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Around the world

ENTOMBED: Eleven coal miners trapped inside a collapsed tunnel at Moura, Australia, for two days are most likely dead, officials said in deciding Tuesday to seal the shaft to prevent further explosions and fires. "There is no hope for the 11 men," said union leader Andrew Vickers after a meeting with the mine's operator. "The situation is so serious that there is no alternative but to seal the mine." An explosion Sunday trapped the miners in a tunnel 850 feet below the surface, about two miles from the mine entrance. A series of explosions and underground fires since then - as well as high levels of dangerous gases in the shaft - dashed hopes of rescue.SPY DIES: Dmitry Yakushkin, described as one of the top KGB agents in Washington in the late 1970s and early 1980s, died in Moscow on Tuesday at 71. The ITAR-Tass news agency, which reported his death, said he had been ill for a long time. Yakushkin was head of the "American section of the first chief department of the KGB," the Soviet intelligence agency, the news agency reported. Yakushkin was officially assigned to Washington as a diplomat, but worked as a spy for about five years in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Cold War was in full swing.

Across the nation

FIRE: Some workers had to run for their lives when a series of explosions set off a spectacular fire at an Exxon chemical plant in Baton Rouge, La. Seven were hurt while scrambling over a 6-foot chain link fence. Other workers among about 200 evacuated were far enough away to board buses to get away from the roiling column of fire and black smoke that billowed upward after the Monday night explosion. Officials were letting the fire burn itself out Tuesday before trying to determine the cause.

In Washington

HANDRAIL HAZARDS: Federal officials say children can be injured if drawstrings, loose clothing or backpack straps catch on school bus handrails. Nine bus manufacturers have modified their vehicles since the deaths of four children who got caught on the handrails since 1991, the Transportation Department said Monday. The department said the children became entangled while getting off the buses and the drivers pulled away, not knowing the children were caught.