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In brief: Pakistanis attack patrol in Kashmir

SRINAGAR, India – Pakistani soldiers crossed the cease-fire line in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir on Tuesday and attacked an army patrol, killing two Indian soldiers before retreating back into Pakistani-controlled territory, an Indian army official said.

Pakistan later denied the accusation.

The outbreak of violence was the second in three days in Kashmir, where a cease-fire between the two wary, nuclear-armed rivals has largely held for a decade. Deaths in military exchanges are now uncommon compared to earlier years.

The countries have fought two full-scale wars over Kashmir, the only Muslim-majority state in largely Hindu India.

Australia’s sizzling temperatures cool

COOMA, Australia – Record temperatures across southern Australia cooled today, reducing the danger from scores of raging wildfires but likely bringing only a brief reprieve from the summer’s extreme heat and fire risk.

Australia had its hottest day on record Monday with a nationwide average of 104.59 degrees Fahrenheit, narrowly breaking a 1972 record of 104.31 degrees.

Four of Australia’s hottest 10 days on record have been in 2013.

“There’s little doubt that this is a very, very extreme heat wave event,” Bureau of Meteorology manager of climate monitoring and prediction David Jones said.

No deaths have been reported, although around 100 people haven’t been accounted for since last week when a fire destroyed around 90 homes in the Tasmanian town of Dunalley, east of the state capital of Hobart. Police spokeswoman Lisa Stingel said today it’s likely most of those people simply haven’t checked in with officials.

“There are no reports of missing persons in circumstances that cause us to have grave fears for their safety at this time,” Tasmania Police Acting Commissioner Scott Tilyard said in a statement.


 

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Sen. Maria Cantwell says governments should not be on the hook for coal mine cleanups

UPDATED: 12:25 p.m.

updated  WASHINGTON – Congress should end a practice that puts the federal government and states at risk of paying for expensive coal mine cleanups when mining companies go bankrupt, according to a new finding by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO, an investigative arm of Congress, is recommending that lawmakers eliminate the ability of coal mine owners to self-certify their financial wealth, known as “self-bonding.” The controversial process lets owners avoid putting up collateral or getting third-party surety bonds – a requirement of companies in every other energy sector.