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Dozens Killed in China Mine Explosion

An explosion at a coal mine in central China has killed 47 miners and injured at least six others. The official Xinhua news agency says the blast occurred early Monday near Pingdingshan city in central Henan province.

Seventy-five workers were in the mine when explosives went off at the powder magazine of the Xingdong Number Two Mine at about 1:40 a.m., according to the report. The Pingdingshan municipal government said 28 miners escaped.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao urged rescuers to exhaust every effort to rescue trapped workers. They ordered authorities to take measures to prevent a secondary accident and called for an immediate investigation to determine the cause of the explosion.

Xinhua news agency reported that police have detained the owner of the mine, Liu Jianguo, and frozen the mine's bank account. The news agency says the privately owned mine was operating with a suspended license.

China has the world's worst mine safety record, with more than 2,600 coal miners killed last year in accidents and explosions.

Last year, Pingdingshan authorities ordered all 157 shafts within its district to close, after dozens of miners were killed in a pit explosion.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.