Nine are killed in fireat clinic for mentally ill

Published December 11, 2006

Nine patients of a clinic for the mentally ill in Siberia died in a fire Sunday, a day after a blaze at a Moscow drug treatment center killed 45, officials said. The fire in the psychiatric hospital in the town of Taiga in central Siberia, about 2,200 miles east of Moscow, began shortly after midnight. About 200 other patients escaped unhurt and 15 were hospitalized, said Valery Korchagin, a spokesman for the regional branch of Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry. Korchagin said that hospital officials tried to extinguish the blaze on their own and were slow to report it to officials. "They only reported it 1 1/2 hours after the fire started," he told the Associated Press by telephone. The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, he said. Russia records about 18,000 fire deaths a year.

Gulf states to study nuclear program

The oil-rich Arab states on the Persian Gulf said Sunday that they will consider starting a joint nuclear program for peaceful purposes. Issued after a two-day meeting of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, their statement said the group "commissioned a study" on setting up "a common program in the area of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes," which would abide by international standards and laws. The statement did not elaborate on the plan by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, was quick to tell reporters after the closing session that the group did not want to be "misunderstood," saying its aim "is to obtain the technology for peaceful purposes, no more no less."

Human Rights Day march is broken up

Dozens of government supporters broke up a silent march by fewer than a dozen dissidents marking International Human Rights Day on Sunday, roughing up participants and accusing them of being mercenaries of the U.S. government. The demonstration was interrupted as soon as it began by men who surrounded and pushed protesters. A second opposition march by wives of political prisoners took place without incident.

Typhoon kills four, displaces 90,000

Typhoon Utor lashed the central and eastern Philippines on Sunday, killing four people, including two toddlers, and forcing more than 90,000 to evacuate, officials said. About 80,000 of the evacuees came from eastern Albay province, which was devastated last week by mud slides caused by another typhoon, the National Disaster Coordinating Council said.