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One dead as blasts force evacuations

Explosions at a propane facility forced thousands of residents to evacuate early Sunday, and witnesses described the sky lighting up in the glow of an enormous fireball before turning black with billowing smoke. One firefighter died, authorities said.

Firefighters were battling blazes at the Sunrise Propane Industrial Gases facility hours later. A worker at the plant was unaccounted for, Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash said. Some residents suffered minor injuries.

Bob Leek, a district chief of emergency planning, died at the scene, said David Sheen, Toronto fire services division chief. The explosions also shut down Canada’s busiest highway and a part of the subway system.

KHAR, Pakistan

Dozens of houses bombed in clashes

Pakistani forces bombed dozens of houses in a tribal region near the Afghan border Sunday, officials and witnesses said, in a military offensive that comes amid U.S. pressure for Pakistan to crack down on militants.

Days of clashes have reportedly killed at least 100 insurgents and nine paramilitary troops in the area, an insurgent stronghold considered a possible hiding place for al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.

Details have been scarce about the offensive in Bajur.

Sardar Khan, a local police official, said two spells of aerial bombing destroyed about 40 houses in several villages. He said bombs also struck a school occupied by Taliban fighters in Loi Sam, a village that has been a key focus of the fighting.

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka

Soldiers attack Tamil separatists

Sri Lankan soldiers launched a pre-dawn attack on Tamil separatists in the embattled north Sunday, killing 15 rebels, while other battles in the region left 39 rebels and one soldier dead, the military said.

The civil war on the Indian Ocean island has escalated in recent months, with the military stepping up ground assaults and airstrikes after the government pledged to capture rebel-held territory and crush insurgents.

The rebels have been fighting for an independent state since 1983, following decades of marginalization of ethnic Tamils by governments dominated by the Sinhalese majority.

More than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict.


Most-wanted mobster arrested

One of Italy’s most-wanted mobsters was arrested at a restaurant in northeastern Spain, officials said Sunday.

Patrizio Bosti was arrested late Saturday while dining with a group of 15 Italians and Spaniards in Girona, according to Italian and Spanish police.

Bosti, 49, was on Italy’s list of 30 most-wanted criminals and had been on the run since 2005. He was convicted in absentia of heading a clan of the Naples-based Camorra crime syndicate and sentenced to 23 years in prison for the murder of two rival mobsters in 1984.

From wire reports