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In brief: Tropical Storm Fernand flares up near Mexico

Mon., Aug. 26, 2013

VERACRUZ, Mexico – Tropical Storm Fernand brewed up just off Mexico’s gulf coast Sunday, and heavy rains and strong winds caused some power failures and street flooding in the colonial city of Veracruz. The storm was expected to move ashore before dawn today.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm had winds of at least 50 mph late Sunday. Fernand was about five miles north of Veracruz and moving westward at 9 mph.

The government of Veracruz state advised its 7.7 million residents to stay home, and Gov. Javier Duarte suspended classes in the whole state to protect children from venturing out into winds and rain.

Blackouts hit parts of Veracruz as skies turned gray and rain flooded major roads, causing cars to stall in the middle of the streets. Forecasters said the storm could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain over parts of several states as it came inland into central Mexico.

82 dead in battle between Congolese soldiers, rebels

GOMA, Congo – Congolese soldiers and rebel forces suffered heavy casualties Sunday as they fought for a fifth day near Goma in the country’s volatile east, a doctor near the front line said.

Dr. Isaac Warwanamiza said he had seen 82 dead since early Sunday, 23 of whom were government soldiers, the highest death toll reported since hostilities broke out last week.

Medical services were struggling to cope with the scale of the casualties among government troops and the M23 fighters who launched their rebellion last year, Warwanamiza said.

“I’m overwhelmed by what I’ve seen: bodies blown apart, arms and feet here and there,” he said.

Australian man killed after crocodile attack

DARWIN, Australia – A 16-foot crocodile snatched a 26-year-old swimmer in an Australian river as several people celebrating a friend’s birthday watched, police said.

The victim and another man crossed the Mary River and were swimming back when the crocodile attacked, Senior Sgt. Geoff Bahnert said.

“Several of the group in the party witnessed the male being taken in the jaws of the croc for a period of time, and then he was out of sight,” he said.

The group had been celebrating a friend’s 30th birthday Saturday at the Mary River Wilderness Retreat, an Outback tourist destination.

The victim was from Darwin, but his name was not released.

Alcohol may have played a part in the men’s decision to swim, he said.

Mugabe threatens firms held by foreigners

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Zimbabwe’s president has threatened to expel foreign-owned companies over what he says is the West’s interference in the politics of the country he has led since 1980.

In a speech before supporters gathered for the burial of a top military chief in Harare, President Robert Mugabe said Sunday he wanted no “ideas from London or Washington.” He warned the countries that although his government hasn’t “done anything to your companies, time will come when we will say tit for tat.” The West has pushed for democratic reform in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe was sworn in Thursday for another five-year term at age 89.


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