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DISASTER MANAGEMENT
16 dead in China as bus slides off bridge
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 5, 2012


At least 16 people were killed after an overloaded bus veered off an icy highway bridge in China's southwestern Guizhou province on Wednesday, state media reported.

The 50-seat tourist bus packed with 56 people fell off the bridge and plunged into a valley on Wednesday afternoon, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The injured were rushed to a local hospital and an investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched.

The accident happened while the bus was travelling on an icy patch of the Lanzhou-Haikou expressway, it said.

The fatal crash was the latest on China's notoriously dangerous roads, where drivers often flout traffic safety laws.

In December, 15 primary school children died when the bus they were travelling in rolled into a river. That incident followed the deaths of 19 children in the previous month in an overcrowded, nine-seater bus.

Almost 70,000 people died in road accidents in China in 2010 -- around 190 fatalities a day -- according to police statistics.

China overtook the United States in 2009 to become the world's largest auto market.

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Mild Polish winter sees paradoxical spike in road deaths
Warsaw (AFP) Jan 4, 2012 - An unusually mild winter has seen a paradoxical spike in traffic deaths in Poland with motorists driving faster than usual in the absence of ice and snow, police said Wednesday.

National police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski told AFP 4,142 people died in road accidents last year against 3,907 in 2010, a six percent increase.

"From January to November, there was a decline, but December was particularly mild and people were driving faster than normal," he said.

Last December saw 430 people dying in road accidents, compared to 173 people the previous year, according to police statistics.

Higher speed limits also came into force in Poland in 2011 raising the maximum speed on highways to 140 kilometres (86 miles) per hour from 130 kilometres.



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Philippines flood victims, children want schools
Cagayan De Oro, Philippines (AFP) Jan 4, 2012
Flood evacuees and pupils competed for space in southern Philippine schools Wednesday, with both wanting to use the buildings following the Christmas break, officials said. In some cases, survivors of last month's floods from Tropical Storm Washi were moved to alternative shelters as children returned to schoolhouses that had been used as evacuation centres. But in other instances, hundr ... read more


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