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Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

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NEW ZEALAND

Earthquake toll: 98 dead, 226 missing

CHRISTCHURCH | Rescuers fanned out into unchecked areas of New Zealand’s quake-devastated city Thursday looking for any remaining life in the rubble as the death toll rose to 98 with “grave fears” that many of the 226 missing are dead.

Police said up to 120 bodies may lie trapped in the tangled concrete and steel that was the Canterbury Television, or CTV, building, where dozens of students from Japan, Thailand, China and other Asian countries were believed buried when an English-language school collapsed along with other offices.

Twenty-three bodies were pulled from the building Thursday but not immediately identified.

Officials appealed to families of the missing to be patient, saying the agony could be worse if they rushed identifications and came to wrong conclusions.

CHINA

LinkedIn website disrupted in protest-wary China

BEIJING | Access to the networking site LinkedIn was disrupted in China on Thursday following online calls on other sites for gatherings inspired by protests against authoritarian regimes across the Middle East.

It was not immediately clear whether the blockage on domestic Chinese Internet lines of LinkedIn, one of the few foreign networking sites not previously blocked by Beijing, was because of state censorship.

The disruption, however, comes in the wake of a rash of detentions in China after an overseas Chinese-language website, Boxun, spread a call for “Jasmine Revolution” gatherings to press the Communist Party to make way for democratic change.

Attempted demonstrations in Beijing and elsewhere on Sunday were tiny and were extinguished swiftly by swarms of police.

A rash of detentions and censorship of online discussion of the Middle Eastern protests suggests Beijing remains nervous about any signs of opposition to one-party rule.

EAST TIMOR

U.N. council highlights police ‘credibility’ concerns

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