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BARCELONA: The Olympic Torch, being carried by hand through Spain on its way to the Mexico Olympic Games, exploded today [Sept 2] and injured two young Spanish runners.

Athlete Gregoria Roji was taking the flame from another runner, as it was being carried out of Barcelona, yesterday, when it blew up apparently because of an accumulation of gas, and burned them both on the face and hands. The two men were taken to hospital, but were later sent home.

The Olympic Torch is making a 1,250 kilometres journey through Spain to the Port of Palos, from where Christopher Columbus sailed to discover America in 1492, and will then cross the Atlantic in a Spanish Naval “Corvette”. The torch was replaced with a substitute. Three spare Olympic flames — all lit at Mount Olympus — travel behind the torch on its journey.

[Meanwhile, as reported by agencies in Teheran,] the unofficial death toll in Eastern Iran’s twin earthquake disaster at the weekend has reached 20,000, Police and relief organisations said today [Sept 2]. The injured totalled 50,000. According to [agency] there were fears that as many as 23,000 might have been killed.

As the Shah of Iran ordered a 24-hour period of national mourning for victims, starting at noon today, the grim toll mounted.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2018