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Crews make gains on worst of San Diego fires

Winds haven't reappeared in San Diego County wildfire areas and authorities say it's a window of opportunity to make gains against flames that have scorched thousands of acres and destroyed homes.

EU energy chief: Progress in Ukraine gas row, more talks this month

By Barbara Lewis ATHENS (Reuters) - Europe's energy commissioner said on Thursday he saw progress in resolving the row over gas prices between Kiev and Moscow and expected one, perhaps two more rounds of ministerial talks on the issue before the end of May. In his latest letter to EU leaders, made public on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged them to do more to help Ukraine through its economic crisis and to resolve the standoff over gas, repeating a threat to cut exports if Kiev fails to pay in advance for June deliveries. There is some progress,\" Commissioner Guenther Oettinger told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU energy ministers in Athens. Putin first wrote to EU leaders last month, suggesting three-way talks between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. On Monday, Oettinger is meeting Russia's energy minister and the head of Gazprom in Berlin to set a date for further talks.

Media file lawsuit to challenge execution secrecy

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Associated Press and four other news organizations filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the secret way in which Missouri obtains the drugs it uses in lethal injections, arguing the state's actions prohibit public oversight of the death penalty.

Car bomb kills at least 29 in northern Syria

BEIRUT (AP) — A car bomb ripped through a crowded garage near a rebel-held border crossing between Syria and Turkey Thursday, killing at least 29 people in an area that has seen fierce fighting between rival rebel groups, an anti-government activist group said.

Turkish families bury miners as toll rises to 282

SOMA, Turkey (AP) — Women sang improvised ballads about the departed over freshly dug graves Thursday, even as backhoes carved row upon row of graves into the dirt and hearses lined up outside the cemetery with more victims of Turkey's worst mining disaster.

Mass funerals, mounting anger as Turkey mourns mine workers

By Ece Toksabay SOMA, Turkey (Reuters) - Loudspeakers broadcast the names of the dead as rows of graves were filled in this close-knit Turkish mining town on Thursday, while thousands protested in major cities as grief turned to anger following the country's deadliest industrial disaster. Rescuers were still trying to reach parts of the coal mine in Soma, 480 km (300 miles) southwest of Istanbul, more than 48 hours after fire knocked out power and shut down the ventilation shafts and elevators, trapping hundreds underground. At least 282 people have been confirmed dead, mostly from carbon monoxide poisoning, and hopes are fading of pulling out any more alive of the 100 or so still thought to be inside. Anger has swept a country that experienced a decade of rapid economic growth under Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted government but still suffers from one of the world's worst records of workplace safety.

US adviser helps candidate win Panama presidency

PANAMA CITY (AP) — It was billed as a battle royal between Latin America's top two spin doctors. In one corner, the campaign guru to such towering leftist leaders as Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuela's Hugo Chavez. In the other, a strategist likened to Karl Rove who is credited with helping return the Institutional Revolutionary Party to power in Mexico after a 12-year-absence.

Shinseki: VA 'must do better' on patient care

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki says he is "as mad as hell" over allegations of treatment delays and preventable deaths at a Phoenix veterans hospital.

Bangladesh ferry capsizes with 200 passengers aboard; 12 bodies found

By Serajul Quadir DHAKA (Reuters) - A Bangladeshi river ferry with around 200 passengers on board capsized in a storm on Thursday, killing at least 12 people, and a rescue diver said he had seen more bodies inside the wreck. Most of the passengers were city workers and students heading home for the weekend beginning on Friday. \"We fear there will be more bodies inside the vessel and we cannot be sure of the number of passengers (on board),\" Saiful Hassan Badal, Deputy Commissioner of Munshiganj district, told Reuters by telephone from the scene. Bangladesh has a history of ferry disasters, with casualties sometimes running into hundreds due to overcrowding and lack of enforcement of safety standards such as numbers of lifeboats.

17 killed in northern Syria blast

An explosion near a border crossing between Syria and Turkey killed at least 17 people and wounded many others Thursday, an activist group monitoring the Syrian civil war said.

Up to 21 dead, doctor says, as anti-China riots spread in Vietnam

More than 20 people were killed in Vietnam and a huge foreign steel project set ablaze as anti-China riots spread to the centre of the country a day after arson and looting in the south, a doctor and company officials said on Thursday. A doctor at a hospital in central Ha Tinh province said five Vietnamese workers and 16 other people described as Chinese were killed on Wednesday night in rioting, one of the worst breakdowns in Sino-Vietnamese relations since the neighbors fought a brief border war in 1979. Local media has, however, said only person was killed, while China's state news agency Xinhua reported that at least two Chinese nationals had died and more than 100 hospitalized. The Planning and Investment Ministry blamed the clashes on \"extremists\" and warned that they could seriously affect the investment environment in Vietnam.

Obama, 9/11 kin, survivors due at museum ceremony

NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama and Sept. 11 survivors, rescuers and victims' relatives are expected to mark the opening of the 9/11 museum, where the story of the terrorist attacks is told on a scale as big as the twin towers' columns and as intimate as victims' last voicemails.

NYC minister to repay $1.2M in disaster funds

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City minister who was the subject of an Associated Press investigation about misspent 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina charity funds has agreed to repay $1.2 million that he took from his congregation to buy an 18th-century farmhouse on seven acres in rural New Jersey.