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NEWS CAPSULES

Around the world

DEADLY BLAST: Six tons of dynamite exploded at a mine warehouse in southern China, killing 74 people and destroying buildings within 500 yards. Local officials said Friday that 93 others were injured in the accident Tuesday night at a lead and zinc mine in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, 150 miles north of the regional capital, Nanning, Guangdong TV reported.BIG HEIST: In the biggest bank heist ever in nearly crime-free Japan, two men seized cash worth $5.4 million Friday from bank employees in a parking lot. Police said one robber brandished a pistol as three employees were carrying 541 million yen in three metal cases to a van for transport from a Fukutoku Bank branch in the western port city of Kobe. The robbers, one wearing a white bandage over his face, the other sunglasses, forced the employees into the van, then seized the cases and escaped in their own van, later found just over a mile away.

Across the nation

ZODIAC? A person claiming to be the Zodiac killer whose bizarre and rambling threats unnerved New Yorkers four summers ago has written to a newspaper describing a string of new shootings. The New York Post said Friday that the letter details five shootings in the past two years, including two murders. The letter opens with, "This is the Zodiac speaking." It gives the exact dates and times of the attacks - from Aug. 10, 1992, to June 6 of this year - as well as the race and sex of the victims. The Post quoted police as saying they believe four of the shootings are linked, and the same gun was used in two of them. The original New York Zodiac shot four men in that neighborhood in 1990, killing one and wounding the others. He was never caught. Before he vanished, he wrote several notes to the Post, taunting police for not catching him and vowing to kill one person born under each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac.

EX-DAVIDIAN: A former Branch Davidian leader now under psychiatric care at a Texas mental institution wants to sue the state because officials won't teach him karate. George Roden, who lost control of the cult to David Koresh in a 1987 gun battle, filed papers in federal court seeking to file the suit and asking for $200 million in damages from Vernon State Hospital, where he is housed.