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Two students killed by tornado in Maryland



Published: Tue, September 25, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Two students killedby tornado in Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Emergency officials were trying to determine the extent of the damage from tornadoes that tore through suburban Washington, killing two University of Maryland students and injuring at least 50 people.

"There is immense destruction throughout this campus," fire spokesman Mark Brady said.

Several buildings were reported damaged by the tornadoes. Roughly 16,000 residents in the area lost power, Potomac Electric Power Co. officials said.

The two students died when their car overturned outside a dormitory, Brady said. Their names were not immediately released.

One of the two twisters touched down at 5:20 p.m. Monday in Prince George's County, and the National Weather Service said a second one touched down in the area about 10 minutes later.

The university canceled classes today.

The tornado was part of a storm system that stretched along the entire Interstate 95 corridor between Baltimore and Washington.

Armenian leaders greetpope at start of visit

YEREVAN, Armenia -- Pope John Paul II arrived today in the capital of Armenia for a three-day visit that is part of his first trip abroad since the terrorist attacks in the United States.

The pontiff's plane landed at Yerevan's Zvartnots airport from Astana, the capital of Kazakstan, where he had spent four days.

The 81-year-old pontiff, who retains an active travel regime despite declining health, was stooped as he exited the Air Kazakstan jet on a sunny day with the temperature around 72 degrees. An aide several times pushed back a part of the pope's white garments that was blowing around his head in a brisk breeze.

He was met on the airport tarmac by President Robert Kocharian and the leader of the Armenian Apostolic Church, Catholicos Karekin II. The three went to a small covered podium framed by the airport terminal, made of pocked and rain-stained concrete like many of the structures in this impoverished former Soviet republic.

After statements by the three men, the Pope was to drive to Echmiadzin, about eight miles away, where the Armenian Apostolic Church has its seat. The rest of the day's visit was to be private.

Israeli-Palestinian talksmove to top of agenda

JERUSALEM -- Prospects for Israeli-Palestinian truce talks brightened today as a trip by Yasser Arafat to Syria was called off at the last minute, freeing time for a possible meeting between the Palestinian leader and Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres.

No date for a Peres-Arafat meeting was set, but a U.S. State Department official said the United States is looking into the new possibilities that opened with Syria's cancellation of the Arafat visit to Damascus.

The United States has been pushing for a Peres-Arafat meeting at the earliest possible opportunity. Washington believes that quelling Israeli-Palestinian violence is essential to its efforts to gain support in the Islamic world for a united offensive against terrorism in response to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington.

Peres has come under attack from Israeli hard-liners who argue that Arafat cannot be trusted. Peres said Israel cannot be seen as defying U.S. wishes.

"The president of the United States calls the prime minister of Israel and puts extraordinary pressure on him, asking that the meeting take place," Peres told Israel Radio, describing U.S. pressure on Israel to agree to the meeting with Arafat. "Secretary of State Colin Powell calls three times a day to ask for the meeting."

Death toll rises

PORT ISABEL, Texas -- Rescue workers have retrieved what officials believe are the last victims of a recent bridge collapse, bringing the death toll to eight.

Two bodies were pulled from the water on Monday and one was recovered Sunday, more than a week after four barges and a tugboat slammed into the Queen Isabella Causeway, triggering the collapse.

A couple was retrieved from a Ford sport utility vehicle removed from the water in two sections. The victims were identified as Barry Welch, 53, and his wife Chealsa Welch, 23.

The identity of the other victim was being withheld until relatives could be notified, DPS spokesman Adrian Rivera said.

Repairs to the 2.37-mile-long bridge -- the only vehicular link between the mainland and South Padre Island -- could take four months and cost $5 million.

Gov. Rick Perry asked the federal Small Business Administration on Monday to activate the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program for businesses affected by the Sept. 15 collapse.

Associated Press




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