Sichuan gov't says confirmed death toll from earthquake rises to 21,500

The Sichuan government said the official death toll from this week's powerful earthquake in the province has risen to 21,500 people. Vice Governor Li Chengyun announced the figure at a news conference Friday in the provincial capital Chengdu. It is up about 3,000 from a day earlier. State TV reported earlier that the Earthquake and Disaster Relief Headquarters of the State Council has already said deaths could rise above 50,000. The council is the country's Cabinet.