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Dec. 2, 2012 at 10:36 PM   |   0 comments

Nine dead in Japan tunnel collapse

OTSUKI, Japan, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The weekend collapse of a highway tunnel about 50 miles west of Tokyo killed nine people, authorities said early Monday.

Kyodo News reported police confirmed there were nine bodies in three vehicles trapped in the 2 1/2-mile-long Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Yamanashi prefecture.

The Japanese broadcaster NHK reported emergency officials found five bodies in a van, the body of a man in a refrigerated truck and three other bodies in a car.

NHK said there were about 30 vehicles in the tunnel when 150-200 feet of the concrete ceiling collapsed about 8 a.m. Sunday.

Kyodo said the five victims in the one vehicle included three men and two women, all in their 20s from Tokyo. The Japanese news service said one 28-year-old woman in that vehicle got out alive.

The Japanese news service said two women were taken to a hospital with injuries. One had moderate injuries and the other had minor injuries.


Egypt's highest court suspends work

CAIRO, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court judges suspended their work Sunday, saying protesters blocked them from entering the courthouse.

The judges said in a statement that they had encountered an "abhorrent scene of shame and disgrace" and called the situation "a dark black day in the history of the Egyptian judiciary," The New York Times reported.

The incident means a delay in the judges' much-awaited ruling on the legitimacy of the Islamist-led legislative assembly that drafted a new constitution last week. President Mohamed Morsi announced Saturday Egyptians would vote on the new charter Dec. 15.

The Islamist protesters responded by saying the judges, appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak, were blowing the episode out of proportion as an excuse for going on strike, the Times said. A crowd of a few hundred people was relatively reserved in its actions, the newspaper noted.

On Nov. 22, Morsi issued a decree putting his orders out of reach of judicial review. Egyptian courts had previously dissolved Parliament and an earlier Constitutional Assembly and a similar ruling on the latest group of lawmakers charged with rewriting the constitution would waylay the government transition, the Times said.

Leaders of the largest association of judges, known as the Judges Club, has called for a nationwide judges' strike and Sunday said its members would not perform their usual roles as election supervisors for the Dec. 15 constitutional referendum.


Suspected serial killer found dead

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- A 34-year-old man charged in one slaying and suspected in several others apparently killed himself in a jail cell in Alaska, authorities said Sunday.

Alaska State Police spokeswoman Beth Ipsen said troopers were called to the Anchorage jail about 6:30 a.m. after Israel Keyes' body was found in his cell, the Anchorage Daily News reported. She said troopers determined his death was "an apparent suicide" but declined to describe how he killed himself, the newspaper said.

"I can tell you that he was alone in his cell. ... We don't suspect foul play," Ipsen said.

Keyes was jailed in the kidnapping and killing of Samantha Koenig, 18, who disappeared Feb. 1, and was suspected in at least seven other deaths in other states.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Mary Rook disclosed authorities believe Keyes killed William and Lorraine Currier, a Vermont couple who disappeared in June 2011 and was responsible for four deaths in Washington state and one in New York.

Rook said authorities didn't have the names of the suspected victims in New York and Washington.

Koenig's body was found April 2 in Matanuska Lake north of Anchorage.

Authorities said Sunday Keyes confessed to killing her and the Curriers. No other bodies have yet been found, authorities said.


Self-immolations surge in Tibet

NGABA, Tibet, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Twenty-eight people burned themselves to death in Tibet last month to protest Chinese rule, Students for a Free Tibet says.

The latest self-immolation came Friday when a 29-year-old Tibetan man set himself ablaze in Ngaba, Radio Free Asia reported. The death was the 28th in November and the 90th since protests seeking Tibetan independence resumed in February 2009, the network said.

Tibet has been under China's control since a 1959 revolt failed, sending the Dalai Lama into exile.

Tibet's government in exile, the Central Tibetan Administration, said the self-immolations highlight the "political repression, economic marginalization, environmental destruction and cultural assimilation" of Tibetans.

Students for a Free Tibet, comprised of students and activists pushing for human rights and freedom in Tibet, urged "multilateral action" Friday to bring about Tibetan independence.

"The humanitarian disaster unfolding inside Tibet -- where 28 of my people have been driven to light their bodies on fire in a single month -- demands immediate and coordinated action by world governments," Tenzin Dorjee, the group's executive director, said.

"Multilateral action is the only immediate way to pressure Beijing to end the repression that drives increasing numbers of Tibetans to give up their lives in these heartbreaking acts of protest."

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