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WORLD IN BRIEF: Swiss celebrate digging world's longest tunnel

Swiss celebrate digging world’s longest tunnel

SEDRUN, Switzerland — Workers hugged, cheered and set off fireworks as the huge drill broke through the last stretch of rock deep in the Swiss Alps. There was delight at the end of the tunnel — the world’s longest — when it was completed Friday.

The $10 billion, 35.4-mile tube will connect Europe’s high-speed rail network and is part of a larger effort to cut in half the number of trucks — now at 1.2 million — that thunder through the Alps each year.

The joy and pride felt throughout Switzerland over digging the Gotthard Base Tunnel reflected the one cause that unites the country’s wealthy city dwellers with those living in traditional villages: Protecting the beauty of the mountains.

‘‘Together we risked a lot,’’ said Swiss Transport Minister Moritz Leuenberger. ‘‘Together we achieved a lot.’’

Cuba’s capital cleans up from Paula storm

HAVANA — Much of Cuba’s capital remained without power early Friday following a direct hit from Tropical Storm Paula, as cleanup crews carried away fallen trees and swept up chunks of concrete torn from the city’s famed seawall.

The once-Category 2 hurricane was downgraded to a tropical depression in the morning, with maximum sustained winds dropping to 25 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Cuban officials discontinued all storm warnings.

Branches and palm fronds littered the broad, verdant Fifth Avenue, home to foreign embassies and crumbling mansions, and at least a half-dozen large trees had come crashing down onto the gates of some properties. Police directed traffic since signals were blacked out.

3 NATO troops die in attacks in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — Three NATO troops were killed Friday in Afghanistan in a surge of attacks that raised the death toll to 17 in three days for international troops in the country.

One service member died Friday in an insurgent attack in the east and another was killed by a roadside bomb in southern Afghanistan, an alliance statement said. It did not give nationalities or exact locations of the attacks.

France said one of its soldiers died Friday of wounds sustained in a clash in the Uzbin Valley east of Kabul the day before.