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Coal mine blast kills 13

An explosion in a coal mine killed 13 miners who were working despite an order to halt production at the central China site, state media reported Wednesday. Another 20 miners survived the blast that struck Tuesday evening at the operation in Henan province's Mianchi County, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Most such accidents are usually blamed on a buildup of coal gas or methane ignited by sparks or open flames. China's coal mines are the world's deadliest, with thousands of miners killed every year. Massive demand for coal induces many producers to cut corners and sidestep regulations, although authorities have been able to reduce fatalities considerably through improved safety and the closing of small, often unlicensed mines. Xinhua said the mine had been ordered to halt extractions while its operations were reorganized.

INDIA: Bomb kills child, injures 19 others

A bomb hidden in a metal canister exploded Tuesday evening as thousands gathered for a Hindu ceremony in Varanasi, killing a toddler and triggering a stampede that left many others wounded. Police said the blast appeared to be a terrorist attack. The bomb was stashed in a milk container on the Sheetla Ghat, one of many stone staircases leading to the Ganges River, the site of daily spiritual rituals, according to police official Brij Lal. The explosion set off a stampede, and 19 people, including four foreigners, were wounded, he said.A 2-year-old who had been sitting on her mother's lap when the bomb went off died in a hospital, Lal said. Her mother was in serious condition.

ISRAEL: Spy's first wife welcomed

The first wife of Jonathan Pollard, an American imprisoned 25 years ago for spying on behalf of Israel, has returned to Israel with the government's help, an official said Tuesday. Elad Sonn, a spokesman for the immigration ministry, said Anne Pollard appealed to the Israeli consulate in New York last week for aid. Sonn said she landed in Israel on Monday with her father. Anne Pollard was arrested in 1985 and found guilty of being an accomplice to her then-husband. He pleaded guilty to passing secrets to Israel and is serving a life sentence. Israel TV reported she was homeless and in poor health. Jonathan and Anne Pollard divorced in 1990. He remarried in 1993 in prison.


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