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7 feared dead in Japan tunnel

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 eight-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. 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 because firefighters were still moving carefully. - N.Y. Times News Service

Italian pol fends off rival

ROME - Pier Luigi Bersani, the head of Italy's main center-left Democratic Party, won a runoff primary Sunday to be 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 disarray of the opposing center-right.

Preliminary results gave Bersani 60.8 percent of the vote to Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi's 39.1 percent, with two-thirds of the votes counted.

The primary had been closely watched since the Democratic Party has a significant lead in the polls over former Premier Silvio Berlusconi's center-right People of Freedom party, which has been in chaos following the media mogul's 2011 downfall, a series of corruption scandals within party ranks, and Berlusconi's indecision over whether to run for a fourth term.

The 2013 general election - in March or April - will decide if Italy continues on the path to financial health charted by Premier Mario Monti, appointed last year to save Italy from a Greek-style debt crisis. - AP

Shelling kills two in Yemen

SAN'A, Yemen - Yemeni security officials say two tribesmen have been killed in intense government shelling east of the capital against locals suspected of attacks on a main oil pipeline and power lines.

The army's offensive in Marib province Sunday was aimed at intimidating militants who attacked a pipeline just half an hour after repairs were completed a day earlier, the official said.

An Electricity Ministry official said an attack on a power station caused electricity outages Sunday in the capital and other cities.

Some officials suspect tribesmen allied with former longtime president Ali Abdullah Saleh of being behind the attacks in an attempt to undermine the new government. - AP