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JULIUS HEMPHILL, an influential saxophonist and composer who helped found the World Saxophone Quartet, died Sunaday in New York at age 57 . . . A FATAL underground gas explosion in a coal pit last month claimed the lives of 32 miners, pushing the death toll in China's mines since the beginning of the year to more than 600, government-run media said . . . THE VATICAN, in another signal that Pope John Paul II's health is improving, announced Tuesday that the pontiff would visit Brussels June 3 and 4.