NATIONAL AND WORLD NEWS DIGEST: Pipeline blast ruins Mexican city; 27 die

Pipeline blast ruins Mexican city; 27 die


A massive oil-pipeline explosion lay waste to parts of a central Mexican city Sunday, incinerating people, cars, houses and trees as gushing crude turned streets into flaming rivers. At least 27 people were killed, 12 of them children, in a disaster authorities blamed on oil thieves.

Residents ordered to take shelter

SEOUL, South Korea

An official says that residents on five South Korean border islands have been ordered to take shelter before firing drills that will go ahead despite North Korea’s threat to retaliate.

South Korea will carry out the live firing drills on front-line Yeonpyeong Island today.

The Ongjin County official says that residents on Yeonpyeong and four other islands have been ordered to take shelter ahead of the drills because of possible attacks by North Korea.

Opposition leaders arrested in Belarus

MINSK, Belarus

In the biggest challenge to authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko in 16 years in power, thousands of demonstrators massed outside the main government office to protest alleged vote fraud in Sunday’s presidential election, but club-swinging riot police drove them off and beat many.

The violent night left in doubt the next step for Belarus, which is of interest to the Kremlin because of its position as a buffer between Russia and the West. The West, for its part, has been offended by Lukashenko’s harsh rule and his resistance to change.

Three of the candidates who ran against Lukashenko were arrested, and the top opposition leader, Vladimir Neklyayev, was forcefully taken from the hospital by unidentified men in civilian clothes, activists said.

Heavy rain raises fears of mudslides


A wet pre-winter storm dumped as much as 7 inches of rain on parts of Southern California over the weekend, triggering scores of accidents, a few minor mudslides and forcing the cancellation of Sunday’s final seven horse races at Hollywood Park.

Rainfall that began Saturday morning continued relentlessly throughout Sunday and wasn’t expected to let up until sometime today. It was expected to resume again Tuesday, continue through Wednesday and then, after a brief break, return Christmas Day, said Stuart Seto of the National Weather Service.

Associated Press