40 die in train derailment
A passenger train derailed Wednesday night on a curvy stretch of track in northwestern Spain, killing at least 40 people caught inside toppled cars and injuring dozens in the country’s worst rail accident in decades, officials said. The crash occurred just outside Santiago de Compostela on the eve of the city’s annual religious festival that attracts tens of thousands of Christian pilgrims from around the world. Rescue workers were still searching through the smoldering wreckage of the train’s cars early today in the pre-dawn darkness. State-owned train operator Renfe said 218 passengers and an unspecified number of staff were on board the eight-carriage train during the crash.
189 refugees rescued
Rescuers were searching for several asylum seekers believed to be missing from a boat that sank Tuesday night off Indonesia while heading to Australia. Authorities said 189 survivors were brought to safety and nine bodies were recovered. The sinking occurred days after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd changed Australia’s refugee policy so that people who arrive by boat will no longer be allowed to settle in the country. The move was a response to domestic political pressure and a string of deadly accidents involving rickety boats packed with asylum seekers bound for Australia.
Report sizes up conflict
Colombia’s internal conflict has claimed at least 220,000 lives since 1958, and more than four of every five victims have been civilian noncombatants, a government-created commission said in a report released Wednesday. The much-anticipated report was produced by the National Center of Historical Memory, which was created under a 2011 law designed to indemnify victims of the conflict and return stolen land. The law prefaced peace talks now being held in Cuba with the Revolutionary Armed Forces, or FARC, the country’s main leftist rebel group. The 434-page report says most of the killings occurred after far-right militias backed by ranchers and cocaine traffickers emerged in the 1980s to counter the FARC and other leftist rebels.
Compiled from wire reports.