Missouri levee breach prompts evacuations in Iowa

Posted June 06, 2011, at 12:50 a.m.

Six hundred residents in southwest Iowa were ordered Sunday to evacuate their homes after the Missouri River breached a levee across the border in Missouri.

The evacuation covers nearly half of the town of Hamburg, said Stefanie Bond, spokeswoman for the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Residents, most of them on the south side of the city of 1,141, were told to get out within 24 hours.

Iowa sent a Blackhawk helicopter Sunday to drop roughly 1,000-pound sandbags on the levee, Hill said, adding it was too dangerous to use ground crews. It was not known how long the work would take.

E. coli outbreak blamed on German veggie sprouts

HAMBURG, Germany — The terrifying E. coli outbreak in Europe appears to have been caused by vegetable sprouts grown on an organic farm in Germany, an agriculture official Sunday as the toll climbed to at least 22 dead and more than 2,200 sickened.

Preliminary tests found that bean sprouts and other sprout varieties from the farm in the Uelzen area, between the northern cities of Hamburg and Hannover, could be traced to infections in five German states, Lower Saxony Agriculture Minister Gert Lindemann said.

“There were more and more indications in the last few hours that put the focus on this farm,” Lindemann said.

Many restaurants involved in what is now the deadliest known E. coli outbreak in modern history had received deliveries of the sprouts, which are often used in salads, Lindemann spokesman Gert Hahne told The Associated Press.

Definitive test results should be available Monday, Lindemann said.

Facebook party spins out of control

BERLIN — A teenage girl in Germany who forgot to mark her birthday invitation as private on Facebook fled her own party when more than 1,500 guests showed up and around 100 police officers, some on horses, were needed to keep the crowd under control.

Eleven people were temporarily detained, one police officer was injured, dozens of girls wearing flip-flops cut their feet on broken glass and firefighters had to extinguish two small fires at the 16th birthday party in Hamburg, police spokesman Mirko Streiber said Sunday.

The birthday girl, identified only as Thessa, went into hiding, Streiber said, but “nonetheless the party was a hit.”

Thessa had initially only wanted to ask some friends over to her home in Hamburg-Bramfeld when she posted her invitation on Facebook, but mistakenly she published it so that everyone on Facebook could see it.

The invitation quickly went viral, and some 15,000 people confirmed online they would come to the party — without even knowing the girl, weekly paper Bild am Sonntag reported.

Israeli troops battle protesters in Syria, 20 dead

MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights — Israeli troops on Sunday battled hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters who tried to burst across Syria’s frontier with the Golan Heights, killing a reported 20 people and wounding scores more in the second outbreak of deadly violence in the border area in less than a month.

The clashes, marking the anniversary of the Arab defeat in the 1967 Mideast war, drew Israeli accusations that Syria was orchestrating the violence to shift attention away from a bloody crackdown on opposition protests at home. The marchers, who had organized on Facebook, passed by Syrian and U.N. outposts on their way to the front lines.

“The Syrian government is trying to create a provocation,” said Israel’s chief military spokesman, Brig. Gen. Yoav Mordechai. “This border has been quiet for decades, but only now with all the unrest in Syrian towns is there an attempt to draw attention to the border.”

Human rights groups say President Bashar Assad’s forces killed at least 25 people in northern Syria over the weekend, and another 65 activists were killed in the central city of Hama on Friday, as anti-government protests spread through the country demanding his resignation.

 

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