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NEWS CAPSULES

Around the world

SLAYING: A Russian army colonel who fought in Chechnya was killed in a bomb explosion at his home early on Monday, Itar-Tass news agency said. Colonel Yuri Kim died instantly in the blast as he left his apartment in the southern city of Volgograd. Tass said an investigation had been launched and police were investigating possible links with Chechnya and his career as a businessman.CIVIL WAR: Sri Lankan troops advanced toward the rebel stronghold of Kilinochchi, killing more than 200 guerrillas in fierce fighting, the military said Monday. A military statement said 14 soldiers were killed and 32 wounded in Sunday's battle.

BLACKOUT: Malaysia's nationwide blackout over the weekend led to the deaths of four children, cost industry hundreds of millions of dollars and was a bitter embarrassment to the national leadership, officials said. A faulty switch gear outside the Paka power plant in Terengganu state caused a series of power trips at plants across peninsular Malaysia on Saturday, plunging the country into darkness and near chaos for 15 hours. Four children were killed in Parit Butar in the west coast state of Perak when their house caught fire while they were using candles during the blackout.

EARTHQUAKE: A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 rattled the Pacific Monday near the Tonga Islands, about 190 miles from American Samoa. The quake was reported by seismologists in Hong Kong, Japan and California. There were no reports of damage or injury, according to Pat Jorgenson of the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif.

Across the nation

FIRE: A grand jury meeting Monday was expected to hear allegations that the sprinkler system was shut off at an Ohio fireworks store where nine people died in a fire. A 24-year-old man who underwent a lobotomy as a teenager is charged with setting the fire and faces grand jury indictment. But investigators have also been looking into whether others should face charges because of the disabled sprinkler system at the Ohio River Fireworks in Scottown. An investigation determined the sprinkler system was turned off at the time of the July 3 fire, county prosecutor J.B. Collier said. The store manager had said the system was working properly.

CLEAVER: A man arrived at a hospital with a meat cleaver in his head that he said was put there by his girlfriend's son in a fight over rent money, the victim's mother said Monday. Jessie James Taylor, 32, of Pikeville, Ky., had a piece of a butcher knife in his back and had been hit several times with a cane during a fight early Sunday. The cleaver was removed from Taylor's head by surgeons at the University of Kentucky Hospital. He was listed in serious condition.

CRASH: Former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis and his wife, Kitty, were slightly injured when their car went out of control and struck a guardrail. Kitty Dukakis, 59, was driving Sunday and may have fallen asleep at the wheel, police said. Her 62-year-old husband was believed to be in the back seat. Daughter Andrea was in the front seat and was not injured.

Other news

A CRUISE SHIP ran aground in the narrow waters between Denmark and Sweden, and authorities were evacuating the 935 people aboard Monday. . . . A COURT in southern China has sentenced the chief of a local town to die for embezzling 29 million yuan ($3.5 million) to go gambling in neighboring Macau. . . . JAPANESE Health Minister Naoto Kan said on Monday he will declare the food poisoning epidemic ravaging Japan a "designated contagious disease," meaning doctors will be required to report cases to local health departments.