As workers raced to save contaminated animals and birds, authorities arrested the captain of a leaking tanker that ran aground near the Galapagos Islands, renowned for their unique wildlife. Officials claimed the Jessica, carrying 700,000 litres of diesel fuel, ran aground after Capt. Tarquino Arevalo mistook a signal buoy for a lighthouse.
Fiery death in Beijing
In a suicide attempt that left one man dead, five Falun Gong followers doused themselves with gasoline and set themselves ablaze in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Sect members have been defying a government ban on Falun Gong, which has attracted millions of followers with a mix of meditation and exercise.
In search of immortality
Nearly 70 million Hindu worshippers travelled to the northern Indian city of Allahabad to swim in the Ganges as part of the six-week-long Maha Kumbh Mela, or Great Pitcher Festival. The faithful believe bathing in the river will give them immortality.
A catastrophic earthquake in India
Crowds gathered outside a collapsed building in Ahmedabad, India, after the country was rocked by the most powerful earthquake to hit the region in half a century. At least 15,000 people were feared killed and thousands more injured. The quake also claimed lives in neighbouring Pakistan.
Following his father to power
Joseph Kabila, 31, was sworn in as president of Congo 10 days after his president father, Laurent, was gunned down by a bodyguard. Kabila pledged to unite the civil war-ravaged country.
Legal quagmire for twins
Aaron Wecker, the biological father of twin daughters adopted twice via the Internet, was awarded temporary custody by a St. Louis judge, on the same day a British court ruled the girls should remain in England. Born in St. Louis in June, they were adopted by a California couple, who paid $9,025. But the mother, Tranda Wecker, reclaimed the twins and sold them to a British couple for $18,050.
Nigerian girl lashed
Despite international protests, a Nigerian girl guilty of having premarital sex was publicly flogged. Bariya Magazu, 17, received 100 lashes by cane, but said her father forced her to have sex with the man who impregnated her.
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