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Turkey Mine Death Toll, 500 Arrested In Vietnam, U.S. Outsips France

At least 205 workers have been killed in a fire following an explosion in a coal mine in western Turkey
At least 205 workers have been killed in a fire following an explosion in a coal mine in western Turkey

At least 205 workers have been killed in a fire following an explosion in a coal mine in Western Turkey, with hundreds still trapped inside the mine, Hurriyet reports. The country’s Energy Minister Taner Yildiz that Tuesday’s explosion could be “the worst mining disaster in Turkey,” as numbers given by the mine’s operator suggest that as many as 787 workers were inside when the fire broke out. In a statement, Yildiz explained that hopes of finding survivors were fading. The government declared three days of national mourning. Hurriyet’s columnist Murat Yetkin writes that the Turkish government “ignored the warnings about the Soma mines, but the miners paid the price with their lives.”

Kiev is hosting “national unity” talks today that will include members of the interim government and Ukrainian regional leaders who will attempt to negotiate a solution to the crisis in the eastern part of the country, the BBC reports. Representatives of the pro-Russian militants have however refused to take part in the scheduled roundtable, which is part of a roadmap from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation and the Europe Union to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. It comes after the death of seven Ukrainian soldiers, killed by rebel fighters in an ambush near the town of Kramatorsk.

  • Controversial footage has emerged of what appears to be a UN-market helicopter allegedly being used in a military operation against pro-Russian groups in the region of Donetsk. According to the International Business Times, a spokesman for UN chief Ban Ki-moon “said that any use of peacekeeping equipment, bearing the name of the UN, for non-peacekeeping purposes would contravene UN rules.”

  • Meanwhile, the U.S. government has released recent satellite imagery which it says shows that some 40,000 Russian troops are still stationed near the Ukrainian border, contradicting a pledge voiced by Vladimir Putin last week to move the soldiers away from the border.



Five hundred rioters were arrested in Vietnam after massive anti-China unrest over the past 24 hours. Reports of mobs that may have totaled as many as 10,000 people set fire to some 15 Chinese factories, as people protested against Chinese oil-drilling in disputed waters with Vietnam, The New York Times writes Wednesday. According to Hong Kong daily The Standard, China expressed “serious concerns” over the protests and urged Vietnam “to take all necessary steps to stop and punish the crimes.”

U.S. overtakes France to become the world’s largest wine consumer. Read more about it here.

Yet another migrant tragedy off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa has prompted sharp words from Italy’s Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who placed the blame on the European Union.

An experiment in the Amazon forest will test a hypothesis that higher levels of CO2, due to climate change, can avert the drought and high temperatures it was supposed to cause, Folha’s Rafael Garcia reports. Read the full article here: Global Warming Paradox: Might CO2 Actually Save The Amazon?

South African paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, on trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year, will be committed to one month of psychiatric tests to establish whether he suffers from an anxiety disorder, CNN reports. What the judge described as a “doubt” was raised after the testimony of a psychiatrist who said that the athlete has been suffering from anxiety since he had his legs amputated at the age of 11 months.

Oscar-winning Searching for Sugar Man director Malik Bendjelloul dies at age 36.

Bob Dylan unveils the first song from his forthcoming 36th studio album. The tune — which follows in the footsteps of his 2012 album Tempest and is entitled Full Moon & Empty Arms — is best known as a 1945 Frank Sinatra hit. Listen to it here.

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A Refuge From China's Rat Race: The Young People Flocking To Buddhist Monasteries

Unemployment, stress in the workplace, economic difficulties: more and more young Chinese graduates are flocking to monasteries to find "another school of life."

Photograph of a girl praying at a temple during Chinese Lunar New Year. She is burning incense.

Feb 20, 2015 - Huaibei, China - Chinese worshippers pray at a temple during the Lunar New Yeat

Frédéric Schaeffer

JIAXING — It's already dawn at Xianghai Temple when Lin, 26, goes to the Hall of 10,000 Buddhas for the 5:30 a.m. prayer.

Still half-asleep, the young woman joins the monks in chanting mantras and reciting sacred texts for an hour. Kneeling, she bows three times to Vairocana, also known as the Great Sun Buddha, who dominates the 42-meter-high hall representing the cosmos.

Before grabbing a vegetarian breakfast in the adjacent refectory, monks and devotees chant around the hall to the sound of drums and gongs.

"I resigned last October from the e-commerce company where I had been working for the past two years in Nanjing, and joined the temple in January, where I am now a volunteer in residence," explains the young woman, soberly dressed in black pants and a cream linen jacket.

Located in the city of Jiaxing, over a hundred kilometers from Shanghai, in eastern China, the Xianghai temple is home to some 20 permanent volunteers.

Unlike Lin, most of them only stay for a couple days or a few weeks. But for Lin, who spends most of her free time studying Buddhist texts in the temple library, the change in her life has been radical. "I used to do the same job every day, sometimes until very late at night, writing all kinds of reports for my boss. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I felt my life had no meaning," she says.

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