KIEV, Ukraine

In trade-off, protesters end occupation of City Hall

Anti-government demonstrators in Ukraine’s capital ended their nearly three-month occupation of Kiev City Hall on Sunday as promised in exchange for the release of all 234 jailed protesters.

But tensions remained high as hundreds stayed outside the building, vowing to retake it if the government failed to drop all charges against the protesters. Late that night, after a meeting with opposition leaders, Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka said the criminal cases would be closed Monday.

Prospects for an easing of the standoff between the opposition and President Viktor Yanukovych, however, were still unclear. Yanukovych is expected to nominate a new prime minister in the near future, and Western officials have been advocating for a coalition government drawn from the ruling party and the opposition. However, opposition leader Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he will not agree to take the post, which Yanukovych offered him last month, unless the president makes further concessions, including a constitutional reform that reduces presidential powers.

MIDDLESBORO, Ky.

‘Snake Salvation’ pastor dies from rattlesnake bite

Jamie Coots, a snake-handling Kentucky pastor who appeared on the National Geographic television reality show “Snake Salvation,” died Saturday after being bitten by a snake.

Coots was handling a rattlesnake during a Saturday night service at his Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name Church in Middlesboro when he was bit, another preacher, Cody Winn, told WBIR-TV.

“Jamie went across the floor. He had one of the rattlers in his hand, he came over and he was standing beside me. It was plain view, it just turned its head and bit him in the back of the hand,” Winn said.

When an ambulance arrived at the church at 8:30 p.m., they were told Coots had gone home, the Middlesboro Police Department said in a news release. Contacted at his house, Coots refused medical treatment. Emergency workers left about 9:10 p.m. When they returned about an hour later, Coots was dead from a venomous snake bite, police said.

JOHANNESBURG

Fearing arrest, illegal miners refuse to be rescued

Emergency workers in South Africa cleared a mine shaft entrance of debris on Sunday, allowing miners who had been trapped below the chance to escape. The only problem was that the miners were working illegally at the abandoned mine, and some stayed underground because they feared arrest if they came out, according to officials.

– From news service reports