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Families of coal miners near Gujiao City in north-central China gathered to await news after a gas explosion and fire before dawn Sunday killed at least 74 men and trapped dozens of others. A spokeswoman said 114 miners were hospitalized, many of them in critical condition, but more than 300 had escaped. The accident was the worst of its type in China since December 2007. The Xinhua news agency said the mine had had no reported safety problems in the past 10 years.Skip to next paragraph
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As a "gesture of sympathy," the military government of Burma (Myanmar) freed 6,313 prison inmates under a general amnesty, reports said. But only 24 are political dissidents or Buddhist monks who angered the ruling junta by refusing a donation by a senior Army commander. The release didn't include democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi or her deputy, Tin Oo. Instead, Tin Oo's sentence was extended by a year. The mass amnesty was the second in five months. Last September, the ruling junta freed 9,002 prisoners.
Leaders of Europe's strongest economies agreed Sunday that all financial activities – among them tax havens, credit-rating agencies, and hedge funds – must be regulated to reverse the global meltdown. Meeting in Berlin, they backed a proposed charter that would "ultimately lead to the establishment of a global governance structure." The resources of the International Monetary Fund also must be doubled to at least $500 billion to "swiftly and flexibly" help needy members, they said.
As many as 120,000 protesters filled the streets of Dublin, Ireland, Saturday to express their opposition to the government's handling of the once high-flying economy. The Congress of Trade Unions, which organized the demonstration, said the protesters especially were angered at plans to cut government spending and tax the pensions of civil service employees by up to $3,600 a year. Ireland, often called the economic "tiger" of Europe, sank into recession in September and its unemployment rate last month was the highest since record-keeping began in 1967.