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Bootleg alcohol fatal to 39 Indians

LUCKNOW, India -- At least 39 people have died and another 27 fallen sick from drinking cheap spurious liquor containing toxic methanol in several villages in northern India, officials said Saturday.

Senior police officer Ashok Kumar said 26 died in two incidents in the state of Uttar Pradesh, 190 miles east of the capital, New Delhi, while 13 others died in the neighboring state of Uttarakhand. The majority of the deaths were reported from the village of Balpur in Uttarakhand.

Kumar said victims consumed liquor during two functions Thursday night, adding that the postmortem and initial forensic reports suggested that the brew was laced with methanol.

Police have arrested eight suspected bootleggers while the provincial governments have suspended 35 officials including 12 policemen.

Deaths from illegally brewed alcohol are common in India because the poor cannot afford licensed brands. Illicit liquor is cheap and often spiked with chemicals such as pesticides to increase potency.

Blizzards in China blanket villages

BEIJING -- Blizzards in Tibetan areas of western China have left thousands of head of livestock dead and roads covered in up to 18 inches of snow, state media outlets reported Saturday.

Authorities had sent veterinarians, medicine and animal feed to the hard-hit areas in Qinghai province's Yushu Tibetan area, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Villages are above 16,400 feet and workers were seeking to clear roads to ensure the delivery of supplies, a task made more difficult by high winds and drifting snow.

The mainly ethnic Tibetan villagers depend heavily on yaks, goats and sheep for their livelihoods and to feed their families.

Harsh winters are routine in the Himalayan region that long fell within Tibet's traditional borders.

Snow also was expected in other parts of northern and central China, leading to some travel disruptions as millions of Chinese returned home after last week's Lunar New Year holiday.

Palestinian held in woman's death

JERUSALEM -- Israeli police said Saturday that they arrested a Palestinian suspect in the killing of a young Israeli woman, as thousands of people in Gaza buried two Palestinians killed by Israeli fire a day earlier in protests along the perimeter fence.

The police said Arafat Arpaya, 29, was arrested in Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, but originally comes from the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The police did not say when the arrest took place and said the motive for the killing was still under investigation.

The stabbed body of Ori Ansbacher, 19, was found in the woods in the West Bank near Jerusalem on Thursday. She was buried Friday in the Israeli settlement of Tekoa.

In the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, thousands of mourners attended the funerals of the Palestinian teenagers.

The mother of 14-year-old Hassan Shalabi wailed as mourners took his body on a stretcher for a final farewell at their home in the Nusseirat refugee camp.

The two teenagers were standing 160-200 feet from the fence at separate protests when they were shot by Israeli forces, according to rights group al-Mezan.

In Gaza City, mourners buried Hamza Ishtiwi. The Health Ministry put his age at 18, but al-Mezan said he was 17.

Gaza's Hamas rulers have organized mass demonstrations along the frontier every Friday since March, in part to protest against the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on the territory imposed when the Islamic militant group seized power in 2007. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed and thousands have been wounded.

A Section on 02/10/2019

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