May 7, 2009 in Nation/World

Deadly floods leave thousands homeless

 
Schalk Zuydam photo

Zuma
(Full-size photo)

Brazil rushed aid Wednesday by air, over land and through rapidly rising waters to dozens of cities and towns isolated by floods that have killed at least 32 people and left more than 200,000 homeless.

Some complained that aid wasn’t coming fast enough to help flood victims deal with the disaster, which officials said is the worst rainfall and flooding that some parts of the region have seen in two decades.

In an ominous sign, rain continued to fall across a vast region stretching from the Amazon jungle to the northeastern Atlantic coast; meteorologists predicted the bad weather could last for weeks.

The unusually heavy rains that have slammed the region for two months are now affecting 10 of Brazil’s 26 states.

Most victims drowned or were killed when mudslides swept over ramshackle homes, but authorities feared the situation could get much worse because many areas had been isolated for days without shipments of food or water.

Cape Town, South Africa

Parliament elects Zuma as president

South Africa’s parliament elected Jacob Zuma as president Wednesday, celebrating the astonishing rise of a self-educated teenage goatherd who transformed himself into the charismatic leader of Africa’s economic powerhouse.

Zuma will be inaugurated Saturday, the culmination of a remarkable comeback for the former underground leader who survived prison under the former apartheid government, a rape allegation and corruption scandals on his way to the top job.

Zuma, 67, is to name his government Sunday – and world markets as well as ordinary people are eager to see whether he follows the pragmatic market-oriented path of his predecessors or reaches out to his powerful allies in the trade union and communist movements with more pro-poor policies.

In his address to parliament, Zuma promised to speed up progress on education, health and land reform, fight harder against crime, create more jobs and improve the lives of millions of impoverished black South Africans.

Baghdad

Insurgent bombs kill 12, injure more

Two car bombs killed at least 12 people Wednesday in Baghdad, the latest in a series of attacks by insurgents attempting to undermine the Iraqi government as the U.S. military begins to withdraw from cities.

The deadliest explosion occurred inside a crowded vegetable market shortly after 7 a.m. in the southwestern district of Doura. At least 11 people were killed and 37 wounded after explosives concealed under bags filled with produce were detonated in the back of a pickup truck, witnesses said.

The other car bomb detonated about noon in central Baghdad. It apparently targeted, but missed, a police patrol, an Iraqi police official said. At least one bystander was killed, according to police.

From wire reports


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