Typhoon death toll rises to 106
China’s death toll from Typhoon Saomai rose by one to 106 today as residents of the drenched southeast cleared away wreckage after the most powerful storm to hit the country in more than five decades.
The latest fatality occurred in the inland province of Jiangxi, where an elderly couple were swept away as they checked on their farmland during the storm, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It said one member of the couple was dead and the other missing, raising the total number of people missing to 191.
On Saturday, state television showed workers distributing sacks of rice and bottles of cooking oil to evacuees camped out in shelters in the hardest-hit coastal provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian. They also received emergency bedding and clothes.
The region was bracing for more torrential rain over the weekend. Saomai, which weakened to a tropical depression on Friday, was expected to drench Zhejiang and Fujian as well as the poor inland provinces of Jiangxi and Anhui.
Civilian deaths trigger protests
Thousands of villagers protested in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Saturday after an ambush by security forces targeting Muslim militants mistakenly killed two civilians, including a teenage girl.
Separately, a civilian sleeping in his home was killed by a stray bullet from a nearby gunbattle between Indian soldiers and Islamic rebels.
A 30-year-old man was gathering firewood in a forest with a 15-year-old girl when they were gunned down by Indian troops near Dragmulla village, 60 miles north of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Jammu and Kashmir, police and residents said.
Chavez declares bid for re-election
President Hugo Chavez declared his candidacy for re-election on Saturday with warnings that Washington is trying to undermine December’s presidential vote and destabilize Venezuela.
Chavez arrived punching his fist in the air at the electoral council’s headquarters in downtown Caracas, where throngs of supporters from across the country formed a sea of red – the color of his political party.
“I am the candidate of the revolution, and without a doubt I am the candidate of the national majority, of those who continue transforming the country and saving it from the capitalist quagmire,” Chavez said.
Chavez, who says he’s leading a socialist revolution, faces a newly united opposition, with most rivals falling in behind a single candidate, the popular Zulia state governor Manuel Rosales. Also running as something of a wild card is a popular comedian, Benjamin Rausseo, better known in Venezuela as the “Count of Guacharo.”
Chavez dismissed all the other candidates as tools of the U.S. government.