Lorenzo strengthened rapidly into a Category 1 hurricane as it bore down on Mexico’s Gulf Coast with powerful winds and rain, forcing authorities to evacuate low-lying coastal communities before its projected landfall today.
Officials canceled classes and opened more than 60 shelters on the coastline of Veracruz state Thursday, as Mexico’s government issued a hurricane warning from Palma Sola to Cabo Rojo.
At least 30 communities near several rivers were ordered to evacuate late Thursday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said late Thursday that Lorenzo was forecast to strengthen further before hitting land in the “next several hours” near the small port of Tuxpan.
Musharraf ordered to release rivals
With the capital under a tight security lockdown, Pakistan’s chief justice issued a sharp new rebuke Thursday to President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, ordering the government to release scores of opposition figures rounded up in recent days.
The demand by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry came as Musharraf gave formal notice of his intention to seek re-election as president on Oct. 6, and as the Supreme Court prepared to rule on whether the Pakistani leader is eligible to run for office while holding the post of army chief.
Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, has promised to relinquish his military role if re-elected to a five-year term as president next week by national and provincial assemblies.
Iran sanction decision delayed
The U.N. Security Council probably will delay a move to impose new sanctions against Iran until December, when U.N. weapons inspectors conclude a review of Iran’s past nuclear activity, France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said Thursday.
Kouchner, speaking at a breakfast with international reporters, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear in Moscow talks last week that he will not consider Security Council sanctions during the next three months.
Kouchner’s remarks came one day before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to discuss a diplomatic reaction to Iran’s refusal to halt its uranium-enrichment work with the council’s four other permanent members – Britain, China, France and Russia – as well as Germany.
The United States and its European allies favor the imposition of additional trade, travel and diplomatic sanctions on Iran.