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CHINA/Rescue hopes fading for workers in flooded mine

Rescuers pumped water Thursday in a fading bid to find more survivors in a flooded mine in northern China where 115 miners were dramatically rescued this week after being trapped for eight days. The confirmed death toll rose to 12 early Thursday, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. Some 26 miners are believed trapped in two areas and there have been no further signs of life. "Now we're racing against time and putting efforts in full swing to concentrate on these two areas," Liu Dezheng, the rescue headquarters' spokesman, told a news conference. With 5,000 rescuers at the mine site, pumping water out was the top priority. "It's only after we've pumped water out and cleared a way through that we can go in," he said.

NORWAY/Catholic Church: Norwegian bishop who left last year abused child

A Catholic bishop in Norway who resigned last year did so after admitting he had molested a child about 20 years earlier, when he was a priest, church officials said Wednesday. The announcement came after a Norwegian newspaper pressed for an explanation for why Georg Mueller, a 58-year-old German, had stepped down unexpectedly as bishop in the western city of Trondheim in June 2009. At the time, Vatican and Norwegian church officials gave only vague reasons for Mueller's departure. It was the first case in the current wave of sexual abuse allegations against Catholic clergy in which a bishop stepped down after admitting to having molested minors. Mueller's successor, Bishop Bernt Eidsvig, said in a statement that details of the case had been kept quiet at the request of the victim. Church officials said it happened at "the beginning of the '90s" - before Mueller became a bishop in 1997 - and no other allegations had come to light.

MEXICO/Officials: 12 bodies found appear linked to drug trafficking

The bodies of 12 murder victims, eight of them partially burned, were found in a Pacific coast state, authorities said Wednesday. The Nayarit state attorney general's office said the corpses were discovered in fields outside the town of Xalisco late Tuesday. It said police found the eight burned bodies in the bed of a pickup truck abandoned on a dirt road after receiving reports of several shootings. Four more bodies were found nearby. Police also found at least 10 abandoned cars with weapons inside. The killings are believed to be associated with drug trafficking, but there are no suspects, the agency said in a statement. In the southern state of Chiapas, a bystander was killed during a shootout between gunmen and federal police in the town of Frontera Comalapa on the Guatemalan border, state police said Wednesday.

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