February 19, 2008 in Nation/World

World in brief: Blast kills 24 at mine disguised as boar farm

The Spokesman-Review

An explosion at an illegal mine disguised as a wild boar farm killed 24 people, a Chinese government news agency reported Tuesday.

The explosion in Wu’an City in the northern Hebei Province happened on Sunday, but the local government did not receive reports of it until a day later, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

More than 30 people were initially trapped after the explosion, the agency reported. A rescue operation lasted until just after midnight this morning, according to the news agency.

Five of the survivors were injured and were in stable condition at a hospital, Xinhua said.

The explosion happened at a tunnel whose entrance is located in a pigpen at the farm, the agency said. The cause was not immediately known.

ASUNCION, Paraguay

Yellow fever outbreak spurs vaccine campaign

Seven people have died from Paraguay’s first outbreak of yellow fever in 34 years and authorities are conducting a massive vaccination campaign in high-risk areas, the government said Monday.

Public Health Minister Oscar Martinez did not provide details on the seven deaths, but his announcement came hours after newspaper ABC Color reported that authorities were investigating possible yellow fever deaths in a district on the outskirts of Asuncion, the capital.

The health minister said 300,000 people were being vaccinated against yellow fever. Authorities also said that city workers would begin cleaning up standing pools of water and trash where mosquitoes breed.


Cyclone slams island, cuts communication

Madagascar authorities sought to regain contact with southern parts of this Indian Ocean island Monday, a day after a powerful cyclone destroyed homes and caused flooding before heading toward the African mainland.

Cyclone Ivan was expected to make landfall in Mozambique by Wednesday, prompting fears it will worsen already widespread flooding in that poor southern African nation. The flooding is the worst in Mozambique since 2001, when 800 people died.

Ivan – the second big cyclone of the season – lashed the southern tip of Madagascar on Sunday with winds of up to 125 miles per hour, Madagascar’s Disaster Response Management Office said Monday.


26 sailors rescued from sinking cargo ship

Twenty-six crew members have been rescued from a sinking Chinese ship off the coast of the Philippines, China’s Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

The hull of the Jin Shan cargo ship was punctured northwest of Cape Bojeador. The seamen were rescued by the Japanese Towada tanker before the vessel capsized.

The fate of the captain and a ship technician, who both stayed onboard to try to save the vessel’s cargo, is unknown.

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