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China toxic spill shuts city's water

SHANGHAI, China - A toxic chemical spilled into a river that supplies drinking water to the scenic city of Hangzhou in eastern China, knocking out supplies to more than half a million people and creating a run on bottled water.

A tanker truck carrying 20 tons of carbolic acid overturned late Saturday. The chemical, also known as phenol, was washed by rain into the Xin'an River 90 miles southwest of Hangzhou, the city said on its website.

The city said an emergency worker died, but it did not say how. It said authorities temporarily shut down water plants and released extra water from nearby dams to dilute the spill, which affected the water supplies of 552,000 people in Hangzhou's suburbs.

The concentration of carbolic acid near the accident site remained more than 900 times the safe drinking level as of late Monday, the report said. Carbolic acid is an industrial chemical used to create plastic and other materials.

- AP

Arson damages W. Bank mosque

JERUSALEM - Arsonists damaged a mosque in a West Bank village early Tuesday and sprayed graffiti in Hebrew on the walls, leading to suspicions Jewish settler extremists were responsible.

Israel's prime minister and defense minister condemned the vandalizing of the mosque in the Palestinian village of Al Mughayyir. Defense Minister Ehud Barak called it a "criminal act . . . meant to inflame passions and wreck the chance of living peacefully side by side."

The Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank, accused Israeli authorities of turning a "blind eye" to such acts.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said a carpet in the mosque caught fire after a burning tire was thrown through a window, and police were looking for a number of suspects. - N.Y. Times News Service

Salvage work ends at crash site

PARIS - The recovery of bodies and parts of the Air France plane that crashed into the Atlantic Ocean two years ago has ended.

The vessel Ile de Sein's operations "came to an end" Friday and it is heading back to France, BEA, the country's air accident investigating agency, said in a statement on its website Tuesday. The boat will transfer the airplane parts and take human remains to a forensic mortuary when it reaches France next week.

The vessel helped collect evidence, including the two flight recorders that store data and cockpit voices, to help explain the worst disaster in the airline's history. An investigation by the BEA found that the Airbus A330 lost speed and stalled before beginning a 31/2-minute plunge into the ocean June 1, 2009.

The crash of Flight 447 to Paris from Rio de Janeiro killed all 228 people aboard. In total, the bodies of 127 people have been found, including 50 in the days after the crash, Agence France-Presse said last month.

- Bloomberg News


A Russian spacecraft blasted off from southern Kazakhstan in the early darkness of Wednesday morning to take a three-man crew to the International Space Station.

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