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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Train derails in Canada, catches fire

From wire reports

WADENA, Saskatchewan – A Canadian National Railway Co. freight train carrying flammable goods derailed in central Saskatchewan on Tuesday and caught fire.

The Saskatchewan government said the derailment happened near the small community of Clair. About 50 people were evacuated.

CN spokesman Jim Feeny said the fire is coming from petroleum distillates, which spilled from two of the derailed cars. Petroleum distillates are often made into diesel, kerosene, heating oil and jet fuel. Feeny said the crew is not injured. He said the train was made up of three locomotives pulling 100 cars and that 26 of them derailed Tuesday morning. He said 60 of the cars were empty and 40 were carrying goods, including six carrying dangerous goods. Besides the two carrying petroleum distillates, two were carrying hydrochloric acid and two were carrying caustic soda.

Talks aim to end Hong Kong protests

HONG KONG – Student leaders and Hong Kong government officials said they will begin formal talks Friday aimed at ending mass demonstrations that have shut down key parts of this semiautonomous Chinese city for more than a week.

The meeting will be open to the media but will be closed to the public, Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Lau Kong-wah said late Tuesday.

North Korea admits nation’s labor camps

UNITED NATIONS – A North Korean official publicly acknowledged to the international community the existence of his country’s “reform through labor” camps Tuesday, a mention that appeared to come in response to a highly critical U.N. human rights report earlier this year.

Diplomats for the reclusive, impoverished country also told reporters that a top North Korea official has visited the headquarters of the European Union and expressed interest in dialogue, with discussions on human rights expected next year.

Choe Myong Nam, a North Korean foreign ministry official in charge of U.N. affairs and human rights issues, said at a briefing with reporters that his country has no prison camps and, in practice, “no prison, things like that.”

But he briefly discussed the “reform through labor” camps. “Both in law and practice, we do have reform through labor detention camps – no, detention centers – where people are improved through their mentality and look on their wrongdoings,” he said.

Such “re-education” labor camps are for common offenders and some political prisoners.

Peacekeeper killed in Mali attack

BAMAKO, Mali – A Senegalese peacekeeper with the United Nations was killed in a rocket attack Tuesday afternoon on a joint U.N.-French base in northern Mali, officials with the U.N. and Senegal said.

Olivier Salgado, spokesman for the U.N. mission in Mali, said eight rockets struck in the city of Kidal, killing one soldier. He said the identity of the attackers was not immediately known.

A spokesman for Senegal’s army, Col. Abou Thiam, confirmed late Tuesday the peacekeeper was Senegalese and said two other Senegalese peacekeepers sustained minor injuries.

The attack came as the U.N. peacekeeping chief, Herve Ladsous, was visiting Mali after the death of nine peacekeepers in a separate assault last week.

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