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Originally published July 25, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 25, 2007 at 2:04 AM

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World Digest

Death toll climbs from Southern Europe heat wave

Southern Europe sizzled under a heat wave Tuesday, with temperatures hitting triple digits for a seventh day in Romania, blazes forcing...

Bucharest, Romania

Southern Europe sizzled under a heat wave Tuesday, with temperatures hitting triple digits for a seventh day in Romania, blazes forcing the evacuation of tourists in Croatia and Italy and wildfires in Macedonia and Greece exploding shells from long-ago wars. At least 35 heat-related deaths were reported.

At least 27 people have died in Romania since last week, with 12 deaths reported Monday, said Health Minister Eugen Nicolaescu. The victims were all older than 70, he said.

As temperatures in Bucharest hit 105 on Tuesday, heavy use of air-conditioning caused power outages, and Finance Minister Varujan Vosganian said energy consumption had surged by more than 50 percent.

Dozens of fires raged in central and southern Italy, destroying hundreds of acres of forest, amid high temperatures and winds. Two charred bodies were found in a burned car in Puglia, while two other people were suffocated by smoke on a nearby beach, the ANSA news agency said.

In Macedonia, where temperatures reached 107 degrees, wildfires exploded some World War I shells, said Kostadin Popovski, head of an army mine division. Old ordnance also exploded in northern Greece.

Havana

8 Americans finish medical studies

Eight U.S. students graduated from a Cuban medical school Tuesday and said they planned to put six years of education paid for by Fidel Castro's communist government to use in hospitals back home.

The four New Yorkers, three Californians and a Minnesota native, all from minority backgrounds, began studying in Havana in April 2001. They are the first class of Americans to graduate from the Latin American School of Medicine since Castro offered free training to U.S. students seven years ago.

U.S. authorities have suggested it is unclear whether Americans who receive medical training in Cuba can meet licensing requirements in the United States.

São Paulo, Brazil

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Flights scaled back at troubled airport

Citing safety concerns over heavy rain and a short runway, TAM airlines canceled or diverted about 90 flights Tuesday at São Paulo's main airport, where one of the carrier's planes crashed in the rain last week, killing 199 people.

Other airlines continued to fly in and out of Congonhas Airport — one of Brazil's busiest — but it was periodically closed by authorities to all traffic during the rain. Before last week's crash, Congonhas handled about 600 takeoffs and landings a day.

TAM's flight cancellations and the airport's shutdowns had a ripple effect, as more than half of all flights in Brazil were delayed or canceled for the third straight day.

Also

Four climbers — women from New Zealand, France and Chile, and a man from Britain — died of cold and exhaustion after losing their way on snow-capped Mont Blanc in the French Alps, police said Tuesday. The victims' identities were not released.

Seattle Times news services

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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