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Death toll nearly 150 in two-day crackdown

BEIRUT (AP) -- Security forces pursuing anti-government activists and army defectors shot at least 47 people to death in Syria on Tuesday, pushing the toll for two days of violence to nearly 150, even as the regime prepared to allow the entry of foreign monitors under an Arab League plan aimed at stopping the bloodshed.

Syrian state television showed pictures of military maneuvers and said they were meant to show that government forces are ready to "repulse any aggression the enemies of our nations might think about."

Activist groups said that about 100 people were killed Monday, the same day Syria agreed to the monitors after weeks of stalling. About 70 of the dead were said to be army defectors. The groups said that Tuesday's toll was at least 47 and possibly as high as 62.

The opposition is skeptical that the agreement to allow the monitors in Syria is anything other than stalling for time as international pressure on President Bashar Assad grows.

The United Nations says the crackdown has killed at least 5,000 people since March.



1,002 confirmed dead from flash flooding

ILIGAN, Philippines (AP) -- The official death toll from last week's massive flash flooding in two southern Philippine cities has topped 1,000 and is set to climb further as authorities continue finding more bodies.

The head of the Civil Defense Office, Benito Ramos, released the latest figures Wednesday, showing a total of 1,002 confirmed dead, including 650 in Cagayan de Oro and an additional 283 in nearby Iligan city. The rest came from several other southern and central provinces.

A tropical storm swept through the area Friday night and unleashed flash floods in the middle of the night that caught most of the victims in their sleep.

President Benigno Aquino III has declared a state of national calamity. He said the declaration will help local authorities gain quick access to recovery funds and keep prices of basic goods stable.

Authorities and grieving relatives have begun burying the dead. "We have to give the dead a decent burial," Iligan Mayor Lawrence Cruz said. He said authorities were using part of the cemetery's passageway to build tombs.



More residents revolt against development

SHENZHEN, China -- Residents revolted Tuesday against development plans in yet another town in Guangdong province, redoubling the challenge to the Communist Party in China's most affluent and open-minded region.

The newest uprising involved up to 30,000 people protesting plans for a coal-fired power plant in the seaside town of Haimen. Residents stormed local government offices and blocked a busy highway that runs from the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen to Shantou.

Although organizers denied that there was any copycat effect from protests in Wukan, the village 70 miles away where residents booted out the local government two weeks ago, the similarities were striking enough to be unnerving a Chinese government that values stability above all.

Protesters say that riot police reacted harshly to the Haimen uprising, beating protesters and firing tear gas into the crowd. There were unconfirmed reports that a 15-year-old boy had been killed and that dozens of other people were badly beaten.

-- Los Angeles Times

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