Flood fury in Assam

GUWAHATI: Paramilitary rescue teams were on standby on Friday to assist some 200,000 people whose homes were flooded in three days of nonstop monsoon rain in India's remote northeast, officials said. The situation turned grim on Thursday after the surging waters of the Brahmaputra, one of Asia's largest rivers, breached a 328-foot stretch of a newly built embankment in Lakhimpur district in Assam state. At least 300 villages in the district, about 350 km north of the state capital Guwahati, have been flooded after the breach, Assam Revenue Minister Bhumidhar Barman said. — AP

Relief for victims’ kin

PARIS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy named a special envoy on Friday to liaise with families of victims of the Yemenia crash off the Comoros, after they accused his government of ignoring their needs. Sixty-six French nationals, many from the large French-Comoran community, were among the 153 people on board the Airbus jet that crashed in the Indian Ocean Tuesday. A 12-year-old girl is the only survivor. French-Comorans have accused Paris of giving them less consideration than the families of victims of Air France Flight 447 last month and complained they they were being treated as second-class citizens. — AFP

Tremor rocks Mexico

LA PAZ: An earthquake measuring 6.0 in magnitude shook northwestern Mexico on Friday but caused no damage. The US Geological Survey said in a preliminary report that the quake was sensed at 5:00 am (1100 GMT) in the Gulf of California, about 42 miles (68 kilometers) southwest of Ahome, in Sinaloa state. Residents in regional capital La Paz were seemingly unaware of the temblor, which

was detected in the bay at a depth of 10 kilometers. Emergency units did not receive any calls

for assistance. The last moderate quake in Mexico shook the capital in May, but no injuries or damage was reported. — AFP

Biden in Iraq

BAGHDAD: US Vice President Joe Biden discussed the future of the American mission in Iraq on Friday with the top two US officials there following the withdrawal of most

troops from the cities. It was the vice president's first visit to Baghdad after being appointed to oversee the administration's Iraq policy. Biden's

arrival in Baghdad late Thursday came after all US combat troops were pulled out of Iraq's cities and towns on Tuesday, as part of a security agreement that will see all American soldiers out of the country by

the end of 2011. The US will gradually begin drawing down forces over the coming months until there are

no combat troops left in Iraq by next August. — AP