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In brief: Gunmen kidnap three aid workers

Mon., Nov. 30, 2009

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania – Three Spanish aid workers were kidnapped by gunmen Sunday while delivering supplies to impoverished villages in the desert nation of Mauritania, a police official said.

The two men and one woman were attacked while delivering supplies to villages along a 240-mile road that links the capital Nouakchott to Nouadhibou to the north, the official said.

“The Spaniards were inside their car traveling in the humanitarian convoy which had gone to distribute humanitarian aid to the poorest of the poor of Nouadhibou when the unknown gunmen started shooting at them before kidnapping them,” said the official, a top police officer in the capital.

The official said the workers were employed by the Spanish organization Barcelona-Accio, which does humanitarian work in several African countries, including Mauritania.

Mauritania, once known as a predominantly moderate Muslim nation on Africa’s western coast, has been rocked by back-to-back attacks by an al-Qaida linked group.

Ferry death toll rises to 62

DHAKA, Bangladesh – Authorities said the death toll from a weekend capsizing of a ferry in southern Bangladesh has risen to 62 after the recovery of an additional four bodies.

Local police official Mohammad Bayezid said today rescuers plucked four bodies overnight from River Tetulia, where the overcrowded triple-deck ferry capsized.

The M.V. Coco was packed with hundreds of travelers leaving Dhaka to head home for the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha when it went down late Friday. It started to take on water as it arrived at Nazirhat town in the coastal district of Bhola, about 60 miles south of the capital.

Stamps sold for Smithsonian

WASHINGTON – A wealthy investor has sold two of his prized stamp collections to help pay for an expansion of the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum.

William H. Gross sold the collections last week at an auction in New York. The collections included stamps from the Confederacy and British colonies in North America. They fetched $3.2 million. The proceeds go toward Gross’ $8 million pledge to the museum. He has also donated some of the rarest known stamps from his personal collection.

Gross is the founder of Pacific Investment Management Co., based in Newport Beach, Calif.


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