TPM World News

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Tens of thousands of nationalists marched in a demonstration organized by far-right groups in Warsaw Saturday, as Poles celebrated their country’s Independence Day.

The far-right march was one of many events marking Poland’s rebirth as a nation in 1918 after being wiped off the map for 123 years. Earlier in the day, President Andrzej Duda presided over state ceremonies also attended by European Union president Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister.

But the march has become the largest Independence Day event in recent years, overshadowing official state observances and other patriotic events. Some participants expressed sympathy for xenophobic or white supremacist ideas, with one banner reading, “White Europe of brotherly nations.”

Participants marched under the slogan “We Want God,” words from an old Polish religious song that President Donald Trump quoted from during a visit to Warsaw earlier this year. Speakers spoke of standing against liberals and defending Christian values.

Many carried the national white-and-red flag as others set off flares and firecrackers, filling the air with red smoke. Some also carried banners depicting a falanga, a far-right symbol dating to the 1930s.

Police estimated that 60,000 people took part, and said there were no reports of violence. Many were young men, some with their faces covered or with beer bottles in hand, but families and older Poles also participated.

The march has become one of the largest such demonstration in Europe, and on Saturday it drew far-right leaders from elsewhere in Europe, including Tommy Robinson from Britain and Roberto Fiore from Italy.

State broadcaster TVP, which reflects the conservative government’s line, called it a “great march of patriots,” and in its broadcasts described the event as one that drew mostly regular Poles expressing their love of Polands, not extremists.

“It was a beautiful sight,” Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said. “We are proud that so many Poles have decided to take part in a celebration connected to the Independence Day holiday.”

A smaller counter-protest by an anti-fascist movement also took place. Organizers kept the two groups apart to prevent violence.

Independence Day marks Poland regaining its sovereignty at the end of World War I after being partitioned and ruled since the late 18th century by Russia, Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Duda oversaw ceremonies at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, walking past a military guard before the raising of the flags and cannon salutes. After delivering a speech he took part in a wreath-laying ceremony, kneeling and crossing himself at the monument to all unknown soldiers killed fighting for the country.

Tusk, who attended at Duda’s invitation, also paid his respects at the monument.
Ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski noted that Poland has not always been fully independent since 1918, a reference to Germany’s occupation during World War II and the decades spent under Moscow’s direction during the Cold War.

Still, he said: “The Polish state was internationally recognized the whole time and that is a great achievement.”

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TALLINN, Estonia (AP) — A Danish inventor has admitted dismembering a Swedish journalist who disappeared from his home-made submarine in August and has changed his story about how she died, but still denies killing her, police investigating the bizarre case said Monday.

According to Copenhagen police, Peter Madsen now says Kim Wall died as result of carbon monoxide poisoning inside the submarine while he was on deck. Previously he had said she died after being accidentally hit by a heavy hatch in the submarine’s tower.

“This explanation (by Madsen) naturally will lead the police into gathering additional statements from the coroner and the armed forces’ submarine experts,” said Copenhagen police investigator Jens Moller Jensen.

Police say Madsen acknowledged he dismembered her body and threw it into Koge Bay southwest of Copenhagen.

Wall’s torso was found on a southern Copenhagen coast in late August, and her head, legs and clothes were found at sea this month. No fractures to Wall’s skull were found that would have supported the claim that she was killed by the hatch.

Wall was working on a story about Madsen and was last seen aboard his home-made submarine Nautilus as it left Copenhagen in August.

The next day, Madsen was rescued from the sinking submarine without Wall. Police believe he deliberately sank the vessel.

Madsen’s pre-trial detention is set to expire Tuesday but police said no new hearing will be held as the 46-year-old has voluntarily agreed to remain in detention.

Madsen is currently charged with murder and mutilating Wall’s body. Police said Monday that the charges have now been extended to include sexual assault without intercourse. An examination of Wall’s torso revealed wounds to her genitals and ribcage that were believed to have been caused during her death or shortly after.

“We’re taking an approach that there exists a sexual motive,” Jensen told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

Police have finished an unsuccessful search for the phones of Madsen and Wall in the past weeks but said they are mulling reactivating that search if needed.

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VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — A Dutch forensic team arrived in Malta on Tuesday to help investigate the car bomb slaying of a journalist who scrutinized the country’s top politicians and other powerful figures, an official said, as angry Maltese demanded the truth about who killed the anti-corruption crusader.

Maltese Home Minister Michael Farrugia said that FBI agents will also be sent to the Mediterranean island in the coming days to assist police in Monday’s killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia, 53, who exposed Maltese links to offshore tax havens through the Panama Paper leaks.

“My mother was assassinated because she stood between the rule of law and those who sought to violate it, like many strong journalists,” her son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, himself an investigative journalist, wrote on Facebook. “But she was also targeted because she was the only person doing so. This is what happens when the institutions of the state are incapacitated.”

It was unclear who might have engineered the bombing. Her car exploded, spinning in the air and landing as a fiery hulk in a field, right after she left her home Monday afternoon.

Her son Matthew, who was part of a Pulitzer-Prize-winning consortium behind the Panama Papers leaks, wrote: “I am never going to forget, running around the inferno in the field, trying to figure out a way to open the door, the horn of the car still blaring, screaming at two policemen who showed up with a single fire extinguisher to use it.”

“They stared at me. ‘I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do,’ one of them said. I looked down and there were my mother’s body parts all around me,” he recounted.

One of the topics she probed grew out of revelations from the 2016 Panama Papers leak. She wrote that the wife of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, the country’s energy minister and the government’s chief of staff had offshore holdings in Panama to receive money from Azerbaijan.

The Muscats denied they had companies in Panama. The minister and chief of staff denied that the Panama companies were opened to receive money from Azerbaijan and filed libel suits against the journalist.

Ordinary Maltese, many of whom made Daphne Caruana Galizia’s blog, Running Commentary, the first thing they read daily on the 400,000-population island nation, were shocked and angered.

Outside Malta’s Law Courts, about 200 people held an hour-long sit-in to call for justice for the slain journalist in the capital, Valletta. Graffiti quoting the last words she wrote — “There are crooks everywhere you look” — were written on one of Malta’s major roads Tuesday.

In posts to online newspaper coverage, Maltese expressed hope her death could be a turning point in a national narrative they see as riddled with corruption.

A tax haven, Malta’s financial institutions have a reputation as a convenient place in the middle of the Mediterranean to move questionably earned money or to avoid taxes.

Matthew Caruana Galizia, one of the slain woman’s three sons, contended that a “culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish by the government of Malta.” He added: “If the institutions were already working, there would be no assassination to investigate — and my brothers and I would still have a mother.”

On the European mainland, several EU lawmakers echoed similar concerns.

EU parliamentarian Sven Giegold, a spokesman for the Greens in the European Parliament’s Committee of Inquiry on money laundering and tax evasion, demanded that the EU scrutinize Malta.

“The murder of a courageous journalist who has been fighting with corrupt elites in her country must lead to a European outcry,” Giegold said. In a statement, the lawmaker described Malta as a “mecca for money launderers and tax avoiders.”

In Italy, a senator from the populist 5-Star Movement, Mario Michele Giarrusso, noted that the Italian Parliament’s anti-Mafia commission was coming on a money-laundering fact-finding visit to Malta on Oct. 23-24, a previously scheduled mission.

The car bomb, Giarrusso contended, was meant to “shut Daphne Caruana Galizia’s mouth” before the commission arrived.

Malta is experiencing an exponential expansion in online gaming businesses as well as financial services businesses.

Italian prosecutors who specialize in organized crime investigations have been warning for years that Italy’s powerful crime syndicates are increasingly laundering illicit revenues through the financial services sector. They have also said the Naples-area Camorra syndicate has heavily infiltrated online gaming in Italy and beyond.

Italy’s national organized crime prosecutor, Franco Roberti, told reporters in Milan that the Maltese slaying reminded him of the 2006 killing of Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaja. Noting Malta was an EU member, Roberti said it was imperative that the truth come out.

“Europe can’t tolerate that a journalist who denounces corruption is killed,” Italian news agency ANSA quoted Roberti as saying.

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MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — More than 300 people were killed in the weekend truck bombing in Somalia’s capital and scores remained missing, authorities said Monday, as the fragile Horn of Africa nation reeled from one of the world’s worst attacks in years.

As funerals continued, the government said the death toll was expected to rise.

Nearly 400 people were injured in the bombing Saturday that targeted a crowded street in Mogadishu. Somalia’s government blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab, though the Islamic extremist group has not claimed responsibility for the attack. A new statement by the SITE Intelligence Group said al-Shabab posted claims of responsibility as recently as Monday for other attacks on Somali and African Union forces — but not for Saturday’s blast.

Still, analysts said there was little doubt the Islamic extremist group carried out the bombing, one of the deadliest in sub-Saharan Africa. “No other group in Somalia has the capacity to put together a bomb of this size, in this nature,” said Matt Bryden, a security consultant on the Horn of Africa.

Nearly 70 people remained missing, based on accounts from relatives, said police Capt. Mohamed Hussein. He said many bodies were burned to ashes in the attack.

As the death toll rose to 302, overwhelmed hospitals in Mogadishu were struggling to treat badly wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition. Exhausted doctors struggled to keep their eyes open as the screams from victims and bereaved families echoed in the halls.

Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, al-Shabab has waged war in Somalia for more than a decade, often targeting high-profile areas of the capital. Earlier this year, it vowed to step up attacks after both the Trump administration and Somalia’s recently elected Somali-American president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, announced new military efforts against the group.

After Saturday’s attack, Mohamed declared three days of mourning and joined thousands of people who responded to a plea by hospitals to donate blood.

Meanwhile, a Turkish military plane carrying 35 critically wounded people arrived in the Turkish capital, Ankara, where they were taken to hospitals for treatment. Countries including Kenya and Ethiopia have offered to send medical aid in response to what Somali’s government called a “national disaster,” Information Minister Abdirahman Osman said. A plane carrying a medical team from Djibouti also arrived to evacuate the wounded, according to health ministry official Mohamed Ahmed.

Mogadishu, a city long accustomed to deadly bombings by al-Shabab, was stunned by the force of Saturday’s blast. The explosion shattered hopes of recovery in an impoverished country left fragile by decades of conflict, and it again raised doubts over the government’s ability to secure the seaside city of more than 2 million people.

The United States condemned the bombing, saying “such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.” It tweeted a photo of its charge d’affaires in Somalia donating blood. But the U.S. Africa Command said U.S. forces had not been asked to provide aid. Pentagon spokesman Col. Robert Manning said Monday the U.S. currently has about 400 troops in Somalia, adding “we’re not going to speculate” about sending more.

The U.S. military has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against al-Shabab, which is also fighting the Somali military and over 20,000 African Union forces in the country.

Saturday’s blast occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s president, and two days after the country’s defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.

The United Nations special envoy to Somalia called the attack “revolting.” Michael Keating said the U.N. and African Union were supporting the Somali government’s response with “logistical support, medical supplies and expertise.”

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KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — At least five civilians were wounded when several rockets were fired toward Kabul international airport in the Afghan capital, officials said Wednesday. The attack came as U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg were in town for a visit.

Najib Danish, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry, said one rocket stuck a home near the airport, wounding the five victims. He said one victim was a woman who was “not in a good health condition.”

Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, claimed responsibility for the attack on his official Twitter account.

Danish said Afghan security forces surrounded an area where they suspected the rockets might have been fired. “A search operation is underway in the area by police units,” he said.

Tumor Shah Hamedi, director of Kabul airport, said all flights were halted as result of the attack.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said during a joint news conference with Mattis and Stoltenberg at the presidential palace that special forces troops brought the attack under control. Mattis called the attack “a crime” during the news conference, which was broadcast live.

Both Mattis and Stoltenberg have pledged continued support for Afghanistan and vowed to do everything possible so the country “doesn’t again become a safe haven for international terrorists.”

Stoltenberg said NATO is aware of “the cost of staying in Afghanistan, but the cost of leaving would be even higher.” He said “if NATO forces leave too soon, there is a risk that Afghanistan may return to a state of chaos and once again become a safe haven for international terrorism.”

Stoltenberg also said NATO was committed to funding the Afghan security forces until at least 2020, and would continue to provide them almost a $1 billion each year.

Ghani said the Taliban can choose either align with international terrorism or renounce violence and join a peace process with the government.

Mattis said Washington supports a negotiated settlement between the Taliban and Afghanistan. “The sooner the Taliban recognizes they cannot win with bombs, the sooner the killing will end,” he said.

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that women will be allowed to drive for the first time in the ultra-conservative kingdom next summer, fulfilling a key demand of women’s rights activists who faced detention for defying the ban.

The kingdom was the only the country in the world to bar women from driving and for years had garnered negative publicity internationally for detaining women who defied the ban.

The move, which has been welcomed by the United States, represents a significant opening for women in Saudi Arabia, where women’s rights have steadily and slowly gained ground over the years. Saudi women remain largely under the whim of male relatives due to guardianship laws.

King Salman and his young son and heir, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have tested the waters though, allowing women into the country’s main stadium in the capital, Riyadh, for national day celebrations this month. The stadium had previously been reserved for all-male crowds to watch sporting events. The king and his son have also opened the country to more entertainment and fun.

Women’s rights activists since the 1990s have been pushing for the right to drive, saying it represents their larger struggle for equal rights under the law.

Some ultraconservative clerics in Saudi Arabia, who wield power and influence in the judiciary and education sectors, had warned against allowing women to drive. They argued it would corrupt society and lead to sin.

Women in Saudi Arabia have long had to rely on male relatives to get to work, run errands and simply move around. The more affluent have male drivers and more recently, in major cities, women could access ride hailing apps like Uber and Careem.

The state-run Saudi Press Agency and state TV reported the news late Tuesday evening, saying King Salman decreed that both men and women to be issued drivers’ licenses.

Women, however, will not be allowed to obtain licenses immediately. A committee will be formed to look into how to implement the new order, which is slated to come into effect in June 2018.

The kingdom had held out on allowing women to drive, despite a number of social openings and gains for women, including granting women the right to vote and run in elections for the first time in late 2015.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. is “happy” with the move, calling it “a great step in the right direction for that country.” She did not comment on whether Saudi Arabia still needs to do more to ensure full rights for its female citizens.

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MOSCOW (AP) — In its latest attempt to wrest control of the Internet, Russia’s communications agency on Tuesday threatened to block access to Facebook if the company refuses to store its data locally.

Alexander Zharov, chief of the Federal Communications Agency, told Russian news agencies on Tuesday that they will work to “make Facebook comply with the law” on personal data, which obliges foreign companies to store it in Russia. Critics have slammed the law, which went into effect in 2015, for potentially exposing the data to Russian intelligence agencies.

Zharov said that the Russian government understands Facebook is a “unique service” but said it will not make exceptions and will have to block it next year if Facebook does not comply.

Last year, Russia blocked business-focused social network LinkedIn after a court ruled it violated the law on data storage. LinkedIn is available in Russia only if accessed via proxy servers.

In the most recent step to crack down on Internet freedom, Russia’s parliament in July outlawed the use of virtual private networks, or VPNs, and other Internet proxy services, citing concerns about the spread of extremist materials. Russians use VPNs to access blocked content such as LinkedIn by routing connections through servers outside the country.

The law obliging companies to store personal data about Russian citizens in Russia has been applied selectively since it came into force two years ago. It has been widely viewed as the Kremlin’s attempt to expand control over the Internet. Russian Internet freedom activists have urged international tech companies to reject the government’s calls to give them access to personal data, saying that this would undermine cybersecurity for millions of Russian users.

Leonid Levin, chair of the parliamentary committee on communications and information policy, in comments carried by the Interfax news agency on Tuesday expressed hope that “it would not come to” blocking Facebook and that Russian authorities would be able to negotiate with the U.S. company.

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Every night since Hurricane Maria hit, Miguel Martinez and his family have slept on mattresses on the porch to escape the heat inside their dark, stifling home. But it’s nearly impossible to sleep with temperatures in the high 70s.

At least once a night they climb to the roof to catch a hint of breeze. Then the 51-year-old construction worker, his three children and one grandchild climb back down again.

“It’s a heat from hell,” Martinez said. “We don’t have a generator or a fan. We have nothing. The children get desperate. You want just a little bit of cold water, but there’s none.”

The power is still out on nearly all of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria smashed poles, snarled power lines and flooded electricity-generating plants, knocking out a grid that was already considered antiquated compared to the U.S. mainland. Generators are providing power to the fortunate few who have them, but nearly all the island’s 1.6 million electricity customers were still without power Monday and facing many, many hot days and dark nights to come.

Power had been restored to a handful of hospitals and surrounding areas by Monday afternoon but Public Affairs Secretary Ramon Rosario said it will take months to fully restore power to the island.

Authorities are still figuring out the extent of the damage, let alone beginning to repair it.

Utility workers from New York have arrived to help assess the damage, while airplanes and barges are bringing in more generators.

Getting the power back isn’t just a matter of comfort. A long delay will mean even more pain for a Puerto Rican economy that’s already reeling from a decade-long recession. With no power, even more people will leave the island to find better opportunities on the mainland and further drain its workforce. The downed power system is also damaging the tourism industry, which contributed 8 percent to Puerto Rico’s economy last year.

The overwhelming smell of rotting garbage wafted through a working-class part of the Santurce section of San Juan, where 46-year-old construction worker Rafael Santana spent the night in front of a single fan thanks to a neighbor with a generator who was kind enough to throw over a cable so he could have power from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

By 8 a.m., Santana’s forehead was beaded with sweat as he left home to seek out some shade nearby.

Roberto Ruiz, a 50-year-old handyman, handed a chilled bottle of water that his daughter brought home from her job, which has power, to a neighbor seeking something to drink.

“Look at this! Cold water!” exclaimed 70-year-old Jose Luis Burgos as he took the bottle and looked at it, mesmerized. “We are suffering here.”

Ruiz said he jumps into the shower several times a day to cool off, letting water drip over his body instead of drying off afterward. He also leaves his windows open, which led to another problem: “Now the mosquitoes don’t leave me alone.”

Most people have thrown open their doors and windows, anxious to feel a breeze amid the oppressive heat.

Six-month-old Rafshliany Cortijo wore only diapers as she sat in a swing placed in an open doorway. She smiled as she slowly swung back and forth.

“I bathe her six times a day,” said Franchesca Rivera, the baby’s 31-year-old mother. “She sweats a lot.”

Mother and daughter sleep on the porch at night along with Rivera’s son to stave off the heat since they don’t have a generator or a battery-powered fan.

Nelida Morales, a 49-year-old nanny, said her house becomes an oven during the day because three big trees that once shaded it were uprooted by the storm.

“We can’t go to the rivers because of floodwaters. And the beach is out of reach,” Morales said as sweat beaded on her upper lip.

Puerto Rico’s power plants were not severely damaged, according to Gov. Ricardo Rossello. However, 80 percent of the island’s transmission lines are down, and Rossello said it would take up to two years to completely rebuild the infrastructure under normal conditions. He said the plan is to restore power with some quick fixes to the network and then gradually strengthen it to avoid problems like blackouts and make it less vulnerable to future storms.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or PREPA, has more than 2,400 miles of major transmission lines and more than 30,000 miles of smaller distribution wires that connect homes and businesses to the grid. Much of the network is down.

Officials hoped to use helicopters and drones to get a better look and help them decide where to send repair crews first.

Unlike Texas and Florida, where Hurricanes Harvey and Irma knocked out power grids this summer, workers from other utilities on the U.S. mainland can’t hop in trucks and drive to Puerto Rico. By Monday afternoon the main airport in San Juan was not yet operating normally, which is slowing the airlift of crews, generators and other equipment.

Even before Maria hit, the power authority said it needed more than $4 billion to upgrade its infrastructure after years of under-investment left it with an inefficient and unreliable system. Its fleet of power plants has a median age of 44 years; the average age across the United States is 18 years.

The power authority already had more than $9 billion in debt when it filed for what is essentially bankruptcy protection in July. It was weakened by the island’s long recession, which sapped demand for electricity, but it also struggled to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid bills.

Last year, consultants hired by the Puerto Rico Energy Commission wrote a scathing report about the power authority, noting that outages occurred four or five times more often than at mainland U.S. utilities because of a history of neglecting maintenance.

“It is difficult to overstate the level of disrepair or operational neglect at PREPA’s generation facilities,” wrote consultants from Synapse Energy Economics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They said that frequently there were “simple failures that blossom into crises.”

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — As many as 360 buildings and homes are in danger of collapse or with major damage in Mexico City nearly a week after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake completely collapsed 38 structures.

The risk of delayed collapse is real: The cupola of Our Lady of Angels Church, damaged and cracked by the Sept. 19 quake, split in half and crashed to the ground Sunday evening. There were no injuries.

Nervous neighbors continued calling in police on Monday as apparently new cracks appeared in their apartment blocks or existing ones worsened, even as the city struggled to get back to normality.

Officials said they had cleared only 103 of Mexico City’s nearly 9,000 schools to reopen Monday and said it could be two to three weeks before all were declared safe — leaving hundreds of thousands of children idle.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said at least seven schools were among the buildings thought to be at risk of tumbling.

At several points in the city, employees gathered on sidewalks in front of their workplaces Monday refusing to enter, because they feared their buildings could collapse.

“We are afraid for our own safety,” said Maribel Martinez Ramirez, an employee of a government development agency who, along with dozens of coworkers, refused to enter their workplace Monday. “The building is leaning, there are cracks.”

Mancera said 360 “red level” buildings would either have to be demolished or receive major structural reinforcement. Another 1,136 were reparable, and 8,030 of the buildings inspected so far were found to be habitable.

Search teams were still digging through dangerous piles of rubble Monday, hoping against the odds to find survivors. The city has accounted for 186 of the 325 dead nationwide.

On Sunday, marines retried what is believed to be the last body from a collapsed school on the city’s south side where a total of 26 people — 7 adults and 19 children — were crushed by a fallen wing of the school.

But like at other sites where there is little likelihood of finding anyone alive, the marines vowed to continue searching — avoiding use of demolition or heavy machinery — until “there is full certainty, duly certified by the appropriate authorities, that there is nobody left, alive or dead, in the collapsed building.

Still, the smell of rotting corpses increasingly hung over the largest remaining search site near the city’s center.

While no one has been found alive since Wednesday, relatives of the trapped, anxious to cling to any hope of rescue, won injunctions against actions that could cause the ruins to collapse further.

The federal judiciary council said Sunday that court injunctions for seven points around the city prevent authorities from using backhoes or bulldozers to remove rubble, in order to allow “search and rescue operations to continue …. to preserve the life of people who may be among the remains of the structures.”

As darkness fell Sunday, prayers were held by families of the missing who have been gathered near the collapsed office building near downtown.

Hugo Luna, whose cousin Erika Gabriela Albarran was believed trapped in the fallen building, complained that officials had not immediately informed families when two bodies were removed Saturday night. “There is a lot of distrust of authorities,” he said.

His aunt, who was also inside the building when the quake hit but escaped, is traumatized, he said.

“Nothing happened to her, but now she has panic attacks,” Luna said. “You open the door, she hears a noise and she gets scared.”

One by one, other searches have closed down in recent days, after sniffer dogs were sent in and didn’t find life and thermal imaging devices turned up no body heat signatures. Heavy machinery moved in to begin removing the mountains of debris. Empty lots began to appear where just days ago a building stood.

Isaac Garcia, spokesman for the neighbors on the southern side of the city, said they had maintained a good relationship with the navy and civil defense authorities running the search. But he said they obtained the injunction “to make sure that we had something based in law to protect us.”

Their hopes were kindled slightly Sunday when members of a Japanese search and rescue team pulled a small white dog alive from the rubble, cradling and petting it as they brought it down.

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Search teams were still digging in dangerous piles of rubble Monday, hoping against the odds to find survivors at collapsed buildings in Mexico City, where the death toll from the Sept. 19 earthquake rose to 186, and 324 nationwide.

Officials said they had cleared only 103 of Mexico City’s nearly 9,000 schools to reopen Monday.

The need to inspect 98 percent of the capital’s public and private schools nearly a week after a magnitude 7.1 earthquake killed at least 182 people in the city and 138 in nearby states was a stark indicator of just how long the path back to normalcy will be.

Federal Education Secretary Aurelio Nuno said it could take a couple more weeks to inspect all of the schools, and the government will announce each day which schools have been cleared to resume classes. For schools found to have structural damage, students could be put in temporary classrooms.

“For the safety of the boys, the girls, the teachers and for the peace of mind, of course, of all the fathers and all the mothers, all schools will be inspected,” Nuno said.

Rescue operations aimed at finding living survivors remained active in at least three sites in Mexico City — two apartment buildings and an office building — but hope dimmed every time rescuers had to retreat due to instability of debris. But no one has been found alive since Wednesday, when a woman was pulled from debris.

As darkness fell Sunday, prayers were held by families who have been gathered near the collapsed office hoping missing relatives will be found. A crowd of onlookers watching swelled, and so did the number of volunteer workers. Teachers at one corner tried to entertain children of some of the waiting families. There also appeared to be more people offering psychological support.

Hugo Luna, whose cousin Erika Gabriela Albarran was believed trapped in the fallen building, complained that officials had not immediately informed families when two bodies were removed Saturday night. “There is a lot of distrust of authorities,” he said.

His aunt, who was also inside the building when the quake hit but escaped, is traumatized, he said.

“Nothing happened to her, but now she has panic attacks,” Luna said. “You open the door, she hears a noise and she gets scared.”

For the family of Adrian Moreno, a missing 26-year-old human resources worker at an accounting firm, the emotional roller coaster is getting to be too much. Moreno’s mother had a look of anguish and largely stopped being able to speak. His boyfriend, Dario Hernandez, also looked lost, his gaze tear-stained and unfocused.

“Just hearing the earthquake alarm was horrible,” Hernandez said of a siren that rang during a 6.1 quake Saturday morning that was an aftershock of an even bigger temblor that struck in southern Mexico on Sept. 7.

Looking at the huge pile of rubble, Hernandez started to comment. “Something moves and …,” he said, his voice trailing away at the unspeakable thought that the whole pile could suddenly collapse.

“There is a lot of nervousness, a lot of desperation,” he finally said. “… This is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life, the worst.”

A total of 38 buildings in the Mexican capital — mostly apartment blocks or office buildings — collapsed in Tuesday’s earthquake.

The first days saw a dramatic scramble with picks, shovels and bare hands to reach survivors, and well over 100 were saved.

Thousands of people are homeless because their houses or apartment buildings, while still standing, are too dangerous.

Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said 7,649 damaged properties had been examined so far and 87 percent were deemed safe, needing only minor repairs. But that means nearly 1,000 were found uninhabitable — and the number seemed likely to rise as more are inspected.

One by one the searches have closed down in recent days, after sniffer dogs were sent in and didn’t find life and thermal imaging devices turned up no body heat signatures. Heavy machinery moved in to begin removing the mountains of debris. Empty lots began to appear where just days ago a building stood.

At one of the collapsed apartment buildings still being searched, members of a Japanese search and rescue team pulled a small white dog from the rubble alive Sunday, cradling and petting it as they brought it down.

The dog’s rescue gave hope to residents and neighbors of the building who successfully got an injunction from a judge Saturday night requiring the rescue operation continue for at least five more days.

Isaac Garcia, spokesman for the neighbors, said the injunction was a precautionary measure to make sure the search continues at the site wrecked by Tuesday’s earthquake.

He said residents and neighbors had maintained a good relationship with the navy and civil defense authorities running the search operation at the site. But, Garcia said, “We wanted to make sure that we had something based in law to protect us.”

Back at the collapsed office building, volunteer rescue worker Johny Yebra said the smell of death was now heavy directly atop the rubble heap, and by Sunday afternoon occasional gusts of wind were blowing it outside the immediate search site.

“All of us are doing the most we can,” Yebra said.

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