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2 survivors pulled from quake rubble

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Gunung Sitoli, Indonesia

Aid workers rushed food to quake-stricken Nias island today and tried to restore running water while survivors complained of hunger after the region’s latest big earthquake, which killed an estimated 1,000 people.

Workers dug for five hours before pulling a 13-year-old girl from the rubble early today. The girl, who only suffered scratches on her foot, had been trapped for 52 hours, said Indonesian Red Cross official Herri Ansyah.

The main Nias town of Gunung Sitoli remained without power and running water, as islanders and aid workers continued their frantic search through destroyed buildings for survivors, bodies and belongings as aftershocks barraged the area.

French firefighters on Wednesday freed a man who had been trapped for 36 hours in a destroyed three-story house in Gunung Sitoli.

Small Renoir painting disappears in Paris

Paris A small painting by French Impressionist Auguste Renoir has disappeared from the offices of a Paris auctioneer, and police said Wednesday they suspect it was stolen.

The painting “Tete de Fillette,” or “Head of a Little Girl,” mysteriously disappeared in recent days from Tajan auction house in central Paris, police said.

The oil-on-canvas work, which measures 8 inches by 6 inches, was displayed in a showroom window before an upcoming auction, and there were no signs of a break-in, police said.

The painting is said to be worth more than $250,000, police said.

Ex-POW’s postcard arrives 60 years late

Prague, Czech Republic A retired man in the Czech Republic said Wednesday he had just received a postcard he sent his parents in 1945 when he was a prisoner of war in France.

Karel Brozda, 79, sent the postcard from a U.S. camp at an unspecified location in France on April 5, 1945, he told the Associated Press from hometown of Cesky Tesin on the Czech-Polish border.

“Of course, I was surprised when it arrived,” he said. “Who knows where it was for 60 years, but what can I do about it?” Brozda said, adding his parents died 40 years ago.

He said the postcard, addressed to his father Jan, was delivered to his brother’s family in Poland from Germany in February and they forwarded it to him.

Brozda, who is of Polish origin, was forced to join Germany’s troops occupying Czechoslovakia in 1944. He was dispatched to France and later to Germany. In March 1945, he abandoned his unit and was taken prisoner by U.S. troops.

Australians answer call to procreate

Canberra, Australia Australia’s government said that having babies is a patriotic duty and promised to pay accordingly – and its citizens appear to have answered the call.

The 133,400 babies born in the six months ending in September were the most in a half-year period in 14 years, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The government – responding to a falling birth rate, looming labor market shortage and shrinking tax base – had offered to give mothers $2,319 for each baby born after July 1 last year.

In announcing the payments in May 2004, Treasurer Peter Costello told the country: “You go home and do your patriotic duty tonight.”

The father of three suggested that two children per couple was not enough to combat the effects of an aging population: “You should have … one for your husband, one for your wife, and one for your country.”

Economic analyst Craig James attributed the boom to low unemployment and an increasingly affluent society.

“I think it reflects the fact that income levels have been rising and unemployment’s fallen to 28-year lows,” James said. “So couples are more financially secure and therefore more confident about starting a family.”

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