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High-speed train crashes; 25 die

A high-speed magnetic train traveling at nearly 125 mph crashed Friday in northwestern Germany, killing at least 25 people in the first fatal wreck involving the high-tech system, officials said.

The train, which runs primarily as a demonstration by its manufacturer, was carrying at least 29 people when it struck a maintenance vehicle carrying two workers on the elevated track. Mangled wreckage hung from the 13-foot-high track, with seats and other debris strewn below.

Police spokesman Martin Ratermann put the death toll at 25 after a search of the crash site, about a half-mile from the station at the village of Melstrup.

The train runs four days a week on the 20-mile test track between Doerpen and Lathen near the Dutch border. The maintenance car was regularly used to check and clear the elevated tracks of branches and other debris.


Farrakhan says he is seriously ill

Minister Louis Farrakhan said in a letter to followers this month that he is seriously ill, and he asked the Nation of Islam’s leaders to carry on in his absence to make sure the movement “will live long after I and we have gone.”

Farrakhan, 73, said he began suffering pain earlier this year similar to 1998, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent surgery. He said doctors discovered an ulcer in his anal area during a visit to Cuba in March.

Since then, he has dropped more than 20 pounds while battling “serious infection and inflammation,” Farrakhan said in a letter dated Sept. 11 and published in the Nation of Islam’s The Final Call newspaper.

Farrakhan said he will work hard to recover “because I do not believe my earthly work is done.” He said he asked his executive board to solve problems during his recovery.

Vatican City

Pope seeks talks with Muslim envoys

Pope Benedict XVI has invited Muslim envoys to meet with him at his summer residence Monday for what the Holy See says is urgently needed dialogue following the crisis ignited by his remarks on Islam and violence.

Turkey and Iran immediately said their representatives would attend.

Benedict’s attempt to talk through the controversy comes as Christian-Muslim tensions rose in Indonesia over the executions of three Roman Catholic militants. Benedict had appealed to the mostly Muslim nation to spare the men.

Thousands of Muslim worshippers staged marches against Benedict in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza and the Sudanese capital on Friday.


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