A powerful cyclone menaced Oman’s central coast with strong winds and rain early today, after thousands of residents fled to higher ground. Forecasters said the Arabian Peninsula’s strongest storm in 60 years was on a course for southern Iran and the oil-rich Persian Gulf.
Cyclone-force winds of Gonu, which had been churning northwest through the Indian Ocean, reached the Omani coast, buffeting the towns of Sur and Ra’s al-Hadd. Civil Defense said the storm dumped heavy rains on the capital, Muscat, and surrounding communities.
Gonu was expected to skirt the region’s biggest oil installations but could disrupt shipping in the Straits of Hormuz, causing a spike in prices, oil analysts said.
Group says Games evicting 1.5 million
Some 1.5 million Chinese have been forced from their homes during preparations for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, a rights group said Tuesday.
China rejected the figures from the Geneva-based Center on Housing Rights and Evictions as “groundless” and said some 6,000 families had been compensated and properly resettled.
“Our research shows that little has changed since 1988 when 720,000 people were forcibly displaced in Seoul, South Korea, in preparation for the Summer Olympic Games,” said Jean du Plessis, COHRE’s executive director.
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies told the Associated Press that the study “touches upon a very important subject,” and that the IOC planned to attend a COHRE workshop addressing the issue June 14-15.
Pipeline workers find mass grave
Pipeline diggers unearthed a mass grave believed to contain thousands of Jews slaughtered in Ukraine during World War II, a Jewish community spokesman said Tuesday, a grim finding in a nation that one Holocaust expert described as “an enormous killing field.”
The grave was found by chance last month when workers were laying gas pipelines in the village of Gvozdavka-1, about 110 miles northwest of the Black Sea port city of Odessa, said Roman Shvartsman, a spokesman for the regional Jewish community.
The Jewish community was aware of the mass murder at the time, but no one knew where the bodies were buried, he said.