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SEVERE WEATHER KILLS FOUR IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS



Published: Tue, October 17, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Severe weather kills fourin Southeast Texas

HOUSTON -- Heavy thunderstorms brought torrential rains, flooding and tornadoes to Southeast Texas on Monday, killing four people, ripping roofs off mobile homes and trapping rush-hour drivers on flooded, tangled freeways. A Houston mother and daughter were found dead in a sport utility vehicle in floodwaters at least 8 feet deep in Houston, apparently of drowning, the Harris County Medical Examiners Office said. Houston Police Sgt. P.E. Ogden III said the floodwaters exert such pressure on submerged cars, "Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't get out." Two people died in Brazoria County. One person was found dead in a submerged vehicle and a 54-year-old woman died in a two-vehicle collision on a rain-slicked highway. No other information was immediately available about the deaths.

Allegations unrelatedto Foley discussed

WASHINGTON -- Allegations of improper conduct toward House pages, which do not involve ex-Rep. Mark Foley, were discussed Monday by the board overseeing the program, a Democratic lawmaker said. Rep. Dale Kildee, D-Mich., the only Democrat on the House Page Board, would not elaborate on whether the discussion involved lawmakers. He said, however, that none of the allegations discussed have been proven. Kildee commented after he testified before the House ethics committee on the Foley matter. He said the House Page Board held the discussions in a conference call. "It was about other allegations, and I'd like to leave it at that," he said. "Let me just say, not about Mr. Foley. It's only been allegations." The page board consists of three House members and two House officers, the clerk and sergeant at arms. Kildee has said previously, and repeated again after his testimony, that he was not informed about Foley's e-mails and instant messages to former male pages until the scandal became public in late September.

Cargo ships collide

NEW ORLEANS -- A cargo ship heading down the Mississippi River struck another vessel anchored near New Orleans on Monday, knocking a huge gash in the anchored vessel. The anchored ship was listing, but the hole was above the water line, and the vessel was not believed to be taking on water, said Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Veronica Bandrowsky. No injuries were reported. The vessels were the 712-foot Greek freighter Zagora, which was heading down river at the Kenner Bend area west of New Orleans, and the 737-foot Panamanian freighter Torm Anholt, which was at anchor at the time of the collision. The Torm Anholt had a 12-foot-wide, 6-foot-long gash in its right side 6 to 9 feet above the water line. The ship listed after being struck, but the tilt may have been due to a loss of ballast, the Coast Guard said.

Ford leaves hospital

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Former President Gerald R. Ford returned to his Southern California desert home Monday after five days of hospitalization for medical tests, his spokeswoman said Monday. Ford, 93, who was admitted Oct. 12 to Eisenhower Medical Center, returned to his Thunderbird Estates compound about a mile away, chief of staff Penny Circle said. She did not disclose the nature of the tests. "President Ford, Mrs. Ford and the Ford family wish to thank everyone for their prayers and good wishes," she wrote in a statement. Ford underwent heart procedures in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He received a cardiac pacemaker to regulate his heartbeat and underwent angioplasty, with stents in two of his coronary arteries to increase blood flow.

Guatemala and Venezueladeadlocked in race for seat

UNITED NATIONS -- Venezuela and Guatemala hit a deadlock Monday in their battle for a seat on the powerful U.N. Security Council, after 10 rounds of voting failed to anoint a winner to fill the spot reserved for Latin America. Guatemala led in nine of the 10 ballots, but could not get the two-thirds majority necessary to win. Nonetheless, the results were a defeat for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who had campaigned by railing against the United States and promised to use his nation's voice on the 15-member council to counter Washington's influence. The other four seats that will come open on the council were filled easily. South Africa, Indonesia, Italy and Belgium will start their terms on the council Jan. 1, replacing Tanzania, Japan, Denmark and Greece. Neither Venezuela nor Guatemala appeared willing to drop out of the election, which resumes today with another round of balloting. Venezuela's U.N. Ambassador Francisco Arias Cardenas complained that the United States has pressured countries worldwide to prevent Venezuela from winning the two-year rotating seat.

Associated Press




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