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Dec. 2, 2012 at 8:33 AM
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Taliban bombers kill 5 at NATO base

KABUL, Afghanistan, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Three Afghan soldiers and two civilians were killed Sunday when Taliban suicide bombers attacked a military base in eastern Afghanistan, the military said.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force said Forward Operating Base Fenty in Nangarhar province was attacked by three "vehicle-borne suicide bombs" before 6 a.m., but the attackers didn't manage to breach the base perimeter.

A police spokesman told CNN at least 14 Afghan soldiers and four civilians were wounded by the explosions.

Additionally, the three suicide bombers and six gunmen were killed, the spokesman said.

NATO helicopter gunships from the nearby Jalalabad Airfield were deployed to repel the gunmen who followed the bomb vehicles, the BBC said.

The base is in a region NATO turned over to Afghan security forces this year. It was last attacked in April. In February, nine people at the base were killed by a Taliban attack.

Netanyahu: Israel will build everywhere

JERUSALEM, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem and anywhere considered to be in its strategic interest, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in Jerusalem Sunday.

The West Bank city of Ramallah took on a festive mood Sunday as crowds thronged to the presidential compound to welcome Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas home from New York.

Israel rejected the U.N. decision granting the Palestinian Authority non-member observer status, Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.

"A Palestinian state will not be established without assurances guaranteeing security for the people of Israel, without recognizing Israel as the State of the Jewish people and without the Palestinians announcing the end of the conflict," Israel Radio broadcast quoted Netanyahu saying.

The cabinet then unanimously passed a resolution rejecting the U.N. decision saying: "The Jewish people have natural, historical and legal rights to its homeland with its eternal capital Jerusalem." The cabinet said the U.N. resolution does not change the status of disputed areas and does not detract in any way from Israel and the Jewish people's rights to those areas, The Jerusalem Post said.

Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz told the cabinet Israel will not transfer taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority to them, in response to the U.N. decision, Israel's Channel 10 reported.

"We said ahead of the vote we will respond .... in the near future I intend to deduct debts owed by the Palestinian Authority to the electricity board and other places [instead of transferring the funds to them] ... and then we will see," he told Israel Radio.

In Ramallah, under a heavy security presence, thousands gathered at the presidential compound to give Abbas a hero's welcome home, Israel Radio said.

While the general mood was joyous, many Palestinians contend the upgraded status will not change anything on the ground, the radio said. Large banners decorated the area, including one that read: "This land belongs to the state of Palestine. Israeli occupation must end immediately,' the radio reported. Inside the compound, the main building was draped with the Palestinian flag as well as flags of all the countries voting in favor of upgrading the Palestinian status at the United Nations, the radio said.

Seven feared trapped in Japan collapse

OTSUKI, Japan, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Police in eastern Japan Sunday reported finding several burned bodies in the debris of a collapsed highway tunnel about 50 miles west of Tokyo.

At least seven people were still missing hours after the collapse, Japanese broadcaster NHK reported.

Local police and the Fire and Disaster Management agency said at least two cars were crushed in the 2 1/2-mile-long Sasago Tunnel on the Chuo Expressway in Otsuki, the Kyodo news agency reported.

The 8-inch-thick concrete tunnel ceiling collapsed in a 150- to 200-foot section of the tunnel, authorities said.

Kyodo said two women were taken to a hospital with injuries. One, who is in her 20s and had moderate injuries, told firefighters she escaped from a car carrying six people. Hospital officials said the other woman, in her 30s, had minor injuries.

Highway security cameras showed large columns of black smoke pouring out of the tunnel that prevented firefighters from entering to search for victims.

NHK said there were reports of other people making their way out of the tunnel following the 8 a.m. collapse and subsequent fire. The Japanese broadcaster said the smoke was keeping rescuers hundreds of feet away and traffic on the highway was closed in the vicinity.

Two killed when tall bus hits low overpass

MIAMI, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- A tour bus slammed into a low overpass at Miami International Airport Saturday, killing two passengers and injuring many others, authorities said.

The top of the bus, carrying members of the Jehovah's Witnesses to a prayer meeting, was peeled back "like a can of sardines," The Miami Herald quoted a young passenger identified as Edwin Aparicio of Bogota as saying in Spanish.

The newspaper said the driver, Ramon Ferreiro, 47, who was not injured, made a wrong turn and entered the airport by mistake. He missed multiple yellow signs warning tall vehicles. The bus was 11 feet tall. The concrete overpass allowed just 8 1/2 feet of clearance.

"The last thing he should have done is to keep going," airport spokesman Greg Chin said. "That goes against all logic."

Killed were Serfin Castillo, 86, of Miami and Francisco Urana, 56, of Miami.

Thirty-one others were taken to hospitals, with three in critical condition. Three were later released.

The Herald said public records showed the bus belongs to Miami Bus Service Corp. of Miami, owned by Mayling and Alberto Hernandez. Mayling Hernandez told the newspaper passenger safety is her primary concern.

"At this time I'm worried about the driver and the families of the victims. I'm praying for them," she said. "My job is to worry about the safety of the passengers who are our clients. What we do requires a lot of responsibility. I didn't know the passengers but that doesn't mean I'm not suffering."

The company had no unsafe driving or controlled substances violations in the past two years, records indicated.

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