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POSTED July 23, 2012 8:59 p.m.

NATURAL GAS MISHALS KILL 797 SINCE 1968: The bulldozer was clearing land outside a day care center in Hapeville, Ga., when it broke open a buried 1-inch pipeline. The escaping gas ignited into a fireball that killed nine people, including seven children settling down for their afternoon naps. That was 1968. Since then, an Associated Press investigation found, there have been at least 270 similar accidents across the country that could have been prevented or made less dangerous by a valve that cuts off leaking gas and costs as little as $10-$15 for homes and small businesses and $200-$300 for larger buildings. Yet nearly 90 percent of the nation's gas service lines aren't fitted with the valves. In the meantime, the accidents continued: At least 67 people have been killed and more than 350 hurt.

DEADLY TRUCK CRASH-TEXAS — A pickup truck crammed with passengers, including at least two children, veers off a highway and crashes into trees in rural South Texas, killing at least 13 people and injuring 10 others.

LIGHTNING STRIKE KILLS MAN AND HIS DOG IN UTAH: BOULDER MOUNTAIN, Utah  — Authorities say a Utah man and his dog are dead after they were struck by lightning during a fishing trip at a mountain lake. The Garfield County Sheriff's Office says 24-year-old Jesse King of Bicknell and his pet died over the weekend during a storm on Boulder Mountain. Authorities say King and his dog sought shelter under a tree. They died instantly when they were hit.

MAN WANTED IN FATAL CHILD BEATING IMPALED: DELANO  — Authorities say a man wanted in the beating death of a 2-year-old Kern County boy has been killed in a gruesome accident. Delano police made the revelation Monday after the mother of Juan Felix, 23-year-old Noemi Mendoza, was sentenced to six years in prison after pleading no contest to willful cruelty to a child. After Juan's death, Osuna fled to Mexico, where he worked in construction. While on the job, police say he touched a live wire, fell and was impaled on a fence.

HEALTH

AIDS ‘NO PROMISES’: WASHINGTON — Science has the tools needed to slash the spread of HIV even without a vaccine and the U.S. is donating more than $150 million to help poor countries put them in place, the Obama administration tells the world's largest AIDS conference. "No promises, no dates but we know it can happen," Dr. Anthony Fauci says.

 

WORLD

WILDFIRE HORRO IN SPAIN: TERRADES, Spain — Forced to abandon their car as a wildfire raged nearby, a vacationing French family of five stumbled through thick smoke down a steep hillside trying to get to the Mediterranean Sea and safety — only to arrive at a cliff with a 65-foot drop to the water. Boaters watched in horror as the fire raged just behind them and they fell or jumped, with two plummeting to their deaths.

MORE THAN 100 DEAD IN IRAQ IN ONE DAY: BAGHDAD — Bombings and shootings in a dozen cities kill more than 100 people in the deadliest day in more than two years — a coordinated series of attacks just after al-Qaida announces a new offensive against Iraq's fractured government. With the U.S. gone and the political leadership mired in infighting, al-Qaida appears poised for a comeback, striking in the capital and northern cities where it can most likely regain a foothold.

SYRIA LEAFDER WIL USE BILOGICLA WEAPONS: BEIRUT — Syria threatens to unleash its chemical and biological weapons if the country faces a foreign attack, a desperate warning from a regime that has failed to crush a powerful and strengthening rebellion. The first acknowledgement that the country possesses weapons of mass destruction suggests President Bashar Assad will continue the fight to stay in power, regardless of the cost.

THE IRAN-STRAIT SQUEEZE: DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — In less than two months, the U.S. Navy plans to send minesweepers and warships into the Gulf for exercises intended to make Iran think twice about any attempts to block oil tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow sea corridor between the region's huge oil fields and the world's markets. Yet there's one thing Washington seems unable to do: Tone down the growing bluster from Tehran, which sees the strait as perhaps its most valuable asset in brinksmanship over tightening sanctions and efforts to resume nuclear talks with world powers.

 

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