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DEATH TOLL TOPS 300 IN TYPHOON, OFFICIALS SAY

Philippine rescuers scouring mountain villages buried under mud and boulders loosened by a powerful typhoon discovered more bodies Saturday, raising the death total to more than 300, with another 300 missing. Officials fear the number of those killed by Typhoon Durian will rise as rescue operations continue in devastated villages on the slopes of the Mayon volcano, 210 miles southeast of Manila in the northern Philippines. The Disaster Coordinating Council of worst-hit Albay province reported 285 dead, including 165 in the town of Guinobatan, swamped by floodwaters in the Mayon volcano's foothills. At least 66 people were reported dead in three towns on Mayon's slopes.

FIJI

Prime minister tries to avert coup

Fiji's elected leader came out of hiding Saturday to hold talks with the vice president in hopes of averting a military coup in the South Pacific island nation. Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase and a military envoy held separate talks with Fijian Vice President Joni Mandraiwiwi, about 24 hours after a deadline passed without the threatened ouster.

THAILAND

Clinton concerned in tsunami visit

Touring a Thai gypsy village damaged by the 2004 tsunami, former President Bill Clinton on Saturday expressed concern that most of the people left homeless by the massive waves are still living in temporary shelters. Clinton, on his final trip to the region as the top U.N. envoy for the tsunami recovery effort, visited Hin Look Dio. He later flew to Indonesia's Aceh province, which was hit hardest by the tsunami.

IRAN

Fingerprinting set for U.S. citizens

Iran has enacted a law requiring U.S. citizens visiting the country to be fingerprinted upon arrival, an official said Saturday. Conservatives drafted the law in retaliation for the U.S. requirement that Iranian visitors be fingerprinted. The U.S. measure, which also applies to nationals of other countries, was implemented after the Sept. 11 attacks. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had opposed the bill, saying in October: "We do not have a problem with American people. We oppose only the U.S. government's bullying and arrogance."

Elsewhere

Vatican City: The Vatican on Saturday blasted China for ordaining another bishop without papal approval, calling it the latest in a "series of extremely grave acts" that caused Pope Benedict XVI "great sorrow."

Bahrain: Shiites lost a bid to gain control of parliament from Sunnis in runoff elections Saturday, state-run television reported today, citing official results. Still, the election was being hailed as a major step forward for democracy and Bahrain's majority Shiites.

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