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Indonesia landslide death toll rises to 19

by Staff Writers
Jakarta (AFP) May 7, 2008
The death toll from a landslide in Indonesia's eastern province of Papua rose to 19 on Wednesday as bad weather forced a halt to the search for survivors, miners involved in the rescue effort said.

A spokesman for Freeport Indonesia, which operates a nearby mine, said it was unclear how many people had been buried when a cliff slid down on an illegal mining operation late Monday.

"As of this afternoon when we had to halt the search efforts because of the bad weather, a total of 19 bodies had been found," spokesman Mindo Pangaribuan told AFP.

Pangaribuan said the victims were all illegal gold panners working on tailings from the Freeport mine but were not inside Freeport's concession area as claimed earlier by police.

The landslide took place late on Monday evening in an area about 3,000 metres (9,900 feet) above sea level which is continuously shrouded by mist.

Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of US mining giant Freeport-McMoRan, said its operations had not been affected by the landslide.

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Rice says Myanmar crisis 'not a matter of politics'
Washington (AFP) May 7, 2008
US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice on Wednesday urged cyclone-hit Myanmar to admit international disaster relief, saying it was a humanitarian crisis rather than a political issue.

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