France avalanche kills 9, injures 12
CHAMONIX, France – They set out before dawn, hoping to conquer a mountaineering classic: Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak. But below the summit, a climber is believed to have accidentally caused a slab of ice to snap off, triggering an avalanche Thursday that swept nine climbers to their deaths and injured a dozen others.
As the sheet of snow and ice thundered down the steep slope, several other climbers managed to turn away from the slide in time, regional authorities in Haute-Savoie said.
Two climbers were rescued as emergency crews using dogs and helicopters scoured the churned-up, high-altitude area in a frantic search for the missing. Three Britons, three Germans, two Spaniards and one Swiss climber were among the dead.
Massacre in Syria kills 100, activists say
BEIRUT – Syrian activists reported a new massacre late Thursday in the central Hama province, saying regime forces killed more than 100 people in shelling and other attacks.
There were few details on the attack, which was reported by the Local Coordination Committees activist group and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
New Arafat medical file released in death probe
RAMALLAH, West Bank – Medical files released for the first time Thursday portray Yasser Arafat as a robust 75-year-old whose sudden health crisis, a month before his mysterious 2004 death, was initially blamed on viral gastroenteritis.
The treatment notes by Arafat’s Arab doctors who cared for him at his West Bank compound before he was airlifted to France are part of a renewed push to find out what killed the Palestinian leader.
For years, little was heard about official Palestinian efforts to uncover Arafat’s cause of death. An investigation by the Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera, in collaboration with Arafat’s widow, Suha, has put new pressure on Arafat’s successor, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to be seen as vigorously searching for the truth.