January 31, 2011 in Nation/World

In brief: Islamist leader returns to Tunisia

 

TUNIS, Tunisia – The leader of a long-outlawed Tunisian Islamist party returned home Sunday after two decades in exile, telling the Associated Press in his first interview on arrival that his views are moderate and that his Westward- looking country has nothing to fear.

Rachid Ghanouchi and about 70 other exiled members of Ennahdha, or Renaissance, flew home from Britain two weeks after autocratic President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced from power by violent protests. At the airport, thousands of people welcomed him.

Ghanouchi rejected any comparison to more radical figures, including the hard-line father of the Iranian Revolution.

“Some Western media portray me like (Ayatollah Ruhollah) Khomeini, but that’s not me,” Ghanouchi told the Associated Press.

Fire, explosions rip arms depot

Maracay, Venezuela – A fire and a series of explosions tore through a military arms depot Sunday, killing one person and leading authorities to evacuate thousands of people.

About 10,000 residents fled their homes in areas up to several miles from the site as the burning ammunition produced powerful blasts, officials said. The cause of the pre-dawn fire was unclear.

Toll could rise in train crash

BERLIN – German authorities said Sunday that the death toll could still rise from a head-on collision between a cargo train and a passenger train that killed at least 10 people, injured 23 others and left wreckage scattered across a frost-covered field.

The trains crashed in heavy fog late Saturday on a single-line track near the eastern German village of Hordorf, vaulting the passenger train from the track and tipping it onto its side.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

Flash flood takes bus, truck; 30 die

LA PAZ, Bolivia – A raging river swept at least 30 people to their deaths after swamping a bus and a truck that tried to cross, police in Bolivia said Sunday.

Chuquisaca police chief Iver Marquez said volunteer rescuers have recovered 30 bodies so far, and more are feared missing. Thirteen people managed to reach safety.

Marquez said the vehicles became trapped in the muddy waters of the Molle Punku River on Friday night.

Cargo ship docks at space station

MOSCOW – Russian Mission Control says a cargo spacecraft docked at the International Space Station, delivering food, fuel, oxygen, scientific equipment and packages for the U.S.-Russian-Italian crew.

The unmanned Progress M-09M blasted off Friday from the Baikonur cosmodrome carrying more than 2.6 tons of supplies.

The RIA Novosti news agency said the cargo included birthday presents for commander Scott Kelly, who turns 47 on Feb. 21. The U.S. astronaut’s twin brother, also an astronaut, is married to Gabrielle Giffords, the congresswoman who survived being shot in the head.


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