THAILAND / Thousands flee Bangkok
Tens of thousands of Bangkok residents jammed bus stations and highways Wednesday to flee Thailand's flood-threatened capital as the city's governor ordered official evacuations in two swamped northern districts for the first time since the crisis began. Floodwaters bearing down on the metropolis have killed 373 people nationwide since July, causing billions of dollars in damage and shutting down Bangkok's second largest airport. Many residents appeared to be taking advantage of a government-declared five-day public holiday to avoid a possible watery siege. Authorities were also forced to move hundreds of inmates, many on death row, to facilities in other provinces. Satellite maps of Bangkok showed a city almost entirely surrounded by water as most of the vast pools of runoff now submerging a third of the country are flowing toward Bangkok.
ARGENTINA / 'Angel of Death' gets life
Alfredo Astiz, Argentina's infamous "Blond Angel of Death," and 11 other death squad members from the 1970s were sentenced to life terms Wednesday in one of the country's biggest human rights cases. The 12 were accused of horrific crimes at the ESMA Naval Mechanics School, where about 5,000 dissidents were held and tortured during the 1976-83 "Dirty War" dictatorship. Few of the captives survived. Hundreds of people gathered on the street outside the packed courtroom, applauding at the reading of each sentence and holding up victims' photos.
EGYPT / Cops guilty of lesser crimes
In a verdict that disappointed pro-democracy activists, two policemen who beat a man to death were convicted Wednesday of the lesser charge of manslaughter and given a relatively light sentence in a case that helped spark Egypt's uprising. Relatives of defendants Mahmoud Salah and Awad Ismail Suleiman were still outraged by the sentence of 7 years for each. They smashed benches in the courtroom in the northern port of Alexandria and attacked the uncle and lawyers of the slain man, Khaled Said, 28.