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Severe cold weather kills 40 in Moscow

MOSCOW -- Russia's severest cold in a quarter of a century, with temperatures in Moscow at minus 8 yesterday, has killed at least 40 people and strained the nation's crumbling infrastructure, with residents piling on the blankets and heating bricks to keep warm.

The big freeze extended to neighboring countries, killing four people in Estonia, one in Moldova, and knocking out power and delaying trains in Poland.

In Moscow, rescue workers found five homeless or drunk people dead, the city emergency medical service said, bringing the number of deaths to more than 20 in the capital during the six-day cold that saw temperatures drop to minus 24 on Thursday -- the coldest on that date since 1927.

Nineteen people have been hospitalized with hypothermia, the service said.

In Poland, the cold delayed trains, snarled traffic, and prompted the Cabinet to allocate additional funds for homeless shelters and social services for the poor.

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