Brazil police: Outdoor flare started deadly club fire Big storms pound Australia
SANTA MARIA, Brazil -- Penny-pinching by a band known for its onstage pyrotechnic displays may have cost more than 230 people their lives at a nightclub in southern Brazil, according to a state police inspector leading the investigation into this weekend's deadly blaze.
Inspector Marcelo Arigony told reporters at a news conference Tuesday that members of the band knowingly purchased flares meant for outdoor use because they cost a mere $1.25 apiece, compared with the $35 price tag for an indoor flare.
"The flare lit was for outdoor use only, and the people who lit them know that," said Arigony, adding that members of the group have acknowledged regularly opting for the less expensive flares. "They chose to buy those because they were cheaper than those that can be used indoors."
The Rio Grande do Sul state forensics department raised the death toll Tuesday from 231 to 234 to account for three victims who did not appear on the original list of the dead. Authorities say more than 120 people remain hospitalized for smoke inhalation and burns, with dozens of them in critical condition.
SYDNEY -- Punishing winds, torrential rains and powerful ocean swells have inundated large areas of Australia's two most populous states, driving thousands of people from their homes and killing at least four people.
The floods add one more blow to a barrage of bizarre and destructive weather in the country, which was in the grip of a searing four-month heat wave and scores of huge wildfires before the remains of Tropical Cyclone Oswald made landfall late last week.
As the storm system crept south along the east coast from Brisbane in Queensland all the way to Sydney in New South Wales, more than 500 miles away, it dumped record amounts of rain in many areas, isolating dozens of communities and snarling traffic in the air and on land. More than 53 inches of rain fell in three days in some areas.
Early on Tuesday, winds approaching 62 miles per hour hit Sydney.