Sandy weakens after leaving at least 50 dead in U.S.


The storm system that was once Hurricane Sandy continued to weaken after causing at least 50 deaths in the United States, but 5.9 million homes remain without electricity in 15 states, assorted media outlets reported.

A summary prepared by CNN said that at least 50 people had lost their lives due to Sandy around the country, while NBC reported that the death toll stood at 55.

In addition, a total of 5.9 million homes - and some 8 million people - remain without power after Sandy knocked out electrical service across wide swaths of the northeast.

Weather authorities say that Sandy has been breaking up into multiple centers of circulation as it approaches the Great Lakes region.




New York recovers slowly from monster storm Sandy


New York took a few small steps on its slow return to normality after the destructive passage of Hurricane Sandy, which left at least 22 people dead in this city, while the cold weather is making the situation even more difficult for those with no electricity or heating.

The partial reinstatement of bus service has allowed many people to get to work. And the shuttles linking the city's islands together and with New Jersey - where Sandy made landfall on Monday evening - are also functioning again.

Many people who don't live far from their daily destinations are making their trips on foot, but others are opting to use their cars, causing significant traffic tie-ups.

In addition, the reopening of the bridges and some of the city's tunnels has allowed resupply trucks to get to the supermarkets and stores, where basic products had disappeared from the shelves last weekend before the storm.




At least 25 dead, 30 injured in wedding fire in Saudi Arabia


At least 25 people died, most of them women and children, and 30 others were injured in a fire that broke out during a wedding in the Ain Dar al Yadida zone, in eastern Saudi Arabia, the local press reported.

The Civil Defense spokesman in the eastern region of the kingdom, Gen. Mohammed Al Auyami, told the digital version of the daily Al Iqtisadiya that the fire erupted Tuesday evening due to a short circuit in the courtyard of the house where the wedding was being held.




7 Injured in gas explosion in Rio de Janeiro supermarket


At least seven people were injured, four of them suffering serious burns, in a gas explosion at a supermarket in Rio de Janeiro, firefighters said.

The blast, which occurred about 7:30 a.m. (9:30 GMT), apparently was caused by a gas leak at a grocery store in the northern Rio neighborhood of Iraja, the Fire Department said.

The victims were in the store's bakery at the time of the explosion.




100 Die in Bangladesh shipwreck


At least 100 people, among them refugees from Myanmar's Rohingya community, are missing after the vessel on which they were illegally traveling sank off the Bangladeshi coast, police said.

The shipwreck occurred on Sunday morning and just six passengers survived, according to testimony from one of them, the police inspector of the southeastern Bangladeshi town of Teknaf, Mohammed Farhad, told Efe.

"Between 100 and 130 people were traveling on a small fishing boat. Approximately one third were Bangladeshis and two thirds were from Burma (Myanmar), many of them from the Rohingya community. They were heading to Thailand," Farhad said.




Marines capture 9 Zetas cartel members in northern Mexico


Nine suspected members of the Los Zetas drug cartel were arrested in Saltillo, the capital of the northern state of Coahuila, by marines, the Mexican Navy Secretariat said.

The men were arrested on Monday during an urban patrol in Saltillo.

Marines seized "30 grenade launcher tubes" of homemade origin, eight rifles, three grenades, 43 ammunition clips and more than 1,100 rounds of ammunition from the suspects.




Death toll from Vietnam typhoon rises to 10


Officials in Vietnam raised to 10 the official death toll for Tropical Storm Son-Tinh in this country, while four other people remain unaccounted for.

The Central Committee for Storm Vigilance and the Prevention and Control of Flooding said that flooding of homes and falling trees caused four of the deaths and injured at least 90 people.

Some 300 homes were completely destroyed and another 50,000 suffered damage, while some 91,000 hectares (about 228,000 acres) of rice paddies and other crops were obliterated, according to the committee, which on Tuesday estimated that the damage amounted to $95.2 million.

The most heavily affected province is Nam Dinh, followed by Thai Binh, Quang Ninh and Ninh Binh, all of them along the northern coast of the Gulf of Tonkin.




Blackout hits northwest Venezuela


A large power outage affected two northwestern Venezuelan states, Electrical Energy Minister Hector Navarro said.

The blackout, the cause of which is not yet known, "is a significant failure" that reduced by 1 gigawatt the supply of electricity on the interconnected national power grid and affected the states of Lara and Yaracuy, Navarro told state-run TV channel VTV.

He also said that "it would be irresponsible" to speculate about the cause of the outage at this time.