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19 killed in China chemical plant blast

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BEIJING — At least nineteen people have been killed and 12 other injured in an explosion at a chemical plant in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, local authorities said on Friday,the latest deadly industrial incident in the world’s largest producer of chemicals.

It comes amid a drive to strengthen industrial safety, with China ramping up checks over the last year, in the wake of some high-profile incidents at coal mines and chemical plants.

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The explosion happened at 6.30pm on Thursday in an industrial zone in Jiangan county, according to a statement issued by the Sichuan Industry Safety Supervision Administration.

None of those injured were in a critical condition, the cause of which is under investigation, the statement said.

Footage from state television channel CCTV showed heavy smoke rising from the factory, which was owned by the Hengda Science and Technology Company.

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Former US President George HW Bush’s ex-doctor shot dead in Houston

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HOUSTON — A medical doctor who once treated former US president George HW Bush was shot dead while riding a bicycle in the city’s medical centre, authorities say.

Houston Methodist Hospital identified the doctor as Mark Hausknecht, 65, a cardiologist who was a member of the Houston Methodist staff and the DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center.

Hausknecht was shot by another man on a bike around 9 am Friday (local time) near Texas Children’s Hospital. He specialized in cardiovascular disease and had been in practice for almost four decades.

The suspect then rode off, according to police, who have yet to give a motive for the daylight shooting in the busy city area.

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“Mark was a fantastic cardiologist and a good man,” Mr Bush, 94, said in a statement, adding, “I will always be grateful for his exceptional, compassionate care. His family is in our prayers.”

Dr Hausknecht had worked in Houston for about three decades and often cycled to work, local media reported.

He once treated the former president for an irregular heartbeat.

The doctor’s widow, emergency physician Georgia Hsieh, called his killing senseless, according to a statement published by the Houston Chronicle.

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