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Crash searchers facing deadline

Sat., June 13, 2009

Recife, Brazil – Six more bodies were recovered from the Atlantic Ocean where an Air France jet crashed, Brazilian officials said Friday, as the race to find the black boxes and gather key evidence from human remains and debris gained urgency.

On the coast, investigators examined corpses and received the first wreckage: two plane seats, oxygen masks, water bottles, and several structural pieces, some no bigger than a man’s hand.

Almost two weeks after the crash, Brazil’s military said the search is becoming increasingly difficult and a tentative June 25 date for halting efforts has been set.

The black boxes – whose emergency locator beacons begin to fade after 30 days – along with debris and bodies from the jet, all contain crucial clues as to how and why Air France Flight 447 went down en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.

China halts dam construction

Beijing – China’s environment ministry has suspended construction of two ambitious hydropower dams in the upper Yangtze River region, saying the projects were illegal because they were started without necessary environmental assessments.

The announcement, carried widely in state media Friday, is an unusually aggressive move by the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

The dams are part of an estimated $30 billion project involving hydropower stations along the Jinsha River tributary in southwestern China which environmentalists have said would damage the region’s biodiversity.

Swine flu hits two towns hard

Guatemala City – Guatemala’s government is asking two towns to close nearly all public venues to prevent the spread of swine flu.

Health Secretary Celso Cerezo said the virus has infected 96 people in the Central America country. Most have recovered.

Cerezo said most of the cases have been reported in two small southern towns, Palin and Santa Lucia. The government recommended Friday that those towns close restaurants, bars, movie theaters, churches and other public venues until the epidemic subsides.


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