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News Briefs, part 2

One Killed, at Least 20 Injured In Indian Train Bombings

Los Angeles Times

NEW DELHI, India

Bombs rocked five express trains racing across India Monday, killing one passenger and injuring at least 20 others as the country warily marked the first year since the destruction of a mosque by a swarm of Hindu militants.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks, but authorities had been bracing for violence linked to the anniversary of the razing of Babri Masjid, a 16th-century mosque, in the north Indian town of Ayodhya on Dec. 6, 1992.

A 60-year-old man was killed when a bomb, apparently hidden in the suitcase on which he was sitting, tore open a crater in a second-class coach of the New Delhi-bound Andhra Pradesh Super Express 20 minutes after it left the southern city of Hyderabad.

An explosion before midnight on an air-conditioned express train linking New Delhi to Calcutta injured two waiters. The Flying Ranee Express between Surat and Bombay, India's financial and business center, was rocked by a blast in a double-decker, second-class coach; one person was injured.

A train crossing the desert state of Rajasthan in west India on its way from Bombay to New Delhi was hit by a blast that injured four people.

Large Volcanic Eruption Won't Just Blow Over

Los Angeles Times

SAN FRANCISCO

U.S. and European scientists warned here Monday that mammoth volcanic eruptions have been occurring somewhere in the world on an average of once every 100 years, and when the next one strikes it is likely to cause enormous disruptions to modern life.

For example, were the Laki eruptions in Iceland in 1783-84 to occur today, the ash clouds could stop air travel on the most favored North Atlantic routes for months and cause tremendous crop damage in Europe, according to reports made on the opening day of the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

For 30 years, since smaller eruptions near Bali, Indonesia, scientists have been measuring the effects of sulfur dioxide ejected by volcanoes on climate around the world.

Combining with water vapor, the sulphur compounds slowly change in the stratosphere into sulphuric acid and aerosols that can cool large areas thousands of miles away for two or three years and even contribute to depletion of the ozone layer.

It has now been established that such large eruptions as El Chichon in Mexico in 1982 and Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 can be responsible for reducing temperatures by 1 or 2 degrees in very large regions.

A Canadian researcher, Amir Shabbar, outlined Monday how five separate eruptions in this century -- located from Siberia's Kamchatka Peninsula to the Caribbean apparently altered the weather in Canada, lowering temperatures by as much as 5 degrees in the eastern part of the country.