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Sept. 19, 2011 at 8:20 AM   |   Comments

Quake kills dozens in India, Nepal, Tibet

GANGTOK, India, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A 6.9-magnitude Himalayan earthquake killed dozens of people and injured more than 200 in northeastern India, Nepal and Tibet, authorities said.

Relief workers in the entire region mounted a massive rescue effort Monday despite being hampered by rain, landslides and poor infrastructure facilities,

The earthquake struck after 6 p.m. Sunday in India's northeastern Himalayan state of Sikkim, with an epicenter near the state capital of Gangtok at a depth of more than 12 miles.

The quake and aftershocks also struck the Himalayan republic of Nepal to the east and Tibet.

In Sikkim alone, Indian television channels reported the death toll had exceeded 20 by Monday with more than 200 injured and thousands of homes and the mountain roads damaged. Essential services were disrupted.

The total death toll in India and Nepal exceeded 40, the Times of India reported.

In Tibet, the quake had killed at least seven people and injured another 22, caused hundreds of landslides and disruted communications, power and water supplies in Yadong County, which is only 25 miles from Sikkim, China's Xinhua news agency reported

The death toll will rise," Angeli Qwantra, a disaster management expert in India told local network CNN-IBN.

Tremors were felt as far as the western Indian state of Maharashtra, the Indian capital New Delhi in the south and in neighboring Bangladesh.


GOP: Millionaire tax is 'class warfare'

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- A new millionaires' tax rate U.S. President Barack Obama is to propose Monday amounts to "class warfare" that will hurt the economy, several Republicans said.

"It adds further instability to our system, more uncertainty and it punishes job creation," House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said on "Fox News Sunday."

"Class warfare may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics," he said, adding Obama's plan "seeks to divide people."

Under Obama's proposal, people with taxable incomes of more than $1 million would pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers.

The proposal is part of a larger plan the White House said Obama would outline at 10:30 a.m. EDT that The Washington Post said would include $1.5 trillion in new taxes to save at least $3 trillion over 10 years.

Obama is expected to call the millionaires' tax proposal the "Buffett Rule," after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has repeatedly complained the richest Americans generally pay a smaller portion of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

Buffet also says rich people like him can afford to pay more.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, D-Ky., whose net worth is estimated at about $17 million, told the NBC News program "Meet the Press" there was "bipartisan opposition to what the president is recommending" because the plan would slow growth in difficult times.


Turkey expects to team with Egypt

ANKARA, Turkey, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The Arab world's new power axis will link Turkey and Egypt, Turkey's foreign minister said, predicting isolation for former allies Syria and Israel.

The teaming of two of the region's militarily strongest and most populous and influential countries "will not be an axis against any other country -- not Israel, not Iran, not any other country, but this will be an axis of democracy, real democracy," Ahmet Davutoglu told The New York Times before traveling to the United Nations.

"That will be an axis of democracy of the two biggest nations in our region, from the north to the south, from the Black Sea down to the Nile Valley in Sudan," he said.

"For the regional balance of power, we want to have a strong, very strong, Egypt," said Davutoglu, who has visited Cairo five times since President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown in February.

"Some people may think Egypt and Turkey are competing," he said. "No. This is our strategic decision. We want a strong Egypt now."

He predicted Turkey's $1.5 billion investment in Egypt would grow to $5 billion within two years. He said trade would increase to $5 billion from $3.5 billion by the end of 2012 and to $10 billion by 2015.

"For democracy, we need a strong economy," he told the newspaper.

Davutoglu also declared Israel solely responsible for the near-collapse in relations with Turkey, once an ally, and he accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of lying to him after Turkish officials offered Syria a "last chance" to maintain Turkish support by halting its brutal crackdown on dissent.


MLK daughter: Don't execute Troy Davis

ATLANTA, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- Martin Luther King Jr.'s daughter, Bernice King, wants Georgia authorities to grant convicted cop killer Troy Anthony Davis mercy and stop his death sentence.

The five-member Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles was to hold a last-ditch clemency hearing for Davis Monday.

Davis, 42, is set to die at 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday by lethal injection at Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison near Jackson.

He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991 for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail, a 27-year-old father of two young children.

Multiple witnesses, including jailhouse informants, testified Davis committed the crime. But years later, several witnesses recanted or altered their original testimony. Some said one of the witnesses was, in fact, the killer.

Some jurors for Davis' trial now say they would have changed their decision.

"I would never have sentenced Mr. Davis to death and I no longer believe, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Mr. Davis was the shooter," juror Brenda Forrest told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I feel, emphatically, that Mr. Davis cannot be executed under these circumstances."

But numerous state and federal courts upheld Davis' conviction and death sentence after reviewing the case. Repeated attempts to get a new trial failed.

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