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Hope Fades for Buried Indonesian Quake Victims



INDONESIA-EARTHQUAKE: Rescuers digging through the rubble of the shattered Indonesian city of Padang said Sunday there is little hope of finding more survivors of a massive earthquake that officials say may have buried at least 3,000 people. Rescue teams in and around Padang, a city of 900,000, have been searching for survivors in collapsed buildings, but are increasingly retrieving only bodies. In rural areas outside Padang, some villages have been wiped out by landslides triggered by the earthquake. Officials say more than 600 people have been buried in the landslides. The United Nations says the death toll is at least 1,100 from the 7.6-magnitude undersea quake, which hit Wednesday off Indonesia's Sumatra island.

ASIA STORM: Officials in the Philippines say at least 15 people have been killed by a powerful typhoon that hit the northern province of Cagayan with wind and heavy rain. A provincial police director (Loreto Espinili) said Sunday that 12 people died in two landslides Saturday in the province of Benguet. That figure is in addition to three casualties reported earlier by other authorities.
Typhoon Parma (known locally as Pepeng), with gusts of about 200 kilometers per hour, made landfall in the Philippines Saturday, tearing roofs off buildings, toppling trees and cutting power lines. Flooding in Manila was averted when the storm veered to the north, sparing millions of people. A deadly storm just a week ago caused the worst flooding in the capital city in decades.

NOKOR-CHINA: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang Sunday on the first day of a highly anticipated state visit. China's official Xinhua news agency said Mr. Kim made a rare appearance earlier in the day to greet Mr. Wen at Pyongyang's airport. Xinhua said the two met Sunday afternoon, but gave no details about the talks. Mr. Wen's three-day visit comes amid signs the North may be willing to restart dialogue about its nuclear program, following months of resistance.
Mr. Kim has expressed a willingness to engage in bilateral and multilateral talks, although it is not clear if that indicates a willingness to rejoin six-nation talks with China, Russia, South Korea, Japan and the United States.

AFGHANISTAN: The U.S. military says attacks by Afghan militants in eastern Afghanistan near the Pakistan border have killed eight U.S. and two Afghan soldiers.The Taliban has claimed responsibility. The commander of the coalition forces, Colonel Randy George, said Saturday's strike was in his words "a complex attack in a difficult area" and that the U.S. and Afghan soldiers "fought bravely together." The coalition forces say they will continue with previously announced plans to leave the remote region, which are part of a broader realignment plan designed to protect areas with larger populations.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS: Israeli security forces have clashed with Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem after authorities blocked the gates to one of the region;s holiest sites. Police denied entry Sunday to what Israelis call the Temple Mount and Muslims refer as the Noble Sanctuary. Palestinian officials say Israeli police fired tear gas as protesters hurled stones at officers.

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