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China says it saw drops in coal mining accidents and deaths in 2013 as safety improves

Chinese authorities say safety at the country's coal mines improved in 2013, with the numbers of accidents and deaths decreasing from the previous year.

The central government said Saturday that there were 589 mining accidents last year, leaving 1,049 people dead or missing. It did not give prior-year figures, but said the numbers declined by more than 24 percent.

Industry reports from a year ago say more than 1,300 people died in mining accidents in China in 2012 and 1,973 died in 2011, according to the State Administration of Work Safety. Both figures do not include missing people.

China still has the world's deadliest coal mines, but authorities have made it a priority to improve safety.