Meaning of YEAR IN REVIEW 1999: DISASTERS in English

Aviation January 13, Southwestern Pakistan. An Afghan cargo plane carrying 51 persons, including members of the Islamic Taliban militia, ran out of fuel and slammed into a mountainside in a remote area; there were no survivors. January 28, Thandwe, Myanmar (Burma). A passenger plane spun out of control during takeoff and crashed; 14 persons were killed. February 2, Southern Philippines. An airliner en route to Cagayan de Oro crashed on a mountain about 45 km (28 mi) northeast of its destination; all 104 persons aboard the craft, including 5 crew members, perished. February 3, Cavalese, Italy. A low-flying U.S. military jet cut the cable of a ski lift on a resort in the Dolomite Mountains, sending a cable car hurtling some 80 m (260 ft) to the ground; all 20 passengers aboard the cable car were killed; it was later determined that the jet had strayed off course during a training flight and was flying at far below the approved minimum altitude. February 12, Southern Sudan. At least 13 persons, including First Vice Pres. Al-Zubeir Mohammed Saleh and other Sudanese senior government officials, died when their plane went down in bad weather during a tour of southern war zones. February 16, Taipei, Taiwan. While attempting to land in heavy fog, an airliner slammed into several houses and erupted in flames; all 197 persons aboard the craft were killed, along with at least 9 persons on the ground. March 20, Near Kabul, Afg. Bad weather was blamed after a Boeing 727 crashed into a mountain, killing all 45 persons aboard. March 29, Piura, Peru. An air force plane transporting civilians fleeing El Nio-driven floods lost power in one of its engines and crashed into a canal; at least 28 persons died. April 20, Bogot, Colom. A Boeing 727 carrying 52 persons hit a fog-shrouded mountain shortly after takeoff; there were no survivors. May 5, Northeastern Peru. An air force plane being used to transport workers to an oil camp in a remote Amazon jungle plummeted into a swamp about five kilometres (three miles) short of its destination; of the 87 persons aboard, 13 survived. May 12, Southeastern Mauritania. A military transport plane crashed during a sandstorm; 36 of the 38 persons aboard were killed. May 26, Northern Mongolia. A passenger plane carrying 28 persons crashed shortly after takeoff; there were no survivors. June 4, East Timor. An Indonesian military helicopter crashed on a mountain in conditions of poor visibility; of the 12 persons aboard, one survived. June 18, Near Montreal. A commuter plane caught fire after takeoff, then exploded while attempting to make an emergency landing; all 11 persons aboard were killed. July 30, Off the coast of Quiberon, France. A collision between two small planes, one of which had deviated from its flight plan to fly over the giant cruise ship Norway, claimed the lives of all 15 persons aboard the two craft. August 23, Dominica. A charter plane carrying 11 persons crashed in bad weather in the northeastern part of the island; there were no survivors. August 24, Northern Laos. An airliner crashed on a mountain during bad weather; at least 33 persons were believed dead. August 29, Quito, Ecuador. After bursting into flames on takeoff, an airliner plowed through airport fences and into a nearby field where children were playing football (soccer); of the 90 persons aboard the plane, 69 perished, and 10 on the ground were killed. September 2, Off the coast of Nova Scotia. An airliner en route to Geneva with 229 persons aboard crashed into icy waters after the pilot reported smoke in the cabin; the plane had been attempting to make an emergency landing at Halifax International Airport when it disappeared from radar screens; there were no survivors. September 4, Southern Nevada. Two air force helicopters collided during a nighttime training mission over a remote mountainous area; all 12 crew members aboard the two choppers were killed. September 25, Northern Morocco. A Spanish passenger plane crashed into a hillside near the Mediterranean coast, killing all 38 persons on board. November 1, Southwestern Guatemala. A plane flying through heavy rain crashed into a mountain, killing 12 doctors who were on their way to perform medical relief work in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch; six persons survived the crash. December 11, Southern Thailand. An airliner attempting to land in bad weather went down in a flooded rubber plantation; at least 44 persons perished. Fires and Explosions Mid-late January, Abuja, Nigeria. At least 28 persons were killed by explosions of adulterated fuel; a mixture of kerosene and gasoline (petrol), the fuel was sold on the black market to unwitting residents of Abuja's shantytowns, who attempted to use it for cooking and lighting; another 80 persons suffered severe burns from the blasts. January 24, Hebei province, China. In separate incidents fireworks vendors demonstrating their wares in outdoor markets before the Chinese New Year celebration inadvertently set off two huge explosions that killed 47 persons and injured dozens of others. February 15, Yaound, Cameroon. An explosion at the site of a derailed train that had spilled its oil cargo claimed the lives of 120 persons and injured more than 150 others; the blast was thought to have occurred after someone lit a cigarette. March 22, Miles township, Pa. An early-morning fire engulfed a mountain cabin where 11 youths on a weekend outing were sleeping; there were no survivors; the cause of the fire was undetermined. March 26, Mombasa, Kenya. A blaze sparked by an electrical fault at a girls' boarding school claimed the lives of 26 students. May 5, Central Mexico. A forest fire blamed on dry weather conditions brought on by El Nio claimed the lives of 19 volunteer firefighters who were battling the blaze. May 14, Jakarta, Indon. A fire set during violent street riots swept through a five-story shopping mall; at least 110 persons were killed. May 16, Near Islamabad, Pak. Material used to manufacture fireworks exploded during a fire and caused the collapse of the three-story building where the material was stored; at least 13 persons were killed. June 8, Palembang, Indon. A fire that started on the second floor of a shopping mall quickly swept through the building; at least 50 persons were believed dead. October 17, Southern Nigeria. Hundreds of people were scavenging gasoline from holes in a state-owned pipeline when the pipeline exploded, igniting a huge fire that burned for several days; more than 700 persons died, and some 300 were injured. October 30, Gteborg, Swed. A fire raced through an overcrowded discotheque where hundreds of young people had gathered for a Halloween party; 63 persons were killed, and some 190 were seriously injured. December 3, Manila. A fire believed to have been caused by faulty electrical wiring engulfed a wooden building that housed an orphanage and child-care centre; at least 30 persons, mostly children, were killed. Marine January 16, Off the coast of Newfoundland. A freighter registered in Cyprus broke in half for unknown reasons and sank near the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon; 15 persons lost their lives, but 4 men survived the disaster by clinging to an overturned lifeboat until rescue helicopters arrived. January 21, Lake Victoria, Uganda. A boat loaded with fishermen and traders overturned near the Buvuma Islands; 17 persons drowned, and 13 were missing and feared dead. March 15, Southeastern Bangladesh. Two overcrowded ferries capsized on a river after being caught in a storm; at least 50 persons perished. March 31, Off the coast of Yemen. A boat crowded with Somali refugees sank in the Gulf of Aden, killing some 180 persons; 2 passengers and the 6-man crew survived. April 3, Near Kwamouth, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Two barges overloaded with passengers and cargo collided on the Kasai River; nearly 40 persons drowned. April 4, Off the coast of Nigeria. An overcrowded ferry capsized in rough waters; as many as 280 persons were feared dead. April 24, Southern Nicaragua. A boat carrying a group of U.S.-bound Ecuadorians capsized in rough waters in Lake Nicaragua and sank; of the 20 persons aboard, one survived. May 30, Northern India. At least 22 persons drowned when their boat capsized in the Chenab River about 122 km (75 mi) north of Jammu. June, California. An overabundance of melting snow in the Sierra Nevadas turned rivers into dangerous torrents; 11 whitewater rafters lost their lives. June 5, Guangdong province, China. An overcrowded ferry capsized in the middle of a river, killing at least 20 persons. June 8, Bermuda. A boat overloaded with Haitian refugees capsized when passengers rushed to one side of the vessel after police fired warning shots over the bow, and at least 30 persons drowned; reports that police had hit the boat were unconfirmed. July 5, Comoros. A makeshift boat overloaded with refugees from Anjouan who were attempting to reach the French-governed island of Mayotte capsized, killing 16 persons. July 26, Off the coast of Tamil Nadu, India. A boat carrying Sri Lankan refugees capsized after developing a leak; 45 persons were feared dead. Late August, Bihar, India. A boat capsized after being caught in a whirlpool on the Lakhandei River; at least 35 persons drowned. September 19, Manila Bay, Philippines. A large Philippine interisland ferry sank in stormy weather, possibly after its heavy cargo shifted and caused the vessel to tilt to one side; 43 persons were killed, and 48 were missing and feared dead. Early October, Northern Nigeria. An overloaded ferry capsized on a river and sank, killing 73 persons. October 8, Northern Spain. A tour boat loaded past capacity sank in Lake Banyoles; 20 persons, most of them French retirees, perished. October 23, Northern India. An overcrowded boat capsized on a swiftly flowing river; 10 persons were killed, and 27 were missing. Mining January 16, Southern Yugoslavia. A methane gas explosion at a coal mine claimed the lives of 29 miners and injured 19. January 18, Vorkuta, Russia. A methane gas explosion at a coal mine caused a tunnel to collapse and sparked an underground fire; 27 miners were presumed dead. January 24, Liaoning province, China. A powerful gas explosion at one of China's largest coal mines killed 77 miners and injured 8. February 11, Western Bolivia. A mud slide attributed to heavy rain brought on by El Nio buried a gold mine in the Tipuani Mountains near the Peruvian border; at least 50 persons were killed. April 4, Donetsk, Ukraine. A buildup of methane gas was the cause of an explosion at a coal mine; 63 miners lost their lives. April 6, Henan province, China. A series of gas explosions at a coal mine killed at least 59 miners and left 25 missing. April 12, Mbuguni, Tanz. Flash floods induced by heavy rains caused 14 shafts at the Mererani tanzanite mines to collapse; at least 100 miners were feared dead. May 13, Sichuan province, China. A gas explosion at a coal mine killed at least 14 miners and injured more than 10. June 14, Southern Niger. Heavy rains were the apparent cause of a cave-in at a gold mine about 60 km (35 mi) southwest of Niamey; more than 30 miners were killed. July 17, Lassing, Austria. A mud slide snapped the cable of an underground elevator in a talc mine, stranding 10 men who were attempting to rescue a miner who had been trapped by an earlier mud slide; the 10 rescuers perished, but the miner trapped earlier was pulled out alive on July 26. August 16, Luhansk, Ukraine. A powerful methane gas explosion ripped through a coal mine, killing at least 24 miners and injuring 4. Late October, Guangxi province, China. A flash flood swept through two coal mines that had been closed for the rainy season but illegally reopened; 36 miners perished. November 29, Yunnan province, China. A gas explosion at a state-run coal mine killed at least 38 miners and injured 18. November 30, Northern Vietnam. A gold mine collapsed after heavy rainfall; at least 25 miners died. Miscellaneous April 9, Mina, Saudi Arabia. At least 118 persons died in a stampede on the last day of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca; the stampede occurred as tens of thousands of Muslims made their way across a bridge to perform the sacred rite known as "stoning the devil." Mid-April, Bangladesh. At least 72 persons died after drinking contaminated homemade liquor during Bengali New Year celebrations. April 28, Panama City, Pan. An elevator plummeted 25 floors to the ground at the construction site of a high-rise building, and all 13 workers inside the elevator were killed; mechanical failure and overloading were blamed for the accident. May 4, Northern India. At least 20 persons were electrocuted when a bicycle tied to the roof of the bus they were traveling on touched a high-voltage electric wire. June 25, Nalchik, Russia. A balcony collapsed onto the crowded floor of an indoor sports stadium during a wrestling tournament; 23 people were killed. July 6, Mpumalanga province, S.Af. A bridge under construction collapsed when one of its supporting pillars buckled for unknown reasons; 25 persons were feared dead. July 13, Western Kenya. Villagers near the site where a fuel tanker overturned on a road were looting the vehicle's liquid when someone's lit cigarette ignited an explosion; 10 persons were killed, and more than 50 suffered serious burns. August 3, Bombay (Mumbai). The collapse of a seven-story apartment building claimed the lives of at least 30 persons. Late August, New Delhi. At least 40 persons died and hundreds were hospitalized after they ate food cooked in contaminated mustard oil. September 5, Osasco, Braz. The roof of a church collapsed during an early-morning vigil attended by some 1,300 worshipers; at least 20 persons were killed, and more than 500 were injured. Mid-September--Mid-November, Cabo Delgado province, Mozambique. At least 33 persons died after they ate fish contaminated with pesticides; authorities said the contamination occurred when unscrupulous fishermen dumped pesticides into waters where they fished to increase their catch. October 28, Kasai province, Democratic Republic of the Congo. During a football (soccer) match a lightning bolt killed all 11 members of one team but left members of the opposing team unharmed, which led local investigators to conclude that witchcraft was responsible for the incident; more than 30 spectators were also injured, though none seriously. December 16, Rome. A five-story apartment building collapsed during the night, apparently because of a structural fault; 23 persons were killed. Natural January 2, Northern Spain and western France. Powerful storm winds were responsible for blowing cars off roads, toppling buildings, interrupting electricity, and creating high waves along coastlines; at least 18 persons lost their lives. Early January, Northern Bangladesh. An unusual cold spell claimed the lives of more than 130 persons, many of whom were homeless. Early January, Western Canada and Montana. At least 10 persons were killed by avalanches in the Rocky Mountains. January, Peru. The worst flooding in Peru in 50 years left some 70 persons dead and 22,000 homeless; the torrential rain that caused the floods was blamed on El Nio. January 5-11, Eastern Canada and northeastern U.S. A severe ice storm swept through Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick and parts of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York; more than three million homes were without power, some for two weeks or more, and at least 20 persons died. January 10, Hebei province, China. An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 claimed the lives of at least 50 persons and injured more than 10,000. Mid-January, Kenya. Floods triggered by unseasonal downpours killed at least 86 persons and caused extensive damage across the country. January 20, Central Mozambique. A landslide brought on by heavy rains destroyed mountain settlements in Zambezia province; at least 26 persons were killed, and some 60 were missing. January 23, Near Les Orres, France. An avalanche in the French Alps claimed the lives of 11 persons on a school outing. February 4, Northeastern Afghanistan. An earthquake of magnitude 6.1 and subsequent tremors killed some 4,500 persons and left 30,000 homeless. February 23, Central Florida. Tornadoes killed at least 42 persons, injured more than 260, and left hundreds homeless. February 23, Tajikistan. An avalanche buried a house in a mountainous area about 100 km (60 mi) east of Dushanbe; of the 12 persons inside the house, only one survived. February 27, Aobamba, Peru. About 40 workers digging a canal in the Andes were swept to their death by a mud slide brought on by weeks of heavy rain. March 3-4, Baluchistan, Pak. Flash floods claimed the lives of 300 persons; 1,500 were missing and presumed dead, and some 25,000 were left homeless. March 4, Rio Cana, Ecuador. A mud slide that followed days of torrential rain buried a mountain village; at least 17 persons were killed. March 7, Near Kabul, Afg. An avalanche near the Salang Pass in the Hindu Kush Mountains killed at least 70 persons. March 20, Georgia and North Carolina. Tornadoes killed at least 14 persons and injured 80 in northern Georgia; 2 persons were killed and at least 22 injured by a tornado in North Carolina. Late March, Eastern India. A cyclone devastated several villages in the states of West Bengal and Orissa; at least 200 persons died, and some 10,000 were left homeless. March 31, Thangu, India. A strong blast of wind triggered an avalanche that buried an army camp in northern Sikkim state; 19 soldiers were killed. Early April, Iran. Floods across the country claimed the lives of 100 persons. Early-mid-April, Southern U.S. Tornadoes ripped through parts of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia on April 8-9, leaving 39 persons dead; on April 16 two tornadoes claimed the lives of at least 10 persons in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Mid-late April, Argentina and Paraguay. Massive flooding along the Paran basin caused extensive damage and forced some 100,000 persons to evacuate their homes; at least 18 persons lost their lives. Early May, Southern Italy. A river of mud swamped the mountain town of Sarno and nearby villages after torrential rains; at least 135 persons were killed. May-early June, India. A severe heat wave, India's worst in 50 years, claimed the lives of at least 2,500 persons; more than 1,000 deaths occurred in Orissa. May 20, Central Bolivia. An earthquake of magnitude 6.8 destroyed the towns of Aiquile and Totora and killed at least 105 persons. May 22, Southeastern Bangladesh. A cyclone struck coastal areas, killing at least 25 persons and injuring more than 100. May 30, Northern Afghanistan. A magnitude-6.9 earthquake destroyed some 60 villages and killed at least 5,000 persons. June-July, Texas. A blistering heat wave claimed the lives of 110 persons. June-August, Northeastern China. Widespread flooding along the Chang Jiang (Yangtze River) caused $20 billion in damage and claimed the lives of 3,656 persons, according to a senior government official; the floods affected an estimated 230 million residents. June 9, Western India. The most powerful cyclone to hit India in 25 years struck the coast in Gujarat state; according to an official report, 1,754 persons were missing and feared dead. Mid-June, Northern Romania. Floods triggered by heavy rain were responsible for the deaths of 21 persons. June 27, Southern Turkey. An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 claimed the lives of at least 129 persons and injured more than 1,000. Late June, Midwestern and eastern U.S. Thunderstorms, floods, and tornadoes occurred from Wisconsin to West Virginia and along the Appalachian Mountains as far north as Vermont; at least 21 persons lost their lives, including 11 in Ohio. July, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Massive flooding claimed the lives of at least 115 persons. July-August, South Korea. Floods brought on by record rainfalls left 234 persons dead and 91 missing; more than 121,000 persons were homeless. July 9, Azores. A magnitude-5.8 earthquake rocked the Portuguese islands in the North Atlantic Ocean; 10 persons were killed, and 90 were injured. Mid-July-mid-September, Bangladesh. Extraordinarily heavy monsoonal rains left more than two-thirds of the country under water; at least 1,000 persons died, and more than 30 million persons lost their homes. July 17, Papua New Guinea. A tsunami struck the northern coast, killing at least 500 persons and destroying several villages. Late July, Eastern Slovakia. Floods triggered by severe storms claimed the lives of at least 21 persons. Early August, Cyprus. A severe heat wave was responsible for the deaths of 48 persons, many of whom were elderly. Early-mid-August, Yemen. Floods produced by torrential rains killed at least 30 persons across the country. Mid-August-early September, Northern and eastern India. Floods and landslides claimed the lives of at least 1,000 persons. August 23-24, Southern Texas and northern Mexico. Flooding along the rain-swollen Rio Grande left 16 persons dead and more than 60 missing. August 26, Northern Guatemala. A mud slide that swamped several mountain villages killed at least 25 persons and forced 4,000 from their homes. Late August, Northern Japan. Landslides and floods related to Typhoon Rex left 11 persons dead and 5 missing; 40,000 persons were forced to evacuate their homes. Early September, Southern Mexico. Floods produced by days of heavy rain killed at least 185 persons in the state of Chiapas; some 25,000 were left homeless. September-October, The Sudan. Heavy flooding along the Nile River destroyed more than 120,000 homes and left at least 200,000 persons homeless; at least 88 persons died, including 63 Sudanese herdsman who were swept away in a flash flood on October 12 in the state of Kordofan. September 21-28, Caribbean and U.S. Gulf Coast. With winds of up to 193 km/h (120 mph), Hurricane Georges devastated the region, causing extensive damage and at least 300 deaths in the Caribbean, including some 250 in the Dominican Republic and at least 27 in Haiti; the hurricane also pounded parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida, dumping heavy rain and causing 4 deaths. Late September-early October, South Korea. According to government officials, Tropical Storm Yanni flooded a quarter of the country's cropland and left at least 27 persons dead and 28 missing. October 1, Tenextepango, Mex. A week of heavy rain in central Mexico triggered a mud slide that killed 12 persons. Mid-October, Philippines, Taiwan, and Japan. Typhoon Zeb wreaked havoc on its sweep through Asia, killing at least 74 persons in the Philippines, 25 in Taiwan, and at least 12 in Japan. October 17-18, Texas. Heavy rain left one-quarter of the state under water; at least 22 persons died in the floods, including 6 in San Antonio. October 20-22, Central Vietnam. Floods caused by heavy downpours claimed the lives of 52 persons and caused extensive damage. Late October, Central America. Powerful Hurricane Mitch tore through the region, producing torrential rain and creating winds as high as 240 km/h (150 mph); considered the worst Atlantic basin hurricane in 200 years, Mitch caused extensive damage and left more than 1.5 million persons homeless; the number of confirmed deaths reached 6,500 in Honduras, 1,845 in Nicaragua, 239 in El Salvador, 253 in Guatemala, 8 in Costa Rica, and 2 in Panama; an additional 12,000 persons in the region had disappeared. Late October, Philippines. Typhoon Babs cut a destructive swath through the country, triggering landslides and floods and claiming the lives of at least 132 persons; some 320,000 persons were left homeless. Mid-November, Western Ukraine. Floods in the Carpathian Mountains destroyed some 30 villages and forced at least 8,000 persons from their homes; at least 12 persons died. Mid-late November, Europe. An intense cold wave claimed the lives of at least 71persons across the continent, including 36 in Poland. November 19-23, Central Vietnam. Typhoon Dawn, the worst storm to hit the region in 30 years, triggered devastating floods that forced some 200,000 persons from their homes; more than 100 persons were killed. Mid-December, Central Vietnam. At least 22 deaths were blamed on Tropical Storms Faith and Gil, which dumped heavy rain on the region; thousands were displaced. December 15, Umtata, S.Af. A tornado killed at least 17 persons and injured at least 162. Railroad January 5, Near Lucknow, India. A passenger train sped through a red light in thick fog and plowed into the back of an express train, which had stopped after hitting a nilgai (Indian antelope); 54 persons were killed, and 64 were injured. March 6, Central Finland. An express passenger train derailed as it was slowing before a station stop; 11 persons were killed, including an engineer, and 39 were injured. April 24, Near Bombay. Several cars of a freight train detached from the main body and rolled to hit a stationary passenger train; at least 24 persons lost their lives. May 10, Eastern Bangladesh. A passenger train crashed into a cargo train stopped at a station; 17 persons were killed, and 26 were injured. May 22, Near Blantyre, Malawi. A passenger train derailed on a steep hill after a brake failure; 20 persons were killed, and more than 200 were injured. June 3, Near Eschede, Ger. A high-speed InterCity Express (ICE) train traveling at 200 km/h (125 mph) derailed and slammed into a concrete overpass, and at least 100 persons were killed; a faulty wheel was determined to have caused the derailment. August 13, Near Karur, India. At a railway crossing a train rammed into a crowded bus that apparently had stalled on the tracks after crashing through a warning gate; 19 persons were killed. October 18, Kafr ad-Dawwar, Egypt. A passenger train derailed when its driver changed tracks at high speed, and the train then plowed into a crowded market square; 47 persons were killed. November 26, Northwestern India. A collision between two trains claimed the lives of at least 205 persons. Traffic January 3, Near Jhelum, Pak. A multiple pileup involving an oil tanker, a truck, and an overcrowded bus claimed the lives of at least 50 persons. January 7, Central Kenya. A bus plunged off a bridge into a river after the driver lost control of the vehicle; at least 54 persons were killed. January 13, West Bengal, India. A school bus skidded off a road and plummeted into a river after the driver lost control of the vehicle in a thick fog; at least 66 persons died. January 14, Near La Paz, Bol. A truck carrying farmers headed to La Paz to sell coca leaves overturned while crossing the Andes, possibly because of brake problems; 28 persons lost their lives. February 14, Near Amritsar, India. A minibus carrying members of a wedding party plummeted from a road into a canal; at least 28 persons died. February 21, Nagoan, India. A collision between a bus and a truck claimed the lives of at least 16 persons. February 26, Near Lokoja, Nigeria. A bus crashed into a ditch after losing a tire; 40 persons were killed. March 2, Binh Dinh province, Vietnam. An overcrowded bus crashed through the railings of a bridge and fell into a lake, apparently after it attempted to pass a truck; some 50 persons were feared dead. April 3, Southern Turkey. A collision between a bus and a fuel tanker near the Syrian border claimed the lives of at least 32 Iranians who were making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. April 15, Near Newcastle, S.Af. A multiple pileup involving a school bus, horse and trailer, minibus, car, and taxi occurred in rainy weather on a stretch of open road; 31 persons were killed, and at least 50 were injured. April 26, Near Villafranqueza, Spain. A tour bus full of senior citizens overturned while trying to stop on a rain-slickened bridge, then rolled off the side and plummeted down an embankment; 10 persons were killed, and 38 were injured. May 3, Northern Tanzania. An overcrowded bus attempting to cross a flooded bridge was swept away by a rain-swollen river; 72 persons perished. May 7, Near Kishtwar, India. A bus skidded off a road and fell into a gorge; at least 17 persons were killed. May 26, Near Tehran. A bus plunged into a reservoir after the driver lost control of the vehicle; 18 persons died. June 27, Near Lima, Peru. A crowded bus traveling in fog plummeted off a steep cliff; 18 persons were killed. July 5, Northern India. A truck overloaded with worshipers returning from a prayer meeting at a Hindu temple fell 100 m (330 ft) into a ravine; at least 27 persons died. July 9, Near Tibba Sultanpur, Pak. A head-on collision between two buses claimed the lives of 18 persons and injured 50. July 19, Near Catulaca, Honduras. A fire aboard a bus claimed the lives of at least 17 passengers and injured 18; reports that the fire was sparked by fuel inside the bus or by a short circuit were unconfirmed. July 26, North West province, S.Af. A collision between a bus and a truck on a sharp curve claimed the lives of 19 persons and injured more than 60. August 6, Northeastern Brazil. Before dawn a bus plowed into a group of passengers from another bus as the group stood on a highway after its vehicle had broken down; 12 persons died. August 11, Near San Salvador, El Salvador. A collision between a bus and a truck claimed the lives of at least 16 persons and injured 20. August 17, Near Jakarta, Indon. A crowded bus skidded off a highway and plunged into a ditch; at least 26 persons were killed. August 29, Near Papallacta, Ecuador. A truck carrying 50 persons plummeted over a cliff; 33 persons were killed. September 8, Southeastern Brazil. A fuel tanker overturned on a highway and was hit from behind by a truck transporting liquor, which ignited a fire that engulfed the vehicles as well as two charter buses; at least 57 persons were killed, and dozens were injured. September 18, Northeastern Egypt. A collision occurred between a tourist bus and a truck on a desert road between Cairo and Suez; 14 persons were killed, and 36 were injured. September 24, Northern Peru. An overcrowded truck went over a cliff high in the Andes, apparently after its motor failed on a steep mountainside and the vehicle rolled backward out of control; 26 persons, mostly schoolchildren, were killed, and 15 were injured. October 4, Eastern Ghana. A bus collided head-on with a fuel tanker; 15 persons perished. October 14, Central India. A bus plummeted from a bridge into the Karam River in the state of Madhya Pradesh after the driver lost control of the vehicle; at least 45 persons died. October 17, Southern Brazil. A head-on collision between two buses on a winding highway in the state of Parana claimed the lives of at least 14 persons. November 5, Near Cuttack, India. A crowded bus careened off a bridge into a river after the driver of the bus attempted to pass another vehicle on the bridge; at least 43 persons were killed. November 8, Southern Thailand. A van carrying a Thai dance troupe crashed into a roadside utility pole in the province of Prachub Khirikhan; all 12 persons in the van were killed. Early December, Near Dhangai, India. A collision between a bus and an oil tanker claimed the lives of at least 26 persons. December 26, Anhui province, China. An explosion occurred following a collision between a bus and a truck loaded with detonators and fuses; at least 18 persons died. Dramatic Cast Changes at Livent On Nov. 18, 1998, Canadian-based Livent Inc., the first publicly traded company whose business was live theatre, filed for bankruptcy. Founders Garth Drabinsky and Myron Gottlieb were fired, and a $225 million civil damage suit alleging fraud and unjust enrichment was filed against the two and a Gottlieb-controlled company. Originally established in 1989 as Live Entertainment Inc. by former Cineplex Odeon movie theatre executives Drabinsky and Gottlieb to produce lavish musicals for Cineplex's chain of legitimate theatres, the enterprise, renamed Livent, went public in 1993 on the strength of the hugely successful Toronto run of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. As spectacular production values escalated the costs of Broadway musicals during the 1980s, making it impossible for even sold-out shows to break even in less than a year, theatre owners began to join in partnership with producers in order to keep their theatres in use. Drabinsky and Gottlieb sought to surmount the big-budget jitters by selling shares in a chain of theatres and a roster of shows instead of expensive limited partnerships in individual shows. Elaborate revivals of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Show Boat (which opened in Toronto in October 1993) followed, complete with huge advertising campaigns beginning more than a year in advance of openings in some markets. Livent's new musicals won multiple Tony awards; Kiss of the Spider Woman took seven (including best musical), and Ragtime garnered four. Livent's fortunes began to sour in 1997, when the company posted its first losses, largely due to heavy investments in theatre construction and renovation. By 1998 Livent's theatrical real estate included the 2,200-seat Pantages Theatre in downtown Toronto and several theatres seating more than 1,800--the Ford Center(s) for the Performing Arts in northern Toronto, Vancouver, B.C., New York City, and Chicago. Lacklustre performances by some Show Boat road companies also contributed to financial woes. In the 15 months prior to June 1998, when Michael Ovitz, a $20 million investor, and New York investment banker Roy Furman assumed the top board positions, Livent lost $50 million. Drabinsky, however, remained as artistic director. While preparing second-quarter financial reports, auditors discovered serious accounting irregularities, including inflated earnings, expenses shuffled between productions, and unreported expenses. Canadian and American securities regulators suspended trading of Livent stock on August 10, and the new management team suspended Drabinsky and Gottlieb while a forensic audit was conducted. Standard & Poor's downgraded Livent's credit rating from B+ to BB-. After filing for bankruptcy in November, Livent canceled one of its traveling productions of Ragtime. More than 100 employees in Toronto were laid off on November 25. In the wake of the financial crisis, plans to develop a 1,400-seat theatre in a Toronto hotel-condominium complex south of the Pantages and a 500-seat theatre in New York City's Times Square were shelved. Todd Haimes of New York's Roundabout Theater, who specialized in producing on tight budgets, was named artistic director. BRUCE CANTWELL Ecological Restoration by Stephanie Mills Ecological restoration (the rapidly developing practice of healing damaged lands and waters) is grounded in the emerging scientific discipline of restoration ecology. The science and the practice are mutually informing. Restoration practices are as varied as natural communities themselves, but the basic idea is to return a particular place--be it a small nature preserve or a whole river basin--to a condition closely resembling its primal state. This may entail reestablishing the structures and functions of ecosystems as well as reintroducing native flora and fauna. The long-term objective is to foster the continuing existence, interaction, and evolution of the restored ecosystem's indigenous species of plants and animals (including humans). Because ecosystem dynamics are intricate, seldom obvious, and far easier to disrupt than to recreate, ecological restoration involves discovery, invention, and no little urgency. As we approach the 21st century, scientists agree that we are in the most rapid extinction crisis in the Earth's history. These mass extinctions are the result of habitat disturbance--ecosystem disruption--which is driven by dramatic increases in the human population and the consumption of natural resources that is concomitant with economic activity. Ecological restoration endeavours to be a holistic means of arresting this loss of species, and many ecological restorationists hope through their work to bring humanity into a mutually sustaining relationship with the Earth's biodiversity. Although there are professional restorationists, many of them biologists and/or landscape architects, much ecological restoration is accomplished by volunteers. Since its first annual conference in 1989, the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER), headquartered at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, has fostered the growth and development of an international and interdisciplinary community of restorationists. In the mountainous Pacific Northwest citizen groups and governments from the local to the national levels have been working for 20 years to restore the salmon runs of their creeks and rivers, slowly regenerating their watersheds from ridgelines to river mouths. North Pacific salmon restoration spans the ocean. On the Japanese island of Hokkaido Sapporo's schoolchildren have been promoting practices to improve water quality, hauling rubbish out of urban creeks and releasing hatchery-nurtured salmon fingerlings into the city's Toyohiro River. On Thailand's coasts villagers restore and manage their living resources, replanting mangrove trees to stabilize the shorelines and serve as nurseries for fish. In the waters off the Maldives, the Global Coral Reef Alliance has used solar-generated electric current to accrete minerals from ocean water to form anchorages for coral. The alliance's inventors have found that a continuing flow of the low-voltage current also stimulates the growth of coral transplanted to the anchorages. Thus, some of the devastation of coral reefs worldwide may be mitigated, and natural breakwaters, which help protect shorelines from erosion, may be created. In Redwood National Park, California, watershed restoration has employed bulldozers and backhoes to remove logging roads and log-skidding trails. This resculpting is needed to check erosion on the slopes and sedimentation in the streams so that the terrain will once again be hospitable to giant redwoods and to the animal species requiring conditions unique to that region's ancient forests. The successes among such slow-growing species as redwoods may not be apparent for centuries, yet the auspicious beginnings are on the increase. To heal the 20,000-ha (50,000-ac) man-made moonscape around the nickel mines and smelters of Sudbury, Ont., restorationists reduced the ground's pollution-caused acidity by spreading crushed limestone by hand and from the air; then they sowed grasses and planted pine, larch, oak, and locust seedlings. With public and private funds, as well as thousands of paid and volunteer workers, Sudbury has, since the early 1970s, revegetated perhaps one-quarter of its most severely damaged surroundings and restored some natural beauty to the city and the region. The widespread transport of plants and animals across formerly insurmountable geographic boundaries such as mountains and oceans has resulted in habitat-disturbing alien invasions. For example, islands where the flora and fauna may have evolved with no need for defense against terrestrial predators or grazers such as house cats or goats may lose much of their endemic biodiversity within decades once these opportunistic domesticated animals have come onshore. On Cuvier Island off the coast of New Zealand's North Island, the New Zealand Department of Conservation applied its effective methods of eliminating feral cats, goats, and rats. These introduced and stowaway animals had decimated the island's vegetation and consequently extirpated a number of Cuvier Island's birds, reptiles, and invertebrates. By the late 1960s and early '70s, it was possible to reintroduce some bird species that had vanished from Cuvier Island but had survived in populations on other islands nearby. In time the government hopes to reintroduce other missing bird species and a native reptile, the tuatara, which is being propagated in a captive-breeding program. Similar island-restoration projects have been under way throughout the New Zealand archipelago for the past 20 years. In North America, alien vegetation--some deliberately imported for landscaping, range improvement, erosion control, or forestry, and some that hitchhiked--has proliferated wildly, especially in areas where there has been land disturbance, such as farming, grazing, or logging. In many settings a single weedy species has blanketed a landscape and displaced the more complex and varied mixes of trees, shrubs, grasses, or wildflowers that made up the original pla

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