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Death toll rises to 18 in Colombia pipeline blast
by Staff Writers
Bogota (AFP) Dec 28, 2011

The death toll from a huge pipeline explosion in western Colombia last week has risen to 18, officials said Wednesday after five people hurt in the blast succumbed to their injuries.

Some 100 were injured in the pre-dawn explosion Friday that ripped through a section of the pipeline near the city of Dosquebradas, creating an inferno that destroyed 35 shantytown homes and damaged 50 more.

Authorities initially blamed the blast on fuel thieves, but later backtracked to say the pipeline was likely fractured by unstable ground caused by heavy rains in recent weeks.

Most of Colombia is on alert over the intense downpours which have been blamed for at least 177 deaths since September and have left thousands homeless, according to the latest report from Risk Management.

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US warns Iran not to shut key oil route
Tehran (AFP) Dec 28, 2011
The United States warned Iran on Wednesday that any move to block shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil transit channel, will not be tolerated. The warning came after Iran's navy chief Admiral Habibollah Sayari said in an interview that "shutting the strait for Iran's armed forces is really easy - or as we say (in Iran) easier than drinking a glass of water." ... read more

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