In brief: Trapped miners pulled out of pit
BEIJING – Twenty-two Chinese coal miners have been pulled alive from their flooded pit after being trapped underground for a week.
State television showed the men being brought slowly to the surface today with all apparently in good condition.
Hopes for the miners revived Sunday after noises were detected through a 920-foot pipe that was drilled to allow fresh air into the illegal mine near the northeastern city of Qitaihe.
Earthquake costs more than double
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – The cost of the deadly earthquakes in the New Zealand city of Christchurch has gone up, and will now likely top $17 billion.
New Zealand’s government today more than doubled its initial liability estimate of $2.6 billion to $6 billion. The rest of the cost will be borne by private insurers. The cost of the quakes equates to about 10 percent of the country’s annual economic output.
Christchurch has suffered more than 7,500 earthquakes and aftershocks since last September. The most significant quake, a magnitude-6.1 temblor, hit Feb. 22. It killed 181 people, destroyed much of the inner city and rendered entire suburbs unlivable.
The government has offered to pay thousands of homeowners to leave their land for good.
Bomb detonates early, kills two
KARACHI, Pakistan – A suspected suicide bomber riding on a motorcycle in Pakistan’s largest city prematurely detonated his explosives, killing himself and his companion, a senior police official said.
Ahsan Umar said the two men were traveling through a residential area in the southern port city of Karachi when the blast occurred today. It is unclear where the bomber was headed. Umar is one of the top police investigators in Karachi.
Study identifies plague germ
WASHINGTON – The version of plague that caused the Black Death in 14th century Europe may now be extinct, researchers report, but other deadly forms remain in circulation today.
The plague that ravaged Europe wiped out nearly a third to two-thirds of the population, according to various estimates. Its cause was eventually identified as the bacteria Yersinia pestis.
A new study of DNA from people who died of the plague in London has now identified the form of the germ that caused their deaths, the researchers report in today’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The remains of more than 100 plague victims buried between 1348 and 1350 in the East Smithfield burial site showed evidence of a strain of Y. pestis.