French Quarter set to reopen soon

In a big step toward restoring the pulse and soul of flood-battered New Orleans, the mayor announced plans yesterday to reopen over the next week and a half some of the Big Easy’s most vibrant neighborhoods, including the once-rollicking French Quarter.

The move could bring back more than 180,000 of the city’s original half-million residents and speed the revival of its economy, which relies heavily on the bawdy, Napoleonic-era neighborhood that is the home of Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras, jazz and piquant food.

“The city of New Orleans … will start to breathe again,” a beaming Mayor Ray Nagin said. “We will have life. We will have commerce. We will have people getting into their normal modes of operations and the normal rhythm of the city.”

Nagin said the “re-population” would proceed ZIP code by ZIP code, starting Monday in the Algiers section, a Creole-influenced neighborhood across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter.


RAFAH, Egypt

Palestinians breach wall, infiltrate Egypt

Palestinians blasted holes in an Israeli-built wall and overwhelmed Egyptian troops on the Gaza border to flow by the hundreds into Egypt yesterday, foiling attempts to impose control after days of unhindered crossings.

Israeli and Palestinian leaders expressed fears that militants and al-Qaida terrorists will infiltrate Gaza and Israel through the border, which has been open since Israeli troops withdrew from the Palestinian territory.

Egypt had promised to reimpose border controls by yesterday evening, and in the morning several hundred policemen were deployed at the main crossing points – more than the few dozen seen over the past days. They allowed Palestinians to return to Gaza and managed to slow the number entering Egypt to a trickle for part of the day.

But after hours of pushing and shoving at the Saladin border crossing in Rafah, the police line broke and hundreds of Palestinians crossed the border. Faced with the large crowds, many policemen gave up and the crossing became almost as open as it was in the past days.



Hurricane Ophelia lingers at Outer Banks

Hurricane Ophelia crawled along the North Carolina coast yesterday, prolonging its punishment of the Outer Banks with rain and wind as coastal residents elsewhere returned home to damaged homes and businesses.

While the weakening storm’s center was expected to stay just off shore, the northern side of Ophelia’s eyewall, the ring of high wind surrounding the eye, could remain over the Outer Banks until midday today, the National Hurricane Center said.

Ophelia was “just beating us to death,” said Alton Ballance, who lives on the Outer Banks’ Ocracoke Island, just south of Hatteras.



Tijuana passes new regulations for prostitutes

Tijuana is cracking down on prostitutes by requiring them to pass monthly exams to detect sexually transmitted diseases, part of new standards aimed at protecting them and their clients and putting unsafe brothels out of business.

The regulations amount to an open, official acknowledgment of what has long been a fact of life in this Mexican border city. Before, the few standards that existed were unwritten, which authorities say made them difficult to enforce. They included requiring prostitutes to submit to regular health exams, including three AIDS tests a year.


– Compiled from Daily wire reports

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