World briefs: Tunnel collapse kills 7 in Japan
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TOKYO -- At least seven people were feared dead after part of a highway tunnel collapsed Sunday in eastern Japan, trapping them in their vehicles and starting a fire that filled the tunnel with thick, black smoke.
Three vehicles appear to have been crushed under concrete that fell from the ceiling of the three-mile Sasago Tunnel near the city of Otsuki in Yamanashi prefecture, about 50 miles west of Tokyo, the national government's disaster management agency said. Agency and police officials said it remained unclear why the 150- to 200-foot section of 8-inch-thick concrete, weighing about 180 tons, suddenly fell.
A vehicle carrying six people caught fire, emitting heavy smoke that initially prevented firefighters from entering the tunnel. But even after putting out the blaze, rescuers had to temporarily suspend efforts to reach the trapped vehicles because of the danger of a further collapse, officials said.
They said rescue efforts resumed later in the day, though progress was slow.
KABUL, Afghanistan -- Taliban insurgents, including several suicide bombers, attacked a joint U.S.-Afghan military airfield in the eastern city of Jalalabad early Sunday morning, triggering an hourslong battle that left most of the attackers dead in a failed attempt to breach the base's fortifications.
The attackers detonated two of their vehicles at the gate of the base, followed by three more suicide bombers on foot who detonated explosive vests, according to an updated account of the attack provided by the Nangahar Province governor's office.
Four other suicide bombers attempted to detonate explosives but were killed by security forces, the account said. The governor's office said the attack resulted in the deaths of three members of the Afghan security forces and two civilians.
ROME -- Pier Luigi Bersani, the head of Italy's main center-left Democratic Party, won a runoff primary Sunday over Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi to become the main center-left candidate for Italy's 2013 general elections -- a vote that polls indicate could well be won by the Democratic Party given the utter disarray of the opposing center-right.
The 2013 general election -- expected in March or April -- will decide if Italy continues on the same path to financial health charted by Premier Mario Monti, appointed last year to save Italy from a Greek-style debt crisis.
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- Voters in small, crisis-hit Slovenia chose a president Sunday amid growing discontent with government cost-cutting measures designed to avoid an international bailout.
The presidential runoff pitted anti-austerity incumbent Danilo Turk against former Prime Minister Borut Pahor, the front-runner who has supported some of the government's budget measures.
More than 10,000 people, many in wheelchairs or being led by guide dogs, took to the streets of Madrid on Sunday in the latest protest against broad austerity measures, angry over government cutbacks reducing services, closing disability centers and forcing care workers from their jobs. ... Minority Pakistani Hindus on Sunday protested the destruction of a Hindu temple in the southern port city of Karachi; it was razed, along with some nearby homes, by a builder.
First Published December 3, 2012 12:00 am