CHINA

Crews try to free 18 after mine collapse

Rescuers pulled 11 workers to safety and located 18 who were trapped after a mine collapsed in China's eastern province of Shandong, state media said Saturday.

The official Xinhua news agency said all 29 workers were accounted for, although the 18 remained trapped at two sites and could not be immediately rescued.

The Pingyi county government said that the gypsum mine owned by Yurong Commercial & Trade Ltd. Co. caved in Friday. Gypsum is a soft sulfate mineral that is widely used in construction.

Xinhua said rescuers lifted one miner, whose leg was struck under a boulder, from the shaft on Saturday. The other 10 rescued were freed Friday. - AP
AFGHANISTAN

Earthquake leaves at least 12 injured

At least 12 people have been injured and hospitalized in eastern Nangarhar province after an earthquake jolted Afghanistan around midnight Friday.

Attaullah Khogyani, spokesman for the provincial governor in Nangarhar, said Saturday that a number of Nangarhar University students in the provincial capital, Jalalabad, were injured during a stampede while trying to run out of a building during the quake.

The 6.2 magnitude quake, which struck around 11:45 p.m. Friday and lasted about a minute, was also felt in the capital, Kabul, but there were no reports casualties or serious property damage in Kabul. - AP
AUSTRALIA

Wildfire destroys scores of houses

More than 100 houses were destroyed by a Christmas Day wildfire that tore through a stretch of coastline popular with tourists in southern Australia, forcing thousands to flee their homes, officials said Saturday.

Cooler weather and light rain Saturday eased the immediate threat from the blaze along Victoria state's scenic Great Ocean Road, but officials warned that it could burn for weeks.

No one was killed or injured in the fire, said Craig Lapsley, Victoria emergency management commissioner.

Hundreds of firefighters spent Christmas battling the blaze, which was triggered by a lightning strike. The fire destroyed 116 houses, many of them vacation homes. - AP
BRITAIN

Astronaut: Sorry

for seeming spacey

Anyone can dial a wrong number, but it's not often done from outer space.

British astronaut Tim Peake, 43, tweeted an apology on Christmas Day from the International Space Station.

He wrote "I'd like to apologize to the lady I just called by mistake saying 'Hello, is this planet Earth?' - not a prank call - just a wrong number!"

Millions of Britons have been following his mission since he became Britain's first publicly funded astronaut and the first Briton at the space station.

During liftoff Dec. 15, many stopped what they were doing and nervously watched live coverage. Peake is sharing the station with five other astronauts: NASA's Scott Kelly and Tim Kopra, and Russians Mikhail Kornienko, Yuri Malenchenko, and Sergey Volkov. - AP