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35 Dead in Central China Mine Accident


CHINA - MINE: Chinese authorities say a coal mine accident in central Henan province has killed 35 miners and left another 44 trapped. The State Administration of Work Safety says 93 people were working in the mine when the pre-dawn explosion occurred in Henan's Pingdingshan city. A statement on the administration's Web site did not give a reason for the blast, but did say that 14 miners managed to flee to safety. Chinese coal mines are notoriously dangerous. Accidents killed more than 3,000 people last year.

KOREAS - FLASH FLOOD: South Korea is demanding an apology and further explanation from North Korea after a dam in the North discharged a wall of water into a cross-border river, sweeping away six people in the south. A spokesman for Seoul's Unification Ministry says the South wants responsible North Korean authorities to apologize and to give sufficient explanation about why so much water had to be released without notice Sunday. Three South Korean campers, including a child, were killed when the surge of water raised the Imjin River to about twice its usual level.

BURMA - CHINA PIPELINE: A group of Burmese exiles are urging China to scrap plans for oil and gas pipelines across Burma, warning it will trigger unrest, damage the environment, and lead to human rights abuses. The Shwe Gas Movement issued a statement Monday saying the Burmese people face severe energy shortages and that the country's natural resources should be used for their benefit. It says the massive export of Burmese natural gas to China will fuel social unrest.

THAILAND: Thailand's anti-corruption commission is recommending a former prime minister be prosecuted for failing to prevent last year's deadly clashes between protesters and police. The commission ruled Monday that former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and his deputy (Chavalit Yongchaiyudh) were criminally negligent in overseeing the October riot outside parliament. Two people were killed and hundreds injured when police fired tear gas to try to clear anti-government protesters from the government house.

OBAMA SCHOOL SPEECH: U.S. President Barack Obama will tell school children across the nation Tuesday to study hard and stay in school, in a speech that has drawn strong advance criticism from many conservatives. Mr. Obama's talk at a high school near Washington will be broadcast live on the Internet and cable television, with many students viewing his address in their classrooms. However, some parents say they will keep their children home, and some schools have decided not to show the speech to their students amid an uproar by many conservatives who accuse the president of trying to indoctrinate children with what they call his socialist agenda.

AFGHANISTAN: Officials in Afghanistan say a suicide car bomber struck near a military base at the international airport in Kabul early Tuesday, killing three civilians and wounding six. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the blast, which also wounded an international soldier. The airport is used by civilians as well as foreign troops operating in the country. The bombing took place outside the gate on the military side. Taliban insurgents targeted the airport with rocket attacks last month, as they intensified their campaign of violence ahead of the country's presidential election.

PAKISTAN: Officials in northwest Pakistan say four high school students were killed by militant gunfire Tuesday in the Orakzai tribal region. Some local officials suggested the students were shot at because they were minority Shi'ite muslims, a group that has been targeted by Sunni extremists in the past. But a Pakistani television report says the children were caught in an exchange of gunfire between two rival groups. The region is the stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban's new chief, Hakimullah Mehsud.

HIGHER EDUCATION: A new report says people who choose to get a university degree will reap continuous benefits in terms of salaries and continued employment. A study issued Tuesday in Paris by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which represents 30 of the world's richest nations, says a male university graduate earns an average of $186,000 extra throughout his lifetime. A female graduate earns $134,000 more over her lifetime.

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