- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 22, 2009

CHINA

Coal-mine blast kills 44, traps 21

Forty-four miners were killed and 21 remained trapped after a gas explosion early Sunday in a coal mine in China’s Shanxi province, Chinese state media reported.

The accident occurred at Shanxi Jiaomei Group’s Dunlan mine in Gujiao City near Taiyuan, the provincial capital, when 436 miners were working underground. Xinhua news agency earlier reported that 114 miners who managed to escape were taken to a hospital, where 11 died. Twenty-four others were severely injured.

MEXICO

Grenade wounds 5 in beach town

ACAPULCO | Mexican police say assailants hurled two grenades at a police station in the southwestern beach town of Zihuatanejo, wounding one officer and four civilians.

The Guerrero state Public Safety Department said men in an SUV threw the explosives at the station Saturday. Three taxi drivers, a woman and a policeman were hurt.

Grenade attacks have become a fixture of Mexico’s brutal drug violence.

Last week, five civilians and an officer were wounded in a grenade assault on a police patrol in western Michoacan state.

Mexican police say they are outgunned by drug gangs that attack them every day.

IRAQ

New prison opens at Abu Ghraib site

BAGHDAD | Iraq has reopened the notorious Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, but it has a new name and officials promise more humane treatment of prisoners.

The prison compound came to symbolize American abuses after photos released in 2004 showed U.S. soldiers sexually humiliating inmates there.

The renovated facility - now called the Baghdad Central Prison - has recreational areas including a sewing room, exercise equipment, computers, a library and greenhouses.

Officials promised to address concerns raised by human rights groups about overcrowding and torture in Iraqi facilities.

Rehabilitation chief Abdul-Mutalb Jassim said Saturday during a tour that about 400 prisoners have been transferred to the site. It can hold 3,000 inmates.

EGYPT

Cairo bolsters security at border

ISMAILIA | Egyptian authorities have dispatched hundreds of policemen to the border with the Gaza Strip, fearing Palestinian protesters might try to breach it, security officials said Saturday.

One official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Egypt has information that hundreds of Palestinians were planning a demonstration demanding that Cairo open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza to normal traffic.

The officials said 400 riot police were deployed in the border as a precautionary measure.

SLOVAKIA

12 die in collision between train, bus

BRATISLAVA | A train collided with a bus in central Slovakia on Saturday, killing 12 people and injuring 21, officials said.

The collision occurred at about 9 a.m. Saturday at a train crossing near the town of Brezno, officials said. The victims were all passengers aboard the bus, which was carrying 35 people from the town of Banovce nad Bebravou to a nearby ski resort.

The cause of the crash was under investigation, police said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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