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News Wrap: Hundreds believed trapped in deadly Turkish coal mine disaster

May 13, 2014 at 6:02 PM EDT
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JUDY WOODRUFF: An explosion and fire tore through a coal mine in Turkey today. The country’s disaster agency reported 70 miners were killed. The local mayor reported 157 were dead. An undetermined number were still trapped in the mine. Firefighters and rescue workers rushed to the scene after an underground power unit blew up during a shift change. It happened about 150 miles South of Istanbul. As word broke, relatives and friends of the miners swarmed a nearby hospital, hoping to find their loved ones among the injured.

And in this country, two coal miners were killed in West Virginia last night when the mine floor collapsed.

GWEN IFILL: Fresh violence broke out today in Eastern Ukraine, as seven government soldiers were killed by pro-Russian gunmen. The Defense Ministry said it happened when an armored column was ambushed near Kramatorsk, in Donetsk region. Separatists declared that region independent after a referendum on Sunday.

But, today, the official governor, who answers to Kiev, dismissed the results.

GOV. SERHIY TARUTA, Donetsk region (through interpreter): The Donetsk republic doesn’t legally exist, nor is it a registered political organization. It is not a civic organization. It is just a made-up name and nothing more will come of it. That is how it should be regarded.

GWEN IFILL: Meanwhile, Germany’s foreign minister arrived in Ukraine to help jump-start talks between the government and the separatists. And Russia announced new retaliation for U.S. sanctions. It refused to accept a U.S. proposal to keep the International Space Station going beyond 2020. And it barred using Russian-made rocket engines to launch U.S. military satellites.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A string of car bombings across Baghdad killed at least 34 people during the morning rush hour. Dozens more were wounded. Most of the attacks targeted Shiite districts in the capital. They coincided with the birthday of Shiite Islam’s most sacred martyr. The al-Qaida offshoot in Iraq claimed responsibility.

GWEN IFILL: In Vietnam, demonstrations against Chinese-owned factories turned destructive, as workers vandalized facilities that refused to shut down. The protest grew out of anger over China’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed waters of the South China Sea. Vietnam initially sanctioned protests over the weekend, but they appear to be spreading.

JUDY WOODRUFF: An Israeli judge sentenced former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to six years in prison today. He was convicted in March of taking bribes to promote a real estate project while he was mayor of Jerusalem and national trade minister. That was before he became prime minister in 2006.

GWEN IFILL: Europe’s highest court has issued a ruling that could shake up the search engine industry. The court said that, in some cases, Google must remove personal information from search results linked to someone’s name, if the person requests it. A Spanish man had found his name still linked to debts from 1998.

One of the judges said privacy is paramount.

JUDGE JOSE LUIS DA CRUZ VILACA, Court of Justice of the European Union (through interpreter): As the data subject may, in the light of his fundamental rights, request that the information in question no longer be made available to the general public. It should be held that those rights override, as a rule, not only the economic interest of the operator of the search engine, but also the interest of the general public in finding that information.

GWEN IFILL: The ruling is not subject to appeal. In the U.S., some limited search deletions are already required, especially regarding crimes by minors. But it’s up to the site that published the information, not the search engine, to remove the link.

The longest-serving black of Congress, Michigan’s John Conyers was thrown off the primary ballot today. The Wayne County clerk ruled the Detroit Democrat failed to muster the required 1,000 signatures of supporters. More than 600 signatures were disqualified after a challenge by Conyers’ primary opponent. Conyers is 84, and was first elected to the House in 1964. He has three days to appeal the ruling.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In economic news, retail sales barely rose in April, raising questions about just how strong growth will be in the second quarter. They were up just a tenth of 1 percent. And the regulator overseeing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced policies that could make it easier for many Americans to obtain home loans.

GWEN IFILL: Wall Street had a relatively quiet day, but still managed to reach new records. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 20 points to close at 16,715, an all-time high. The S&P 500 added less than a point, but finished at 1,897, also a new high. And the Nasdaq fell 13 points to close at 4,130.