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FOREIGN DIGEST

Health officials doubt outbreak of SARS in British Columbia

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - It looks like SARS and acts like a milder version of the disease that has killed 44 people in Canada, but officials doubt the respiratory illness that swept through a British Columbia nursing home is severe acute respiratory syndrome.

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Nearly 150 residents and staff members at Kinsmen Place Lodge in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb, fell ill in recent weeks with sniffles and other symptoms much less severe than the headaches and pneumonia associated with SARS. Most have completely recovered, but six of the residents died of pneumonia-related illness. The latest death, reported Tuesday, was an elderly woman who had typical pneumonia symptoms rather than the distinct pneumonia symptoms of SARS.

Canada's largest city, Toronto, was the epicenter of the biggest SARS outbreak outside of Asia, with almost 250 people sickened and 44 of them dying this year.

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150 bodies exhumed so far from mass grave in Bosnia

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina - Forensic experts have exhumed the remains of 150 war victims from Bosnia's largest-known mass grave - and expect to find hundreds more, officials said yesterday.

The mass grave site, about the size of a tennis court, was opened last month on Crni Vrh hill, near the border with Serbia about 50 miles northeast of the capital of Sarajevo.

Judging by documents and clothing found in the grave so far, the remains are believed to be those of Muslims killed by Bosnian Serb soldiers in and around the eastern town of Zvornik between April and June 1992. Most were civilians. Some of the victims were reburied in the mass grave after being unearthed from elsewhere, including three mass graves in nearby Zvornik, said Murat Hurtic, head of a local branch of the Muslim Commission for Missing Persons.

U.S. to help Pakistan with anti-terrorism force

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan is putting together an anti-terrorism force with aid from the United States, which will help train the recruits, the Interior Ministry said yesterday.

A key U.S. ally in the war on terror, Pakistan has been criticized by neighbor Afghanistan for not doing enough to combat fugitive Taliban and al-Qaida members who fled across the border from Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Pakistan has arrested nearly 500 suspected al-Qaida and Taliban members. The new anti-terrorism force will begin with 50 men, Interior Ministry spokesman Iftikhar Ahmed said. He did not know how large the force would eventually be.

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German police say suspect threatened water supply

EINBECK, Germany - Police in this western town arrested a 32-year-old man they say threatened to poison the town's water supply with 110 pounds of cyanide, prosecutors said.

They said the poison was found in the basement of the man's home after authorities traced two letters sent to them this year.

They said that the cyanide was ordered from a local delivery company under false pretenses and that the man planned the attack on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.


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