- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 28, 2004

CHINA

Coal mine explosion leaves 187 trapped

BEIJING — A gas explosion tore through a central Chinese coal mine today, trapping at least 187 miners, the government said. The accident occurred in the state-owned Chenjiashan coal mine in Shaanxi province where more than 200 workers were underground, the official Xinhua news agency said.

It did not give an exact number of miners in the shaft.

VATICAN CITY

Pope returns Orthodox relics

Pope John Paul II, seeking to heal rifts with other Christians, yesterday handed over the relics of two Orthodox saints that were brought to Rome from ancient Constantinople centuries ago.

The pope sat beside Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians, in St. Peter’s Basilica as the bones of the saints, resting on yellow velvet in crystal and alabaster reliquaries, were brought to the altar.

The two religious leaders blessed the relics before the reliquaries were carried away by Vatican ushers in dark suits for return later in the day to Istanbul, formerly the Greek Orthodox Byzantine capital, Constantinople.

NORTH KOREA

3 countries push to resume talks

VIENTIANE, Laos — Foreign ministers from Japan, South Korea and China hope that new talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs can be held by year’s end and agreed yesterday to boost diplomatic efforts to get Pyongyang back to the table.

A flurry of reports have hinted at the likelihood of stalled six-party talks resuming soon, with Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun newspaper saying a North Korean official would visit the United States next month for talks with U.S. counterparts.

But Japan’s Nobutaka Machimura, South Korea’s Ban Ki-moon and China’s Li Zhaoxing — who met on the sidelines of an Asian summit in the Laos capital — declined to name a date for talks.

Three inconclusive rounds of six-way talks have been held so far to try to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions. U.S. officials say Pyongyang has one or two nuclear bombs and enough material for six more.

PAKISTAN

Troops to pull out of tribal region

PESHAWAR — The Pakistan army said yesterday it will withdraw hundreds of troops from a tense tribal region near Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden and his top deputy were thought to be hiding.

The withdrawals from the South Waziristan area come after several military operations by thousands of troops against remnants of bin Laden’s al Qaeda organization and its supporters in recent months.

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