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Four Israeli rock climbers killed in flood

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 13, 2007


JERUSALEM - Four Israeli rock climbers were killed Saturday in flash floods that ripped through canyons around the Dead Sea, rescue services said. The national ambulance service said the victims were three men and a woman in their 20s who had been in a group of 11 in the area, a rocky region of deep ravines, caves and lofty crags. The others were rescued, local media reported. The Dead Sea, the world's lowest point at about 1, 400 feet below sea level, is surrounded by desert and generally arid cliffs. In spring, however, rain falling miles away in Jerusalem and neighboring hills can come rushing down the steep descents, causing sudden and violent torrents in otherwise dry spots.

 

Severed head is gangs' warning

VERACRUZ, MEXICO - A severed head reportedly accompanied by a note of defiance from organized crime gangs was found outside a military barracks in Veracruz state on Saturday. The head was found in a box outside the army base in Veracruz city, just hours after the government announced it was sending troops to respond to a shooting attack. The box also held a message saying gangs would continue operating despite the presence of troops, Mexico's Reforma newspaper reported. The victim's body was found shortly afterward on a street in another neighborhood.

 

Soldier killed by deserters honored

HAVANA - Cuba awarded a posthumous medal to a soldier killed by conscripts who fled their base and later tried to hijack a plane to leave the island, an incident the government blamed on Washington's policies. The soldier, Yoendris Gutierrez Hernandez, was on guard duty at a military base on April 29. Three deserters bayoneted him to death with stolen rifles after he refused to surrender his weapon, the Communist Party newspaper Granma reported Saturday. Acting President Raul Castro, also the island's defense minister, saluted the soldier's bravery.

 

Elsewhere

Swiss investigate British company: Swiss prosecutors have begun an investigation into corruption allegations surrounding arms deals by the British aerospace company BAE Systems PLC. Jeannette Balmer, a spokeswoman for the Swiss federal prosecutor's office, told the Associated Press late Friday that a criminal investigation was under way into suspicions of money laundering.

Monitor installed on volcano: Researchers have installed a seismometer atop an active volcano called Kick 'em Jenny under the Caribbean Sea to warn of eruptions or earthquake activity, scientists said Saturday. The volcano is located about 820 feet beneath the sea's surface off Grenada's northwest coast.

Russia's gas pipeline: Russian President Vladimir Putin brokered an agreement on Saturday with two Central Asian countries, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, to build a new gas pipeline to Russia, delivering a major setback to American efforts to send Central Asian natural gas exports directly to Europe.

Cargo ship launched: An unmanned Russian cargo ship carrying 2.5 tons of supplies, equipment and gifts blasted off Saturday en route to the international space station. The Progress M-60 lifted off at 7:25 a.m. from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Russia's Federal Space Agency said.