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World news briefs — Compiled Dec. 29

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AUSTRALIA

Rescuers near stranded ship

A rescue ship was within 12 miles of a polar research vessel that has been trapped in Antarctic ice for six days with 74 people aboard, officials said today. Despite poor visibility because of snow, the Aurora Australis was nearing the Russian-flagged MV Akademik Shokalskiy, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. The Shokalskiy has been stuck since Tuesday about 1,740 miles south of Hobart, Tasmania.

EL SALVADOR

Volcano neighbors evacuated

Authorities evacuated an area around the Chaparrastique volcano after the peak shot a cloud of gas and ash about 3 miles into the air on Sunday. Civil Defense Director Jorge Melendez said a yellow alert had been issued and investigators had been sent to the area to look for signs of fresh lava, but that none has been detected so far.

SUDAN

Two peacekeepers killed

The United Nations said two peacekeepers were killed while in Sudan’s South Darfur region. A Jordanian and a Senegalese peacekeeper were killed by “unidentified assailants” while in a convoy traveling near Greida, South Darfur, a U.N. news release said. The release said peacekeepers killed one of the assailants and wounded another. Darfur has been gripped by bloodshed since 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government in Khartoum, accusing it of discrimination and neglect. The United Nations says 300,000 people have died in the conflict and 2.7 million have fled their homes.

ITALY

Earthquake rattles Naples

A 4.9-magnitude earthquake Sunday evening rocked much of southern Italy, sending frightened people into the streets of Naples and country towns. Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris said there were no reports of damage in the city, the largest in Italy’s south. In Piedimonte Matese, a small town near the epicenter, Mayor Vincenzo Cappello told local media there were no injuries and no major structural damage, although some buildings may have suffered minor damage. Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology said the quake hit at 6:08 p.m.

Compiled from wire reports.


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