Tomas floods stricken town, forcing families to flee again

Hurricane Tomas flooded the earthquake-shattered remains of a Haitian town on Friday, forcing families who had already lost their homes in one disaster to flee another. In the country’s capital, quake refugees resisted calls to abandon flimsy tarp and tent camps.

Driving winds and storm surge battered Leogane, a seaside town west of Port-au-Prince that was near the epicenter of the Jan. 12 earthquake and was 90 percent destroyed. Dozens of families in one earthquake-refuge camp carried their belongings through thigh-high water to a taxi post on high ground, waiting out the rest of the storm under blankets and a sign that read “Welcome to Leogane.”

At least three people died trying to cross swollen rivers, Haiti civil protection officials said. The hurricane had earlier killed at least 14 people in the eastern Caribbean.

LIMA, Peru

Convicted rebel collaborator wins release from prison

A Peruvian judge has ordered that convicted rebel collaborator Lori Berenson be released from prison.

The 40-year-old New York woman received the news without showing emotion.

She had been paroled in May after serving three-quarters of a 20-year sentence but was returned to a Lima woman’s prison in mid-August on a technicality.


Former prime minister eulogized, laid to rest

Former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin was laid to rest Friday after an emotional eulogy by Vladimir Putin.

Chernomyrdin saw Russia through the tumultuous 1990s and engineered the creation of Gazprom, now the world’s biggest gas company. He died Wednesday at the age of 72 of an undisclosed illness.

Chernomyrdin served as prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin from 1992 to 1998, a period of economic hardship and political turmoil as a bankrupted Russia struggled to recreate itself as a democracy and market economy after the Soviet collapse.


WikiLeaks founder may ask for asylum in Switzerland

The founder of WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowers’ Web site, said Friday he may apply for asylum in Switzerland, claiming he and his group have come under increasing pressure since releasing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. military documents.

Julian Assange told reporters he was “still looking into the process” of requesting asylum, but was considering the Alpine country because “the Swiss have a history of fierce independence.”

In October, Sweden denied Assange’s application for a residence permit. The 39-year-old Australian had sought to establish a base for WikiLeaks in Sweden to take advantage of its laws protecting whistle-blowers.

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia

Asian man seeks protection after traveling in disguise

A young Asian man who boarded an Air Canada flight in Hong Kong elaborately disguised as an elderly white male is seeking refugee status in Canada in what border officials are calling an “unbelievable case of concealment.”

An internal intelligence alert from the Canadian Border Service shows before-and-after photos, and describes how the man boarded the flight in Hong Kong on Oct. 29 wearing a remarkable silicone mask to make him look like an elderly man.

Border officials said the man later admitted to officials that he had boarded the flight with the mask on and had removed it several hours later. It says they believe the man and another man performed a boarding pass swap. The government official said a U.S. passport was also involved.