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Brawl ends game for Georgetown team

BEIJING (AP) -- A bench-clearing brawl at an exhibition game between American and Chinese basketball teams Thursday marred the orchestrated harmony of Vice President Biden's visit to China.

Thursday night's fight in Beijing between the Georgetown University men's basketball team and the Bayi Rockets forced the game to end early.

Biden did not attend the game. Wednesday, however, he had watched the Georgetown team beat the Shanxi Zhongyu Brave Dragons, 98-81.

John Thompson III, the Georgetown Hoyas head coach, said the team regretted the incident. "Tonight, two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams," he said.

The brawl was the latest instance of on-court fighting by China, whose players have been fined tens of thousands of dollars by the world and Asian federations for scrapping with opponents.

The Washington Post said the melee broke out in the fourth quarter as members of both teams tackled and threw punches at one another.


Opposition fighters seize last refinery

ZINTAN, Libya (AP) -- Opposition fighters in Libya's western mountains claimed control Thursday of the country's last functioning oil refinery, a blow to Moammar Gadhafi's regime in a week of stunning rebel advances that could turn the tide of the 6-month-old civil war.

The refinery is located in the strategic city of Zawiya, where rebels have made great strides in battles with government forces since their initial assault Saturday.

"We have full control over the Zawiya oil refinery, and we have liberated the whole city except two main streets," Col. Ali Ahrash told the Associated Press.

The BBC reported that one of its news crews, escorted around the refinery by rebels, found no sign of pro-Gadhafi troops.

A rebel victory in Zawiya could leave Gadhafi nearly cornered in his increasingly isolated stronghold of Tripoli, the capital, just 30 miles to the east along the Mediterranean coast.


21 on minibus die in roadside bombing

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A roadside bomb killed at least 21 passengers Thursday on a minibus in western Afghanistan, another example of civilians caught in the cross-fire between Taliban insurgents and the U.S.-led coalition.

In the country's east, a suicide car bomber attacked a coalition base Thursday, killing two Afghan security guards, officials said, and the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

The minibus ran over a roadside bomb in Obe district in Herat province, setting off a blast that killed 21 passengers, said Gen. Zaiuddin Mamoodi, an Afghan National Police commander for four provinces of western Afghanistan.

Twelve of the victims were children under the age of 5; three were women; and six were men, he said. Eleven others were injured, he said.

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