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India and Pakistan open fifth Kashmir crossing

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - India and Pakistan have opened the fifth and final crossing along the de facto border splitting earthquake-ravaged Kashmir but allowed only humanitarian supplies across.

Indian and Pakistani officials greeted each other at the crossing opening Wednesday.

"The Hajipir-Uri crossing on the Line of Control (Loc) in Kashmir opened today," a Pakistani military official told AFP.

Hajipir is on the Pakistani side and Uri is in the Indian zone.

Both sides exchanged relief items including blankets and rations at the crossing, which was to remain open until 1000 GMT, the official said.

The neighbours agreed to open five crossing points to aid humanitarian efforts following the October 8 quake that killed over 73,000 people in Pakistan and its part of Kashmir and 1,300 people in Indian Kashmir.


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UN, Britain launch big Pakistan quake airlift

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United Nations and British military launched an airlift on Wednesday to move hundreds of tonnes of food and shelter to earthquake survivors high in Pakistan's mountains to ensure they survive the winter.

Two Royal Air Force Chinook transport helicopters hovered low over an air strip on the outskirts of the ruined city of Muzaffarabad while a British military team on the ground hooked up nets filled with supplies.

The aircraft soon clattered into a sunny, late-autumn sky, headed for a remote valley to the northeast, their loads swinging below them.


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Quake not to hurt Pakistan growth: PM

ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan's economic growth will survive the massive devastation caused by last month's South Asian earthquake, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said in an interview published here.

Growth in the fiscal year to June 2006 will slow only slightly as rebuilding work starts in the disaster zone, staying close to the pre-quake government target of 6.4 percent, Aziz told the Wall Street Journal.

Aziz, who is also finance minister, said the quake's economic impact was limited because it struck one of Pakistan's poorest areas, where most people live as susbsistence farmers and where there was little industry to destroy.



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US business leaders, envoy visit quake zone

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - U.S. goodwill envoy Karen Hughes and three of America's top business leaders flew to the heart of Pakistan's earthquake zone on Monday to see first hand the urgent need for more aid.

The delegation was sent by U.S. President George W. Bush to raise awareness of the scale of the suffering and acute need for shelter, food, sanitation and health care in the mountains of Pakistani Kashmir as winter closes in on the region.

The group, including the chief executive of the world's largest drug maker, Pfizer Inc., arrived in a U.S. military helicopter amid the ruins of Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir.


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Stranded Travelers Return From Pakistan

SRINAGAR, India - India and Pakistan briefly opened their disputed border in Kashmir on Monday to allow 16 people stranded by last month's earthquake to return home.

NATO forces set up winter shelters high in the mountains of Pakistan's earthquake zone, as doctors rushed to immunize children against measles and other diseases before snows cut off remote areas.

Working with Pakistan's army, NATO teams planned to operate at altitudes above 5,000 feet for as long as weather allowed, NATO said in a statement.


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U.N. ramps up airlift for quake survivors

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) - The United Nations will launch a major air operation this week to ferry food and other supplies to earthquake survivors high in Pakistan's mountains in a frantic bid to beat the problems of winter.

Britain has supplied three Chinook transport helicopters that will fly up to 200 tonnes of supplies a day into the mountains for five days from Tuesday, said senior U.N. official Pat Duggan.

"It's a huge acceleration in our ability to cover the needs in these areas," Duggan told Reuters in Muzaffarabad, the ruined capital of Pakistani Kashmir, on Monday.


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India & Pakistan open fourth Kashmir crossing

ON THE LINE OF CONTROL (AFP) - India and Pakistan opened a fourth crossing along the de facto border splitting earthquake-ravaged Kashmir but allowed only humanitarian supplies across and not civilians.

Indian officials say they expect the first Kashmiris to cross the border known as the Line of Control soon but the two sides have not yet set a date.

Indian and Pakistani officials smiled and shook hands at the crossing opening.

"The Tatta Pani-Mendher crossing on the Line of Control in Kashmir opened at 10:30 am (0530 GMT)," a senior Pakistani military official said in the area. Tatta Pani is on the Pakistani side and Mendher is in the Indian zone.


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New York’s firefighters in Kashmir

(CBS) New York’s firefighters are called the city’s “bravest.” The city’s police are its “finest.” Now, 13 paramedics could be dubbed the city’s “kindest” for traveling to Pakistan on their own accord and leaving their jobs and paychecks to save the lives of earthquake victims who had no other medical help.

“We’re saving lives, many lives, every single day,” says Joe Connelly, one of the paramedics. “As a paramedic in New York City, once in a while you have a direct influence on life and death. Here it’s happening every half an hour.”


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Police Break Up Protest by Quake Survivors

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan - Pakistani police used bamboo canes and rifle butts to break up a march Friday by survivors of the Oct. 8 earthquake who were protesting their eviction from a makeshift camp. Several people were injured.

The violence broke out as about 200 people marched through a street in central Muzaffarabad, the quake-ravaged capital of Pakistani-held Kashmir. Some 50 police blocked the protesters' path, then began dispersing the crowd with rifle butts and canes.



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Diarrhea outbreak sweeps quake survivors' camp

MUZAFFARABAD, Pakistan -- Health workers rushed Wednesday to contain an outbreak of acute diarrhea afflicting hundreds of earthquake survivors at a crowded, unsanitary camp on a soccer field here in the capital of Pakistan's part of Kashmir.


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