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WORLD IN BRIEF: Escape shaft nearly reaches trapped miners

Escape shaft nearly reaches trapped miners

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile — Drillers neared the lower reaches of a gold and copper mine where 33 men have been trapped for more than two months, preparing Friday for a breakthrough that would unleash a national outpouring of joy.

Engineers were carving through the last 128 feet of rock, taking care to keep the drill from jamming or punching through with too much force, Mining Minister Laurence Golborne said.

‘‘We are very close,’’ Golborne said. ‘‘It would be very complicated if after all the work we have done ... you lose the hole. We have to be very careful and do it in a controlled way.’’

Dissident wins Peace Prize

BEIJING — China has long wanted a Nobel prize. Now that it has one, its leaders are furious.

The Nobel committee awarded its peace prize to imprisoned democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo on Friday, lending encouragement to China’s dissident community and sending a rebuke to the authoritarian government, which sharply condemned the award.

In naming Liu, the Norwegian-based committee honored his more than two decades of advocacy for human rights and peaceful democratic change — from the Tiananmen Square demonstrations in 1989 to a manifesto for political reform that he co-authored in 2008 and which led to his latest jail term.

President Barack Obama, last year’s peace prize winner, called for Liu’s immediate release.

9/11 link made to militant

HAMBURG, Germany — The Islamic militant whose disclosures under U.S. interrogation in Afghanistan triggered Europe’s terror alert is an old friend of a man convicted in the 9/11 attacks and, as the strikes were being planned, frequented the same mosque where the Hamburg-based plotters often met, officials say.

Hamburg security officials in August shuttered the Taiba mosque, known until two years ago as al-Quds, because of fears it was becoming a magnet for homegrown extremists who, unlike foreigners, could not be expelled from the country.

Ahmad Wali Siddiqui, a 36-year-old German of Afghan descent arrested by the U.S. military in July in Afghanistan, has emerged as the latest link between Germany and al-Qaida’s worldwide terror campaign.