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The world in brief

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 18, 2000


Train crash in Britain kills four

LONDON -- A high-speed intercity train carrying more than 100 passengers derailed north of London on Tuesday, killing four people and injuring 34.

Authorities launched a criminal investigation but ruled out the possibility of a terrorist bomb.

The train had been heading from London to Leeds, in northern England, when it came off the rails near Hatfield, 18 miles north of London.

Great North Eastern Railway, the train's operator, said the cause of the crash was not immediately known. There were no reports of the train striking anything.

Hurricane Michael forms but poses little threat

MIAMI -- The fast-growing tropical system Michael was upgraded to a hurricane Tuesday, with top sustained winds of 75 mph. It was in the western Atlantic Ocean and posed only a minor threat to Bermuda.

Number of Ebola cases in Uganda swells to 81

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Another 10 cases of the deadly Ebola virus were diagnosed in Uganda on Tuesday, bringing to 81 the number of recently reported infections. Schools were closed and a ban was issued on traditional funerals in areas afflicted by the disease.

At least 37 people are confirmed dead from the virus in Uganda's northern Gulu district. In all, three northern districts have been placed under quarantine, and local authorities have vowed to use force to prevent people from leaving the region.

The ban on traditional funerals was introduced because authorities suspect the ritual cleansing of the dead has contributed to the spread of the disease.

Calls grow for Philippine president to step down

MANILA, Philippines -- President Joseph Estrada faced the most serious threat to his presidency Tuesday as onetime allies delivered a unified message: Step aside.

Estrada again maintained he was innocent of corruption, denying he received "even a centavo" of the $11.4-million in illegal gambling money and tobacco taxes he is accused of pocketing.

"I have been convicted without a trial," the president complained.

The accusations already have had a devastating effect on the Philippine economy. The peso plunged to a record low and the stock market dropped to its lowest point in two years Monday.

Opposition lawmakers plan to file a formal impeachment proceedings today in the House of Representatives.

Elsewhere

CHESS MATCH: Chess champion Garry Kasparov displayed tenacious defense in a lost position to pull off a draw against challenger Vladimir Kramnik in game six of the world chess championship Tuesday in London. Kramnik still leads the 16-game match, 3 1/2-2 1/2. Gave seven is Thursday.

SMUGGLING ARRESTS: U.S. immigration officers working with counterparts in Mexico and five Central American nations have arrested 38 alien smugglers, including an alleged kingpin, and detained 3,500 of their clients before they got to the United States.

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