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At Least 5 Killed, 43 Trapped in Pakistan Coal Mine Blasts

At least five miners were killed and 43 others trapped underground when explosions triggered a collapse in a coal mine in Pakistan's Baluchistan province on Sunday, officials said.

A total of 48 miners were working around 1,200 meters (1,300 yards) underground in the mine and the officials said hopes for the survival of the missing were slim.

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher Dies

Warren M. Christopher, the attorney turned envoy who tirelessly traveled to Bosnia and the Middle East on peace missions during his 1993-96 tenure as secretary of state in the Clinton administration, has died at age 85.

Late Friday, Christopher died at his home in Los Angeles of complications from bladder and kidney cancer, said Sonja Steptoe of the law firm O'Melveny & Myers, where Christopher was a senior partner

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Japan Cites Radiation in Milk, Spinach Near Nuclear Plant

Japan announced the first signs that contamination from its tsunami-crippled nuclear complex has seeped into the food chain, saying that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the facility exceeded government safety limits.

Japanese officials insisted that the small amounts of radiation — with traces also found in tap water in Tokyo — posed no immediate health threat, and said the situation at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, while still unpredictable, appeared to be coming under control after near-constant dousing of water to prevent spent fuel rods from burning up.

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Japan Fire Trucks Work to Cool Nuclear Plant

Japan conducted new water cooling operations at a quake-hit nuclear plant Friday, using a fleet of fire trucks as workers racing to avert a catastrophe also ran a power cable to the site.

Tones of water were used to douse overheating fuel rods at the Fukushima No.1 power station, which suffered critical damage in the massive earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan a week ago.

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Thousands Overwhelm Riot Police in Armenia

Thousands of protesters occupied a central square in the Armenian capital on Thursday, forcing riot police to withdraw in a show of strength aimed at forcing the government to resign.

After holding a rally attended by more than 12,000 people, demonstrators marched through the city to Freedom Square -- the scene of mass protests in 2008 which ended in violence and left 10 people dead.

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S. Korea Rejects N. Korea Nuclear Talks Offer

South Korea on Thursday rejected an offer from North Korea to discuss its new nuclear program and return to six-party disarmament talks, saying its neighbor must first show peaceful intentions.

Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan said Pyongyang should demonstrate its commitment to denuclearization "not through words, but through action".

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U.S. Strike Kills 24 Militants in Pakistan

Four U.S. missiles ploughed into a militant training compound in Pakistan's Taliban and al Qaida-hit northwest on Thursday, killing 24 and wounding several others, security officials said.

It was the seventh drone strike to hit the lawless region in nine days, as the unpopular covert campaign ramps up along the border and fuels widespread anti-American sentiment in the nuclear nation that is a critical U.S. ally.

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15,000 Dead, Missing After Japan’s Disaster

The official number of dead and missing after a devastating earthquake and tsunami that flattened Japan's northeast coast is approaching 15,000, police said Thursday.

The number of confirmed dead from Friday's twin disasters rose to 5,457 while the official number of missing increased to 9,508, the National Police Agency said in its latest update.

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Strong 6.5 Magnitude Quake Strikes Vanuatu

A strong 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Thursday, the U.S. Geological Survey said, but no widespread tsunami warning was issued.

However, the Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued a bulletin saying the shallow quake could have the potential to generate a local tsunami and urged local authorities to be vigilant.

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Japanese Emperor: Praying for the Nation

Japan's Emperor Akihito said Wednesday he was praying for the people's safety following last week's deadly earthquake and tsunami, and expressed his deep concern about the escalating nuclear crisis.

In a rare television address to the nation, the 77-year-old monarch -- who is held in deep respect by many Japanese -- admitted the country still did not know how many people had died in the March 11 twin disasters.

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