Morsi allowed to talk to family for 1st time

Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi told his wife and children that he is in good health in his first conversation with his family since the military removed him from office and detained him in a secret location more than two months ago, one of his lawyers said Wednesday.

The phone calls were an apparent gesture by the military as authorities prepare to put Morsi on trial on charges of inciting the killing of protesters during his year in office — though no date has been set for the trial. Morsi’s legal team has not been able to talk to him, said the lawyer, Mostafa Atteyah.

Morsi, who turned 62 last month, was allowed to speak by phone with his wife and children last week and a second time two days later, Atteyah said.

“I will remain steadfast to the last breath,” Morsi told his family, according to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, which first reported the calls. Morsi did not seem to know where he was being held, the report said.

— Associated Press

5 people shot dead along Afghan border

Security forces killed five men Wednesday near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, officials from the two countries said, though they offered conflicting claims on whether the dead were militants or cattle farmers.

The men had crossed the border to get fodder for their cattle when Afghan security forces killed them, Pakistani official Taj Mohammed said. Mohammad is a deputy commissioner in Zhob, about 200 miles northeast of Quetta, the capital of the southwestern province of Baluchistan.

But the police chief for Afghanistan’s Paktika province, Daulat Khan Zadran, said the men were Taliban militants killed in a confrontation with Afghan security forces.

The poorly marked border has long been a source of friction.

— Associated Press

Storm re-forms off battered Mexico: The toll from twin storms in Mexico climbed to 80 Wednesday as isolated areas reported deaths and damage, and officials said a massive landslide in the mountains north of Acapulco could drive the number even higher. The storm that devastated the Pacific resort regained strength Wednesday and became Hurricane Manuel, taking a route that was expected to bring landfall on Mexico’s northwestern coast overnight. It would be a third blow to a country still reeling from Manuel’s first landfall and from Hurricane Ingrid on the eastern coast.

6 killed as bus, train collide in Canada: A double-decker bus collided with a passenger train in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, ripping off the front of the bus and killing six people, police said. Witnesses said the bus went through a closed crossing barrier, and passengers said they screamed “Stop, stop!” at the driver. Officials said 30 people were injured, 11 critically.

Offices of far-right party raided in Greece after slaying: Police raided the offices of Greece’s far-right Golden Dawn party after a man who identified himself as a member was arrested in the fatal stabbing near Athens of a 34-year-old musician described as an anti-fascist activist. The stabbing is the most serious case of violence directly attributed to a member of the extremist group.

Maliki asks for support in curbing violence: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appealed to his people for support for the government’s fight against insurgents as bombings in central and northern Iraq killed at least six and wounded scores Wednesday. The bombings came a day after a series of attacks targeted commercial streets, killing at least 31 people in the latest chapter in months of spiraling violence.

Bahrain opposition boycotts talks on protest: Bahrain’s main Shiite groups suspended participation in reconciliation talks with the Sunni-led government after the detention of a top opposition figure in the violence-racked nation. The decision deepens the showdown over Khalil al-Marzooq, under investigation for allegedly encouraging anti-government violence.

Hong Kong couple jailed for torturing maid: Tai Chi-wai, 42, a Hong Kong electric appliance salesman, was jailed for three years and three months and his wife, Catherine Au Yuk-shan, 41, a public hospital assistant, got 51 / 2 years after being found guilty of torturing, beating and abusing their Indonesian maid.

— From news services