- - Monday, August 2, 2010

CZECH REPUBLIC

Ex-spies’ names mistakenly released

PRAGUE | Officials say a Czech government institute mistakenly posted the names of hundreds of former military-intelligence agents online.

The Security Services Archive of the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes published in March a database of thousands of communist-era agents.

But 380 of them continued to work for military intelligence after the 1989 collapse of communism and the database, which was available online until June, was not supposed to contain their details.

The institute acknowledged it made a mistake. Archive Director Ladislav Bukovszky was fired.

Defense Ministry spokesman Jan Pejsek said the disclosure was a problem, but doesn’t pose a risk for the intelligence service’s operations because no names of current agents were disclosed.

RUSSIA

Wildfires’ death toll reaches 34

MOSCOW | The death toll from wildfires in Russia rose to 34 people Monday, and Moscow was shrouded in a new blanket of pungent haze from nearby peat-bog fires.

Still, firefighters reported making some headway against the blazes that have destroyed hundreds of homes, burned through vast sections of tinder-dry land and forced thousands to evacuate.

Wildfires were still burning Monday across 309,000 acres, mostly in central and western Russia, slightly less than the area torched over the weekend, said Vladimir Stepanov, head of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry’s crisis center.

About 1,500 homes have been wiped out by fires, spurred by the heat wave that has dried forests and fields to a crisp.

CHINA

9 dead, 7 trapped in coal mine

BEIJING | Nine workers were killed and seven others trapped after lethal gas leaked into a coal mine in central China, a state news agency said Tuesday.

A “gas outburst” occurred at 11:19 p.m. Monday at the Sanyuandong Coal Mine in Dengfeng, a city in Henan province, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

It reported 127 miners were underground and 111 escaped unharmed, according to an official with the Zhengzhou Coal Industry Co. Ltd., which runs the mine. The company could not be reached by phone.

Over the weekend, 24 workers were trapped in a flooded mine in northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, while a blast at a workers’ dormitory at another mine in Linfen in Shanxi province killed at least 17 people.

INDIA

Troops kill 7 as Kashmir unrest grows

SRINAGAR | Government troops fired into crowds of protesters Monday as tens of thousands of people across Indian Kashmir demonstrated their rejection of India’s rule over the predominantly Muslim region, police said. Seven civilians were reported killed, and more than 60 protesters and 70 troops were injured.

The top elected official in Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Monday to discuss defusing the crisis, which has caused 38 deaths over seven weeks.

The recent unrest in the Himalayan region — divided between India and Pakistan and claimed by both — is reminiscent of the late 1980s, when protests against New Delhi’s rule sparked an armed conflict that has since claimed 68,000 lives, mostly civilians.

Kashmiri Muslims have held massive street protests, attacked security camps with rocks and burned police stations. Government forces have responded by using live ammunition and tear gas to break up the protests against Indian rule.

PAKISTAN

Disease risk rises amid deadly floods

PESHAWAR | Pakistan dispatched medical teams Monday to the deluged northwest amid fears that cholera could spread after the worst floods in the country’s history, which have already killed up to 1,200 people, an official said.

The disaster has forced around 2 million to flee their homes. Residents have railed against the government for failing to provide enough emergency assistance nearly a week after extremely heavy monsoon rains triggered raging floodwaters in Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa province.

Around 250 flood victims blocked a main road in the hard-hit district of Nowshera late Monday, complaining they had receiving little or no assistance, according to an Associated Press Television News cameraman at the scene.

The government says it has deployed thousands of rescue workers who have so far saved an estimated 28,000 people and distributed basic food items. The army has also sent about 30,000 troops and dozens of helicopters, but the scale of the disaster is so vast that many residents said it seems like officials are doing nothing.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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