ANKARA: Eight patients in an intensive care unit died after a fire erupted overnight in a state hospital in northwestern Turkey, Health Minister Recep Akdag said on Tuesday. Women holding babies wrapped in blankets were seen rushing out of the building in the city of Bursa, while a doctor pressed down frantically on the chest of a patient laying motionless on a stretcher, television images showed. The blaze, believed to be sparked by an electrical fault in a basement compound, sent thick smoke through a ventilation shaft to upper floors before being put off, Akdag said in televised remarks after visiting the hospital. — AFP

Epidemic menace

JOHANNESBURG: The Red Cross says Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic is slowing but is still expected to affect the 100,000th person this week. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies says the outbreak is Africa’s worst in more than 15 years and has killed almost 4,300 people since August 2008. The agency has had to scale back emergency measures including distributing water purification chemicals and staffing tent hospitals after receiving a fraction of its needs in donations. It is now asking for $3.44 million to rehabilitate Zimbabwe’s water systems, dig wells and construct latrines. Cholera is usually easy to treat but has managed to spread due to the collapse of Zimbabwe’s water and health infrastructure.-- AP

Sectarian strife

ZAMBOANGA: Muslim rebels on Tuesday bombed a bridge and raided a village on the restive southern Philippine island of Mindananao, the army said. The bridge was hit before dawn near the Muslim village of Lintokan in Maguindanao province, a spokesman said, by attackers who then then burned houses in the nearby village of Reina Regente, forcing residents to flee. The bridge was left impassable for four-wheeled vehicles, said an army spokesman. — AFP