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Coal strike in Britain may halt the industry

More than half of Britain's 180,000 coal miners were on strike Tuesday, protesting the closings of unprofitable pits. Union leaders said they expected the industry would be closed down by the weekend.

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Hundreds of miners reported to their jobs but returned home rather than cross picket lines set up by the strikers. Coal Board officials said at least 8,000 miners in Scotland and South Wales wanted to work but were stopped by pickets. Violence erupted at Scotland's biggest pit, Bilston Glen, near Edinburgh.

The government did not intervene in the strike, but Coal Board chairman Ian McGregor warned that ''a prolonged strike will probably accelerate our program of pit closures.''

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