Five soldiers killed, 10 people injured in India landmine explosion
SRINAGAR, India - Islamic guerrillas killed five soldiers and wounded another 10 people, including five civilians, in two separate land mine explosions in the troubled Jammu-Kashmir state yesterday, police said.
A powerful land mine blast ripped through two army vehicles near Angralla, 185 miles south of Srinagar, the state's summer capital. One of the vehicles fell into a gorge, killing five soldiers and seriously injuring one, police said.
In Srinagar, a land mine blew up near a residential neighborhood. Four soldiers patrolling the area and five residents were wounded, an official said, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
Also yesterday, police said they killed six rebels in separate shootouts in different parts of the state. Three security men were also killed in the clashes.
The Pakistan-based Hezb-ul Mujahedeen group claimed responsibility for the attack near Angralla.
Saleem Hashmi, the group's spokesman, claimed the blast had killed nine soldiers.
Hashmi's organization is among more than a dozen separatist groups in the northern Indian state. Rebels are fighting for an independent Kashmir or for the predominantly Muslim region to join Islamic Pakistan, India's western neighbor.
Human rights estimate 60,000 people have been killed since the insurgency erupted 12 years ago.
Committee recommends renewed emphasis in fight against cancer
WASHINGTON - An advisory committee formed to revitalize the fight against cancer recommends a national cancer screening initiative, state action plans and increased spending.
"We urgently need a national initiative to ensure that people are aware of and have access to early detection tools," the National Cancer Legislation Advisory Committee said in a report released today.
Regular mammograms, colorectal screening and other tests can catch cancer early when it is more easily treatable, the committee said.
The committee was formed in 1999 to develop a report outlining steps the government can take to battle cancer.
Many of the wide-ranging proposals recommend additional federal money, including more funds for the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science.
The group also urged the creation of training and education programs to increase the number of biomedical researchers and health care professionals.
Other recommendations included streamlining the Food and Drug Administration's approval system for cancer drugs and technologies, encouraging federal agencies to develop partnerships with private firms doing cancer research and providing adequate health care insurance for those who lack it.
The document also elaborated on plans for developing a network of state-based action plans for cancer prevention and control efforts and launching a national cancer prevention effort focused on eliminating tobacco use, increasing physical activity and improving nutrition.
Residents allowed home after fires
YANKEE HILL, Calif. - After a tense night of waiting to learn if their property had survived a devastating wildfire, residents forced to flee their homes were briefly allowed to return Saturday.
People who evacuated some 400 homes were only allowed to return long enough to assess any damage. They could not stay permanently because utility crews were still fixing water, electricity and phone lines.
"It's still too dangerous for residents to be by themselves due to the unpredictability of the winds and falling trees," said Tom Sitter, a California Department of Forestry spokesman. "So we're not opening the area to normal traffic."
The 7,265-acre fire, which had burned at least 26 houses in the area 85 miles north of Sacramento, was one of three major fires burning in California's Sierra Nevada range. Wind blew a fire about 25 miles west of Lake Tahoe over its lines, and blew a fire 40 miles southeast of Sacramento down to a river and up some hills.
Brisk winds Friday helped the Yankee Hill wildfire turn 26 homes and 10 other buildings into charred skeletons. At least 400 other homes and 450 outbuildings were threatened Saturday.
Meanwhile, officials in Montana began sending firefighters home Saturday from a 66,800-acre fire on the western edge of Glacier National Park. It came almost to a standstill Friday in near-freezing weather.
Creating women leaders
TUCSON - A new nonprofit organization aims to guide women and girls toward leadership roles in business and the community.
Although the number of women-owned firms is growing at an astonishing rate, the number of women leaders is not keeping pace, said a founder of The Aurora Foundation Inc.
"We've seen some strides over the past 20-30 years, but clearly not enough. We can do better," said Stephanie Parker, executive director of the foundation and owner of ChangeLeaders Consulting & Research Group of Arizona Inc.
The foundation, named after a mythological Roman goddess, wants to reach not only mid- to lower-level executive women, but middle schoolers on up.
"Now girls and women have many opportunities and possibilities that they didn't have before to be leaders and change agents," said Carol Sack, executive director of the Women's Foundation of Southern Arizona. "We just need to make sure these women and girls are prepared to take advantage of these opportunities."
The Aurora Foundation intends to begin an intensive 12- to 18-month leadership training program in April. A series of workshops designed to give participants a taste of the program will also be held in cooperation with the University of Arizona Extended University.
"The workshops are designed to promote a lot of interaction, a lot of conversation and dialogue, a lot of sharing. And they're also designed to be very practical tips," Parker said.
The price has not been set for the intensive leadership training program, but Parker hopes employers will pay for up-and-coming executives to attend the workshops, the program, or both.
"If they're serious about executive development, if they're serious about equity in their organization, then they'll look seriously at this program because it's most certainly a high-quality educational program," said Jason Laker, director of business programs and work force development at the Extended University. "It's very practical, and it's going to bring skills to the table that are relevant to any manager but that are most accessible to women leaders."