JIM LEHRER: In other news today: The U.S. military announced four American troops were killed in Afghanistan over the last 24 hours. Word of the casualties came as President Obama called another high-level strategy session tonight at the White House. The president is considering whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, and, if so, how many.
Prospects for elections in Iraq next January have dimmed. The Iraqi parliament passed an amended election law today, but it did not make the changes that Sunni Arabs have demanded. Last week, the Sunni vice president vetoed an earlier version of the law. He said he wanted more seats for Iraqis living overseas. Most of those are Sunnis.
There were too many workers below ground when a Chinese coal mine exploded over the weekend. A top official at China’s Work Safety Administration made the admission today. He said the mine was trying to increase output. One hundred and four people were killed in the gas explosion in the northern part of the country.
A worker described the scene inside the mine.
WANG WENBIN (through translator): When the blast wave came, it was like a fast-approaching sandstorm. The blast was very strong. And we held on tightly to our helmets, fearing that they would be blown away. Later, we used a gas-detection device and found that the levels there were too high.
JIM LEHRER: The blast happened at one of China’s state-run mines. The government has promoted them as safer than smaller private mines.
The levels of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere hit a record high last year. The U.N. Weather Agency reported the finding. The gases, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, are believed to be the major cause of global warming. They come partly from natural sources, such as wetlands, and partly from human activity.
Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina will face 37 civil charges of allegedly using his office for personal gain. The state ethics commission laid out the accusations today against the two-term Republican. They involved airline travel and campaign funds. Sanford first came under scrutiny last summer, when he admitted having an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina. He could be fined up to $74,000.