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Rain hampering quake aid efforts

Sun., Aug. 31, 2008

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck China’s southwestern Sichuan province Saturday, killing 22 people and injuring more than 100, state media said.

Rescue teams were headed to the quake-hit area, but heavy rains and the region’s rugged terrain hampered their efforts, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The quake killed 17 people in Sichuan and five others in the neighboring province of Yunnan, Xinhua said.

The agency said about 100 people in Sichuan and 35 in Yunnan were injured.

Nearly 1,000 houses were destroyed in Panzhihua, and it was not known how many people were buried in the rubble, the report said.

Also Saturday, an earthquake measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale struck the northwestern region of Xinjiang, Xinhua said in a separate report. No casualties were reported from the quake which hit the sparsely inhabited Tianshan mountains, it said.

Harare, Zimbabwe

Olympic athletes get cash rewards

The president accused of impoverishing Zimbabwe has handed out $148,000 to the nation’s Olympians, most of it to a top-performing swimmer.

The government-controlled Herald newspaper reported Saturday that Robert Mugabe announced the awards during a brief ceremony Friday. He called Kirsty Coventry Zimbabwe’s “golden girl” and gave her $100,000.

Coventry won three silvers and a gold at the Beijing games. She showed off her medals during a parade through Harare earlier this week.

The Herald said Mugabe gave three others on the 13-member Olympic squad $10,000 each. Each of the remaining athletes got $2,000.

Many Zimbabweans are unable to afford food and other basics. The opposition blames the economic collapse on Mugabe. Mugabe blames the West.

From wire reports


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