In brief: Volcano ramps up, spewing steam
MEXICO CITY – Seismic activity has increased at the Popocatepetl volcano near Mexico City, leading authorities to alert towns in two central states and the capital.
Mexico’s National Disaster Prevention Center said the white-capped volcano spewed a plume of steam more than a half mile into the sky. The volcano shook Saturday night, sometimes emitting glowing rock.
The government deployed soldiers and federal police to the area Sunday in the event of a bigger eruption, and officials closed off a seven-square-mile zone around the cone of the 17,886-foot volcano.
N. Korea replaces defense chief
SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea has replaced its hard-line defense chief with a little-known army general.
The significance of Jang Jong Nam’s appointment wasn’t immediately clear. The announcement comes amid tentative signs of an interest in diplomacy after weeks of rising animosity and dueling threats on the Korean Peninsula. It’s not known when Jang replaced Kim Kyok Sik.
Kim is the former commander of battalions believed responsible for deadly attacks on South Korea in 2010.
State media previously identified Jang as head of the army’s First Corps who pledged allegiance to Kim Jong Un and threatened South Korea in a speech last December.
Iranian guards kill 10, Afghanistan says
KABUL, Afghanistan – Iranian border guards killed 10 Afghan migrants and wounded another eight when hundreds tried to illegally cross into Iran in search of work, Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry said Sunday. Iran denied the claim.
An Interior Ministry statement said 300 Afghan laborers tried to cross into Iran illegally, looking for work. Iranian border guards opened fire, killing 10, it said. The ministry also blamed its own border guards for allowing the laborers to cross, though they had neither visas nor passports. Two Afghan border guards were dismissed and could face charges of neglect of duty, the ministry said.
In Tehran, Iran’s chief of border guards, Gen. Hamid Sharafi, denied any shooting at Afghan migrants, according to Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency.
Police investigate shooting death
NASSAU, Bahamas – Bahamian police are investigating the killing of an American man who was working on a sailboat passing through the capital of the island chain.
Police Supt. Paul Rolle said the man was shot in the neck on a Nassau street during a robbery early Sunday. He said one person is in custody and detectives are seeking two others.
Police have not disclosed the slain man’s identity. But sailboat captain Chris Shaw identified him as Kyle Brauner.
Shaw said Brauner was 34 and from Chicago. He was a mate on Shaw’s boat, the Liberty Clipper.
Separate mine blasts kill 40 in one day
BEIJING – Authorities said 40 miners have died in two separate coal mine explosions in China.
Provincial officials said 28 miners were killed in a blast Saturday afternoon at a coal mine in Sichuan province. They said 108 people were working underground at the time.
Less than 24 hours earlier, another coal mine blast in Guizhou province killed 12 people.