Death toll in China mine blast climbs to 23

The death toll in a mine blast in central China has climbed to 23, state media reported Monday. Seven others are still missing from the explosion Saturday afternoon at the Pudeng coal mine in Shanxi province, Xinhua News Agency said. China's mines are the deadliest in the world, with an average of 13 miners dying every day in accidents. With coal prices high to feed the booming economy's energy demand, mine operators often ignore safety regulations to boost production. About 125 miners, hired by five different contractors, were working underground at the time of the blast.