- Hundreds believed injured in Texas fertilizer plant blast
- North Korea demands end of sanctions if U.S. wants dialogue
- Police report fertilizer plant explosion near Waco, Texas
Posted: 17 Apr 2013 08:32 PM PDT
WEST, Texas (Reuters) - Hundreds of people were likely injured in a fiery explosion on Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas, that damaged or destroyed numerous buildings including a nursing home, authorities said.
The blast was reported at about 8 p.m. CDT (0100 GMT on Thursday) in West, a town of some 2,700 people about 80 miles (130 kilometres) south of Dallas and 20 miles (32 km) north of Waco.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, D.L. Wilson, told Reuters the blast had probably caused "hundreds of casualties" and damaged many homes.
He added that a nearby nursing home collapsed from the explosion and that people were believed trapped inside.
A Reuters reporter observed that a middle school and several homes in the area appeared to have been severely burned.
More than 100 people injured in the blast and fire were being taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, said vice president of hospital operations David Argueta.
Hillcrest CEO Glenn Robinson told CNN that the hospital was seeing "everything from orthopaedic injuries to patients that are experiencing serious blood loss."
Governor Rick Perry issued a statement saying his office had "mobilized state resources to help local authorities" deal with the incident.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman, Tim Gaynor and David Bailey; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Xavier Briand)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
Posted: 17 Apr 2013 08:23 PM PDT
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea demanded an end to U.N. sanctions against it and a U.S. pledge not to engage in "nuclear war practice" before any dialogue with Washington, its most explicit conditions for talks after weeks of tension and threats of war.
North Korea's top military body also said the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula would begin when the United States removed nuclear weapons that the isolated state claims it has deployed in the region.
"Dialogue and war cannot co-exist," the North's National Defence Commission said in a statement carried by the official KCNA news agency on Thursday.
"If the United States and the puppet South have the slightest desire to avoid the sledge-hammer blow of our army and the people ... and truly wish dialogue and negotiations, they must make the resolute decision," it said, before listing its conditions.
The United States has offered talks, but on the pre-condition that they lead to North Korea abandoning its nuclear weapons ambitions.
North Korea deems its nuclear arms a "treasured sword" and has vowed never to give them up.
Nevertheless, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who ended a trip to the region early this week that was dominated by concern about North Korea, stressed his interest in a diplomatic solution.
South Korea which is conducting military exercises with U.S. forces, to the anger of North Korea, has also proposed talks.
North Korea stepped up its defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions in December when it launched a rocket that it said put a scientific satellite in orbit. Critics said the launch was aimed at nurturing the kind of technology needed to deliver a nuclear warhead with a long-range missile.
That was followed in February by its third test of a nuclear weapon. That triggered new U.N. sanctions in March, sharply toughening existing measures, which in turn led to a dramatic intensification of North Korean threats of nuclear strikes against South Korea and the United States.
"Firstly, the sanctions resolutions by the U.N. Security Council that were fabricated with unjust reasons must be withdrawn," the North's top military body said in its statement.
"The denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula can begin with the removal of the nuclear war tools dragged in by the U.S. and it can lead to global nuclear disarmament," it added.
(Editing by Robert Birsel and Raju Gopalakrishnan)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
Posted: 17 Apr 2013 07:26 PM PDT
(Reuters) - Authorities in Texas reported a large explosion on Wednesday at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, near Waco, and local media said that there were a number of injuries reported.
The blast, reported shortly before 8 p.m. CDT (0100 GMT), was confirmed to Reuters by Waco police dispatch operators, who could not immediately confirm reports of damage or injuries.
The Waco Tribune newspaper, in an online account, quoted an emergency dispatcher calling for multiple ambulances and saying, "we have a lot of injured here."
The Tribune said several buildings were reported to be on fire, including a middle school in West, a town of some 2,700 people about 80 miles (129 km) south of Dallas and 20 miles (32 km) north of Waco.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman, Tim Gaynor and David Bailey; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)
Copyright © 2013 Reuters
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