STONE TOWN, Tanzania

Nearly 200 die as heavily loaded boat overturns at sea

Passengers on the boat headed for one of Tanzania’s top tourist destinations said they realized something was wrong when the overnight ferry began to list from side to side.

Then water rushed through and killed the engines, sending the M.V. Spice Islanders upside down and pitching hundreds of people into the deep sea early Saturday morning.

A witness counted nearly 200 bodies, and the president of the nearby island of Zanzibar said more than 570 people were rescued, suggesting the aging boat was overloaded. Some survivors said the boat’s capacity was about 600.

Throughout the day Saturday, police waded through the clear waters to shore, carrying bodies on stretchers, wrapped in brightly colored cloth and blankets. The smallest bundles — the children — they carried in their arms. Tourists on the popular island helped survivors and local charities provided blankets and tea.

It’s unclear how many people were killed or how many people were on the boat when it capsized.

A reporter for ITV, a local television station, said he had seen 189 bodies. The president of Zanzibar, Ali Mohammed Shein, said 572 people had been rescued and declared three days of mourning for the disaster. A survivor, Khamis Mohamed, said it was carrying hundreds more than its official capacity of 600.


Wealthy nations, banks vow $58 billion for Arab countries

Wealthy countries and international lenders promised more money Saturday to encourage democratic reforms in Arab nations, promising at least $58 billion.

After Tunisia and Egypt ousted their authoritarian regimes earlier this year, eight of the world’s most developed economies — along with rich Arab countries and a raft of development banks — had pledged in May to give $40 billion in support to their nascent democracies.

Those uprisings set off a cascade of revolts across the Middle East, and the Group of Eight and others are now increasing their pledges and expanding the recipients to include Morocco and Jordan.

So far, at least $58 billion has been promised to the four countries — $38 billion from development banks through 2013 and more than $20 billion from the G-8 and the wealthy Arab countries.

Saturday’s meeting was notable for its inclusion of Libya, where rebel forces recently took control of most of the country and are working to create a government to replace Moammar Gadhafi’s brutal regime. Libya is not yet officially part of the program but could soon receive funding, said Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Earlier in the day, British Treasury chief George Osborne said officials would also commit to lifting sanctions on Libya, unfreezing its assets, and also “significantly get oil production going as quickly as possible.”

— From news service reports