LONDON

Cardinal admits, apologizes for sexual misbehavior

A Scottish cardinal Sunday acknowledged having engaged in unspecified sexual misbehavior, apologized for his actions, and promised to stay out of the church’s public life in a statement that comes at an awkward time for the Vatican.

Cardinal Keith O’Brien had been Britain’s highest-ranking Catholic leader until he resigned Monday as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh, a departure prompted by a newspaper report about unnamed priests’ allegations that he acted inappropriately toward them.

He initially rejected the claims, saying he was resigning because he did not want to distract from the upcoming conclave of cardinals that is due to pick a successor to Benedict XVI. O’Brien also became the first cardinal to recuse himself from the conclave because of personal scandal.

On Sunday, the Catholic church in Scotland issued a statement quoting O’Brien as saying that there had been times “that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.”

“To those I have offended, I apologize and ask forgiveness,” the statement continued. “To the Catholic church and people of Scotland, I also apologize. I will now spend the rest of my life in retirement. I will play no further part in the public life of the Catholic church in Scotland.”

BEIJING

Moderate earthquake leaves at least 30 people injured

Hundreds of homes collapsed and at least 30 people were injured in a moderate earthquake in southwest China.

The earthquake bureau in Yunnan province, where the quake occurred Sunday, said three of the injured people were in serious condition.

The official Xinhua News Agency said the quake damaged 2,500 houses and caused 700 others to collapse.

About 55,000 people were affected by the quake, Xinhua said, citing Yunnan’s Civil Affairs Department. Supplies were on their way to the area.

The magnitude-5.5 quake struck 32 miles from the city of Dali at a depth of 20 miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

MOSCOW

Teens trapped in avalanche in remote mountain region

Russian authorities say six teenagers are trapped in an avalanche in the region of Tuva in southern Siberia.

The Emergency Situations Ministry says a distress call came in late Sunday afternoon, Moscow time, from the remote mountain area about 62 miles north of the Mongolian border.

Several dozen rescue workers are combing the avalanche zone.

It was not immediately clear what the teens were doing in the area, but Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov tweeted that the youth were going to put up flags in the area as a sort of lucky charm.

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria

Terrorist fighters kill at least 20 in attack on military base

Fighters linked to the radical Islamic terrorist network Boko Haram attacked a military base in Nigeria’s north Sunday in an assault that left at least 20 people dead, as the network’s leader denied any peace talks with Nigeria’s government.

The attack in the village of Monguno, some 125 miles from the city of Maiduguri, punctuated the video statement by Abubakar Shekau that said Nigeria will remain under attack by the group until the multiethnic nation is ruled under Islamic law.

Shekau also threatened the man who in recent months claimed to be a leader of Boko Haram and said that the group wanted to agree to a cease-fire with Nigeria’s security forces.

The attack Sunday, coupled with the recent kidnappings of foreigners claimed by Boko Haram and its affiliates, offered fresh doubts about the ability of Nigeria’s weak central government to stop the bloodshed.

WASHINGTON

Rodman urges president to reach out to dictator

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman has a few words of advice for President Obama: Give North Korean dictator Kim Jong Eun a call.

Just back from a surprise trip to North Korea, Rodman appeared on the Sunday morning news show “This Week” to discuss the results of his visit.

He said Kim Jong Eun doesn’t want war with the U.S. and that the North Korean leader wants to open a direct line of communications to the White House.

“He wants Obama to do one thing. Call him,” Rodman said. “‘I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”

Rodman palled around with the North Korean dictator for several days last week, watching a basketball game with the Harlem Globetrotters, visiting an aquarium and going ice skating. They also shared a long dinner.

“He’s a great guy. He’s just a great guy,” said Rodman, a former NBA rebounding champ.

Rodman, 51, said Obama and Kim could use their shared love of basketball to break the ice.

— From news service reports