World Briefs

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The house destroyed in the strike was located in Khaddi village in North Waziristan.

VENEZUELA

Chavez sees smear bid in drug suspect case

CARACAS | President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that U.S. officials hope to use a purported cocaine kingpin to smear his government with corruption accusations and thanked Colombia’s leader for rejecting Washington’s extradition request.

Mr. Chavez said the decision of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to send Walid Makled to Venezuela instead showed improving ties between neighbors that have had frequent feuds.

“Washington wants to use him so he vomits all kinds of accusations against the Bolivarian Revolution, against its political and military leadership,” Mr. Chavez wrote in a newspaper column.

NEW ZEALAND

Toxic gases hinder mine rescue effort

GREYMOUTH | The explosion that left 29 miners missing in New Zealand was a series of bangs that pelted debris and made it a struggle to breathe, said a coal cutter who lost consciousness but eventually walked out of the tunnel with minor injuries.

Toxic gases after Friday’s explosion still prevented rescuers from entering the mine Sunday, and evidence of heat underground was concerning officials, who feared another blast.

Fresh air was being pumped down an open line, but gas levels were still fluctuating so much late Sunday that waiting rescue teams were forbidden to enter the mine near Atarau on South Island.

ITALY

Berlusconi minister to quit after votes

ROME | One of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s best-known ministers said Sunday that she would resign after confidence votes next month that could trigger elections.

Equal Opportunities Minister Mara Carfagna told Il Mattino newspaper that she would back the government in the Dec. 14 votes but resign the next day from the Cabinet and from Mr. Berlusconi’s party.

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