Gas line ruptured by excavator leads to large fire in Surrey; traffic expected to be disrupted for hours

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German vote nearly even for Merkel's bloc, Social Democrats

Germany's centre-left Social Democrats were locked in a very close race Sunday with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's bloc in the country's parliamentary election, a vote that will determine who succeeds the long-time leader after 16 years in power, exit polls showed. Officials from both parties said they hope to lead the next government.