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Giant skimmer tackles oil spill

An oil skimmer is being put through its paces in the Gulf of Mexico, but bad weather means it may be longer than first hoped before officials know if it can work full-time sucking crude from the sea.

The Taiwanese skimmer, dubbed "A Whale", was tested at the weekend just north of the site where an April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon killed 11 workers.

TMT, the shipping firm that owns the vessel, hoped to test a containment boom system designed to direct greater volumes of oily water into the 12 vents or "jaws" that the ship uses to suck it in.

But stiff winds and choppy seas made that impossible.

Air ambulance crash kills five

An air ambulance crashed shortly after take-off from a US airport, killing all five people on board.

The crash happened about about a mile east of Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport, about 200 miles south-east of El Paso, Texas.

The twin-engine Cessna 421 took off for Midland International Airport in Midland, Texas, and went down in an open area.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said the pilot was apparently trying to make an emergency landing when the plane overturned and caught fire.

Shuttle bus fire leaves 24 dead

State media said a fire on a private shuttle bus in central China left 24 people dead and 19 injured.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the fire happened last night in Wuxi, a city close to Shanghai.

The local Wuxi Daily newspaper said on its website that investigators were trying to determine what caused the blaze on the shuttle bus.

The bus served workers at a steel factory.