World briefs – April 30

A knife-wielding man attacked a kindergarten class of 4-year-olds in eastern China on Thursday, slashing 28 children in what an expert said was a copycat rampage of two other episodes at Chinese schools in the past month.

Copycat rampage at school in China

TAIXING, China — A knife-wielding man attacked a kindergarten class of 4-year-olds in eastern China on Thursday, slashing 28 children in what an expert said was a copycat rampage of two other episodes at Chinese schools in the past month.

A 47-year-old jobless man, Xu Yuyuan, burst into a classroom at the Zhongxin Kindergarten early Thursday, waving an 20-centimetre knife and stabbing a security guard who tried to stop him, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Five students were in critical condition following the attack and two teachers and the security guard were injured, said Zhu Guiming, an official with the Taixing propaganda department.

A series of school attacks in China in recent years have mostly been blamed on people with personal grudges or suffering from mental illness, leading to calls for improved security.

China’s inadequate mental health network has left millions of unstable people without the help they need.


Belgium’s lower house supports burqa ban

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Belgium’s lower house of parliament has approved a bill to ban burqa-type Islamic dress in public.

But the bill faces a sudden hurdle in the Belgian senate, putting quick passage in doubt.

Christian Democrats and Liberals in the Senate on Thursday questioned the phrasing of the law, which says no one can appear in public “with the face fully or partly covered.”

Last week, Premier Yves Leterme’s government of Christian Democrats, Liberals and Socialists Belgium fell over an issue unrelated to the burqa. Belgians face early elections, and that may delay passage of the burqa ban by months.


Two coal miners dead after roof collapse in Kentucky

PROVIDENCE, Ky. — A rescue team has found a second Kentucky miner dead after a roof collapse at an underground coal mine with a long history of safety problems.

The two miners were found dead Thursday after the accident at the Dotiki Mine in western Kentucky.

Gov. Steve Beshear identified the miners as 27-year-old Justin Travis and 28-year-old Michael Carter.

State and federal records show more than 40 closure orders over safety violations since January 2009.


Pakistan militant leader survived U.S. attack

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan and U.S. intelligence wrongly reported the death of the head of the Pakistani Taliban in a CIA drone strike and the brash, ruthless commander is now believed to be alive, Pakistani spies said Thursday in an apparent propaganda coup for the insurgents.

The reports that Hakimullah Mehsud survived the January missile attack in an area close to the Afghan border will raise questions about the quality of the intelligence being gathered in the region.

The Taliban said it was not going to offer any evidence such as a video recording because doing so could help security forces hunt Mehsud down.


Gunmen ambush humanitarian caravan

OAXACA, Mexico — Gunmen ambushed a humanitarian caravan in a remote, restive area of southern Mexico, killing a Finnish man and a Mexican activist, and dozens from their group remained missing, prosecutors said Wednesday.

The ambush took place Tuesday just outside the village of San Juan Copala, which is the scene of a long-running dispute between a group demanding greater local autonomy and militants with links to Oaxaca state’s ruling party.

An eyewitness said the roughly 40 people travelling in the caravan abandoned their vehicles and scattered when masked gunmen opened fire from a hillside.

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