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Tsunami Death Toll Raised

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan described the devastation on tsunami-battered Sumatra island Friday as the worst he's ever seen, and authorities raised Indonesia's death toll by 7,000, bringing the overall total killed by the disaster to more than 147,000. Twelve days after the tsunami hit, Annan and World Bank President James Wolfensohn flew over the island's west coast and later drove around the shattered coastal town of Meulaboh, where families picked through piles of rubble two metres high. Full story
  • The Group of Seven finance ministers agreed Friday to suspend debt repayment for countries hit by the Asian tsunami. Finance ministers said they will work out details of the freeze with the Paris Club, an informal group of creditor nations who help debtor countries find payment solutions. Canada, a member of the club, announced its moratorium on debt repayment on Dec. 30. Full story

  • A passenger train and a freight train collided in thick fog Friday in northern Italy, killing 14 people and injuring dozens, rescue officials said. The crash, on a line between Bologna and Verona, left several train cars in a wreck of buckled metal. At least one carriage was lifted high into the air by the force of the collision. Full story

  • Reputed Ku Klux Klansman Edgar Ray Killen has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in connection with the 1964 crime that inspired the movie Mississippi Burning. The 79-year-old preacher, handcuffed and dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit, responded "not guilty" to each of three counts of murder as he was arraigned in a Mississippi court. He was then led off to jail to await another hearing on Wednesday. Full story
  • China intends to make it a criminal offence to abort a female fetus, hoping to correct a major imbalance in the ratio of boys to girls born in the country. The practice is currently banned, but there are no criminal consequences if parents disobey the ban or doctors carry out such an abortion. Full story


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