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This happened: a train burned in West Virginia, Greece refused a bailout extension, ports were blocked, Syria forces took villages, Chinese police digested endangered salamander

A CSX Corp train burns after derailment in Mount Carbon,West Virginiapictured acroREUTERS/Marcus Constantino

Good morning!

Before you woke up, a train blazed in West Virginia, Syria reclaimed villages from rebel groups and a rebellious Greece refused to back down in EU debt talks while labor secretary Tom Perez flew to San Francisco for port talks.

Over in China, a police chief was fired over a banquet of endangered salamander.

Locals evacuated after West Virginia fire

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A cargo train carrying more than 100 cars full of oil turned into a giant fireball as it derailed just outside Charleston, West Virginia. Locals were evacuated from two towns, cars and a house were ablaze and a couple of carriages plunged into the river.

READ MORE: West Virginialocals evacuated from huge fire after oil train derailed

My Big Fat Greek debt talks floundered

The pesky new hardline left-wing Greek government refused to play ball with European finance ministers yesterday, in talks over their colossal debts to the European Union. The EU bailed out Greece to the tune of$272.4 billion three years ago, on the condition that they impose austerity measures, which the new ruling party wants to roll back. If they don't reach a deal, Greece might have to exit the European financial euro zone, which would destabilize the whole of Europe.

READ MORE: Fear for Europe's financial stability as Greece debt deal talks collapse

Labor secretary hoped to unblock ports

Obama has dispatched Tom Perez to San Francisco to find a resolution to the ports strike. Sound boring? Not really - the impact is massive as the 29 ports involved handle almost half of our maritime trade and while they remain idle, all of the businesses involved, from transport companies and retailers waiting for stock from Asia, to local California farmers lose out and U.S. economy loses something like $2bn a day.

READ MORE:Labor Secretary to tackle port strikes costing U.S. up to $2bn a day

Syrian army took back villages

The Syrian army reclaimed a series of villages to the north of its second city, Aleppo. They were held by 'insurgents' – of which there are many, including al Qaeda's Syria arm, some Islamists and then the rebel groups backed by the Western allies. We are helping them fight government forces and everyone is fighting Islamic extremists too. Are you keeping up?

READ MORE:Syrian army reclaims villages from insurgent groups

Chinese police chief was charged over a salamander supper

The Chinese police chief who ordered a super-sized salamander banquet for a work get-together is having trouble digesting the outcome. It turns out the amphibian entree was an endangered giant salamander, and after slapped around some journalists who had come to report on the wildlife crime, he was sent down himself.

READ MORE:Chinese police chief fired over endangered salamander banquet

 
 
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