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Wednesday, May 14, 2014 - Updated: 8:20 AM

Turkish coal mine explosion kills 205

SOMA, Turkey (AP) -- Rescuers desperately raced against time to reach more than 200 miners trapped underground today after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 205 workers, authorities said, in one of the worst mining disasters in Turkish history.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul, at the time of the explosion and 363 of them had been rescued so far.

"Regarding the rescue operation, I can say that our hopes are diminishing," Yildiz said.

Turkey's worst mining disaster was a 1992 gas explosion that killed 263 workers near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak.

As bodies were brought out on stretchers, rescue workers pulled blankets back from the faces of the dead to give jostling crowds of anxious family members a chance to identify victims. One elderly man wearing a prayer cap wailed after he recognized one of the dead, and police restrained him from climbing into an ambulance with the body.

Judge: Pistorius to get psych tests

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) -- The judge overseeing the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius today ordered the double-amputee athlete to undergo psychiatric tests, meaning that the trial proceedings will be delayed.

The decision by Judge Thokozile Masipa followed a request for a psychiatric evaluation by the chief prosecutor, Gerrie Nel. The prosecutor had said he had no option but to ask for it after an expert witness for the defense testified that Pistorius had an anxiety disorder that may have influenced his judgment when he fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.

Masipa said the court was "ill-equipped" to assess the diagnosis by Dr. Merryll Vorster, and should therefore send Pistorius for a period of evaluation. She said it was important to assess the Olympic runner's state of mind because of questions raised by the prosecution that Pistorius might argue he was not criminally responsible because of his anxiety disorder.

Ukraine considers peace plan

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- A reluctant Ukrainian government agreed to launch discussions today on giving more powers to the regions under a peace plan brokered by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, but it remains wary of engaging with pro-Russian insurgents who have declared independence in two eastern regions.

Ukraine's prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, was to chair the first in a series of round tables set to include national lawmakers, government figures and regional officials in line with proposals drafted by the OSCE, a top trans-Atlantic security and rights group that includes Russia and the United States.

     

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