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Researchers’ data closing in on new particle

GENEVA — Scientists at the world’s largest atom smasher say they have reams of new data that will reveal with greater certainty whether they have glimpsed a long-sought theoretical particle that could help explain the origins of the universe.

A spokesman for CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research near Geneva, told the Associated Press on Thursday that scientists will release the new data early next month at a physics conference in Australia.

James Gillies said the hunt for the presumed Higgs boson is advancing in great secrecy because as researchers pore over the data “it’s not yet clear exactly what they’re seeing in it.”

The particle’s existence is theorized under the main particle physics theory that explains the Big Bang, and finding it would be considered an enormous scientific breakthrough.

INDIA

Two killed in large fire at government building

MUMBAI — Thousands of employees were evacuated Thursday from a seven-story government building as more than two dozen fire engines battled a major blaze that raged for several hours in India’s financial and entertainment capital.

Rescuers pulled two bodies from the gutted sixth floor of the Maharashtra state government headquarters in southern Mumbai, a state government official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.

Earlier, T. P. Lahane, dean of the state-run J.J. Hospital in southern Mumbai, said 14 people were injured, and 10 of them were hospitalized. He also said one person was in critical condition.

ROMANIA

Ex-premier has surgery after shooting himself

BUCHAREST — A former Romanian former prime minister who shot himself in the neck hours after being sentenced to prison underwent successful surgery Thursday, bringing more high drama to a case that has sent shock waves through this Eastern European nation.

Adrian Nastase was rushed to the hospital Wednesday after shooting himself in apparent reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision that he must serve a two-year prison sentence on corruption charges.

The ruling made him the most senior Romanian politician to be sentenced to prison since the 1989 end of communism.

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