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Floods kill 78 at Sumatra resort

Flash floods swept through a popular tourist resort on Indonesia's Sumatra island, killing 78 people, five of them foreigners, and leaving about 100 missing, officials said Monday.

Rescuers searched for survivors today but hopes of finding people alive beneath the debris faded. 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 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.

The dead foreigners included two Germans, two Austrians and a Singaporean, officials said.

Report: N. Korea reactor

project likely to be killed

WASHINGTON _ The international consortium building two nuclear reactors to provide energy to North Korea is likely to agree today to suspend the project, effectively killing it, U.S. and Asian officials said Monday.

Terminating the reactor project _ centerpiece of a 1994 deal by Clinton administration to freeze North Korea's nuclear weapons capabilities _ has long been a goal of key members of the Bush administration. But the move has been resisted by its partners in the project, particularly South Korea, who argued that ending or even suspending it would needlessly rile North Korea and escalate the crisis over its nuclear ambitions.

Arrested Russian magnate

quits as head of oil giant

MOSCOW _ Mikhail Khodorkovsky resigned on Monday as chairman of Russia's richest company, Yukos Oil, even as he defiantly vowed to continue a public _ and possibly a political _ campaign "to build an open and truly democratic society in Russia."

Khodorkovsky, imprisoned since Oct. 25 on charges of embezzlement, fraud and tax evasion, said in a statement that he was stepping aside in order to shield the company from what he and others have called a politically motivated prosecution.

But the New York Times and other media, quoting unnamed sources, reported that Khodorkovsky's resignation cleared the way not only for his legal defense but also for a campaign for political office, possibly even a challenge to President Vladimir Putin in presidential elections in March.

Saudi terror raid kills two,

unearths arms in Mecca

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia _ Police clashed with suspected al-Qaida sympathizers in the streets of the sacred city of Mecca on Monday, killing two militants and uncovering a cache of weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, grenades and bombmaking materials.

The raid was the latest in a string of antimilitant sweeps across Saudi Arabia, where the legitimacy of the regime rests in part on safeguarding Mecca, the site of Islam's holiest shrine, where devout Muslims must make at least one pilgrimage. An attack in Mecca could be seen as a strike on the Saudi regime.

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