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Friday, Apr 25th

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200 South African miners trapped underground by fallen boulders

south african minersRescue services in South Africa are trying to reach more than 200 illegal miners reported trapped underground in an abandoned gold shaft in a suburb just east of Johannesburg.

An emergency services spokesman said rescuers were communicating with a group of about 30 miners trapped by fallen boulders below the surface at the old mine site in Benoni.

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Iraq strains under largest internal refugee crisis since height of war

Iraq refugeesIraq has the largest internal displacement since the height of the US war on its hands today as government forces try to wrest control of parts of Anbar Province back from militants, adding yet another source of instability to a country already teetering.

According to a Feb. 13 United Nations report, 62,679 families have fled since the fighting began at the end of December – 13,000 of them this week alone. With the UN's rough estimate of six people per family, that is more than 370,000 people, most of them pouring out of the Anbar cities of Fallujah and Ramadi. According to the report, 85 percent of Fallujah's population has been displaced.

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Merkel, Hollande to discuss possible European communication network that avoids U.S.

International communicationGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday she would talk to French President Francois Hollande about building up a European communication network to avoid emails and other data passing through the United States.

Merkel, speaking on Saturday ahead of a visit to France, has been pushing for greater data protection in Europe following reports last year about mass surveillance in Germany and elsewhere by the U.S. National Security Agency. Even Merkel's cell phone was reportedly monitored by American spies.

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Indonesia volcano erupts; 2 killed, 100K evacuate

Indonesia volcanoA major volcanic eruption on Indonesia's most heavily populated island blasted clouds of ash and debris 18 kilometers (12 miles) into the air on Friday, killing two people while forcing authorities to evacuate more than 100,000 and close six airports.

The explosive overnight eruption of Java island's Mount Kelud could be heard up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) away, Indonesia's disaster agency said.

"The eruption sounded like thousands of bombs exploding," Ratno Pramono, a 35-year-old farmer, said after returning from an evacuation center to check on his property in the village of Sugihwaras, around five kilometers (three miles) from the crater. "I thought doomsday was upon us. Women and children were screaming and crying."

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Afghanistan frees detainees US calls 'dangerous'

Parwan Detention FacilityAfghanistan released 65 accused militants from a former U.S. prison on Thursday despite protests from the American military, which says the men are Taliban fighters who will likely return to the battlefield to kill coalition and Afghan forces.

The move further strains relations between Washington and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, whose increasingly anti-American rhetoric and refusal to sign a long-negotiated bilateral security deal has heightened uncertainty ahead of the year-end withdrawal of most international combat troops.

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Algerian military plane crashes - 100 feared dead

Algeria plane crashAn Algerian military transport plane has crashed in mountains in the north-east of the country with 103 passengers and crew on board.

The plane - reported to be a Hercules C-130 - crashed in a mountainous area of Oum al-Bouaghi province, en route to Constantine. An "informed source" told Ennahar radio station a badly injured survivor had been found and taken to hospital.

The plane is said to have been carrying military personnel and family members.

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UK floods: Homes evacuated as swollen Thames keeps rising

Thames floodsFlooded homes along the River Thames are being evacuated and thousands more are at risk, with water levels expected to keep rising for the next 24 hours.

Residents in one Berkshire village say the scenes are from a "horror movie". Fourteen severe flood warnings are in place in Berkshire and Surrey, while two remain in Somerset.

PM David Cameron, who is in flood-hit south-west England, said it was not the time to change personnel amid criticism of Environment Agency head Lord Smith.

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