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Storm-battered South Koreans work to recover

By Wire services
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2003

SEOUL, South Korea - Soldiers and rescue workers fanned out across South Korea on Sunday after the worst typhoon in a century caused widespread destruction and claimed at least 85 lives. Dozens of others were feared dead.

South Korea set aside more than $1-billion for recovery from Typhoon Maemi, which roared into the country with 135 mph winds Friday night, wreaking havoc before dissipating in the Sea of Japan early Sunday.

Maemi was so intense that shipping containers were lifted in the air, gigantic cranes toppled and even an evacuated cruise ship tipped over in Busan, South Korea's main port. An offshore storage facility for Exxon Mobil Corp. plowed into an oil tanker being built by Hyundai Mipo Dockyard for a German company. Both were damaged.

The typhoon also triggered landslides that derailed a train, uprooted trees and downed power lines. Some 110,000 households were still without electricity Sunday. At least 82 moored fishing boats and other vessels were destroyed.

The government's antidisaster center said 85 people were confirmed killed and 30 others missing and feared dead.

Maemi - Korean for "cicada" - was the most powerful typhoon ever to hit South Korea since weather officials began keeping records in 1904.

Yemeni court sentences Islamic extremist to death

SANA, Yemen - A Yemen court sentenced a Muslim extremist to death Sunday for assassinating a key politician and planning attacks against three American missionaries, who were slain last year.

The sentencing immediately followed Ali al-Jarallah's conviction in the Dec. 28, 2002, death of Yemeni Socialist Party deputy secretary-general Jarallah Omar during an Islamic political conference.

Al-Jarallah was also convicted of coordinating the murders, two days later, of the three Americans at a Southern Baptist missionary hospital in Jibla, southern Yemen, and of forming a terror cell to kill local officials and foreigners.

The court also sentenced six convicted accomplices of al-Jarallah in the Omar murder to three to 10 years in prison. Seven other alleged militants were acquitted.

Al-Jarallah, dressed in a blue prison uniform and sitting handcuffed behind bars, appeared composed upon hearing the verdict. He and the six others sentenced to prison terms said they would appeal.

Attackers destroy Afghan police station near border

KABUL, Afghanistan - Suspected Taliban rebels raided and set ablaze a police station in southeastern Afghanistan near the border with Pakistan, but there were no injuries, a provincial police commander said Sunday.

More than 15 heavily armed attackers riding motorcycles raided a compound housing the station and district offices in Jani Khel in Paktika province early Saturday. Police briefly traded gunfire but were forced to retreat after running out of ammunition, provincial police chief Doulat Khan said.

"The Taliban also retreated after burning down a part of the compound," Khan said.

Saudi Arabia beheads marijuana smuggler

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - A Saudi drug trafficker was beheaded Sunday, a Ministry of Interior statement said.

Dhaher bin Thamer al-Shimry was convicted of smuggling marijuana into the kingdom, the statement said.

Al-Shimry was beheaded in the eastern province of Hafr al-Baten, bringing the number of beheadings in the kingdom this year to 41, most of them drug traffickers. At least 49 people were beheaded last year.

This conservative country follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which people convicted of drug trafficking, murder, rape and armed robbery are executed. Beheadings are carried out with a sword in public.

Army stages coup in Africa's Guinea-Bissau

LISBON, Portugal - Soldiers ousted the president of the West African nation of Guinea-Bissau on Sunday, taking advantage of widespread discontent with his rule to seize power in a bloodless coup.

The army chief of staff, Gen. Verissimo Correia Seabre, declared himself in charge of the country after the early-morning arrest of President Kumba Yala.

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