World Digest: July 29, 2013

July 28, 2013
SPAIN
Driver ‘wanted to die’ after train crash

The driver of a speeding train that derailed in Spain, killing 78 people, said minutes after the crash that he had been going fast and couldn’t brake, a local resident who rushed to the scene of the accident said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Evaristo Iglesias told Antena 3 television that he and another person accompanied the blood-soaked Francisco JoséGarzón to a stretch of flat ground where injured people were being taken to await the arrival of emergency services.

“He told us that he wanted to die,” Iglesias said. “He said he had needed to brake but couldn’t.”

He added that Garzón said “he had been going fast.”

Garzón has been released from the hospital and is in police custody on suspicion of negligent homicide. He was expected to give testimony to an investigating judge Sunday, though he exercised his right to remain silent when police tried to interview him.

The judge will have access to information contained in the train’s “black box,” which is similar to those found on aircraft.

— Associated Press

AFGHANISTAN
Karzai expected
to visit Pakistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will make his first visit to Pakistan in more than a year in an effort to mend strained relations between the two countries and in the hope that he can enlist the support of the new Pakistani government to help end the nearly 12-year-long Afghan war, an official said Sunday.

The two nations have had tense ties for years, and Afghanistan has accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban in the movement’s fight against the Afghan government. But the election two months ago of a new prime minister in Pakistan has raised hopes in Kabul that Islamabad will be more open to helping start peace talks with the Taliban than was the previous government.

Pakistan is seen as a key player in the Afghan peace process, and the United States has been trying to enlist its support to help coax the Taliban into peace talks. Islamabad has ties to the Taliban that date to the 1990s, and many of the group’s leaders are believed to be detained or living on Pakistani territory.

— Associated Press

Suspected U.S. drone strikes ­reported in Yemen and Pakistan: A Yemeni military official said a suspected U.S. drone strike killed six alleged al-Qaeda militants in the group’s southern strongholds. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the attack late Saturday in Abyan province targeted a car carrying the suspected militants. Separately, Pakistani intelligence officials said a suspected U.S. drone strike Sunday killed five people in the tribal region near the Afghan border. They said two missiles hit the Shawal area of North Wazir­istan.

Manila to move forces to Subic Bay: The Philippines plans to relocate major air and naval forces to a former U.S. naval base northwest of Manila to gain faster access to waters contested by China in the South China Sea, according to the country’s defense chief and a confidential government report. Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Sunday that as soon as funds are available, the government plans to transfer air and naval forces and their fleets of aircraft and warships to Subic Bay, a busy free port since the 1992 departure of the U.S. Navy.

Tour bus in Italy plunges into ravine, killing at least 37 people: A tour bus filled with Italians returning home from an excursion plunged into a ravine in southern Italy on Sunday night after it had smashed into several cars slowed by heavy traffic, killing at least 37 people, police and rescuers said. Flashing signs near Avellino, outside Naples, had warned of slowed traffic along the A116 autostrada before the crash, highway police and officials said. State radio quoted police as saying the bus driver was among the dead.

French hotel hit with major jewel robbery: Jewels and diamonds worth $53 million were stolen Sunday from the Intercontinental Carlton hotel in Cannes, in what police said was one of France’s biggest jewelry heists in recent years. The hotel on the French Riviera was hosting an exhibit from the prestigious Leviev diamond house. A police spokesman said the theft took place around noon, but he could not confirm local media reports that the robber was a single gunman who stuffed a suitcase with the gems.

— From news services

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