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10/10/05 World News: Quake Toll Soars Past 20,000


Pakistan is making an urgent appeal for international assistance for victims of the Kashmir earthquake, as the death toll from the disaster soared past 20,000 today (Monday). President Pervez Musharraf says every resource Pakistan has is being used to relieve the suffering of those still alive in the earthquake zone, but his government needs more relief supplies, especially cargo and transport helicopters to bring aid and rescue teams to stricken towns and villages.

The United States says it will provide up to 50 million dollars to help relieve suffering in the Kashmir earthquake zone, and it also is dispatching helicopters and military cargo planes to help rescuers reach villages that survived the shock. Leaders around the world are stepping up aid efforts today (Monday), as the full extent of damage and casualties caused by the earthquake becomes evident.

Authorities in Indian Kashmir say thousands of people in Srinagar spent Sunday night outdoors in frigid conditions after warning from mosques that another earthquake was to hit the region. Police say the announcement shouted over loudspeakers panicked city residents who jumped out of their beds and ran into the streets.

German conservative leader Angela Merkel is expected to be named the country's new chancellor, ending a political stalemate following inconclusive parliamentary elections. German news reports say Ms. Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union reached an agreement today (Monday) with Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of the Social Democratic Party. An announcement has yet to be made as the leaders and their parties hold more talks.

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