sinagar, a local police officer.

Draft of Afghan charter

calls for Islamic republic

KABUL, Afghanistan _ Two years after the fall of the Taliban, the Afghan government unveiled a historic draft constitution Monday, aiming to cast aside a quarter-century of conflict with a unified Islamic state under a powerful presidency.

The draft makes Afghanistan an Islamic republic but stops short of imposing the harsh brand of Islamic law favored by the Taliban, and for the first time enshrines a permanent role for women in governing the country.

Still, turning the document's guarantees of equality, liberty, dignity and free speech into reality in a country lacking all of them will be a singular challenge for President Hamid Karzai and future Afghan leaders.

China launches another

research satellite

BEIJING _ China launched an experimental satellite for research and mapping Monday from the same pad where its first manned mission took off last month.

The recoverable satellite, which will orbit for 18 days, went up at 3:20 p.m. Monday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said the launch used a Long March 2-D carrier rocket. The satellite was "functioning normally," Xinhua said.

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