Death toll from Sandy reaches 76, damage estimate tops $30 bn


The death toll from Hurricane Sandy in the United States rose to 76 with the discovery of more bodies amid the wreckage, while estimates of the economic cost of the storm now stand at anywhere from $30 billion to $50 billion.

The new estimate came from IHS Global Insight, which attributes much of the losses to the paralysis of economic activity in the New York metropolitan area.

The Wall Street Journal calculates that insurers will have to pay out some $20 billion in claims.




Crime-wracked Sao Paulo accepts help from Brazilian gov't


The opposition governor of Brazil's largest state agreed to accept the federal government's offer to help Sao Paulo deal with a surge in violent crime that has claimed dozens of lives.

The details of the assistance will be worked out by Gov. Geraldo Alckmin, police commanders and federal Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo, the official Agencia Brasil news agency said.

Alckmin, whose administration had earlier declined the offer of aid from Brasilia, conveyed his new position in a telephone conversation with President Dilma Rousseff, the agency said.




Fuel-truck blast leaves 22 dead in Saudi Arabia


At least 22 people were killed here when a truck carrying fuel struck an overpass and the resulting gas leak caused an explosion, Saudi state television said.

More than 100 people were injured.

The state-owned Ekhbariya network broadcast images of the accident scene in eastern Riyadh's Haris district, where the blast toppled a building and set dozens of vehicles ablaze.




4 Wounded in shooting at Halloween party in California


Four people were wounded when a man started shooting outside a Halloween party on the campus of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, media outlets said.

The shooter and a second man were arrested within minutes of the 11:30 p.m. shooting, USC police Capt. David Carlisle said.

While neither the suspects or the victims had any connection with USC, they were apparently on campus for a party at the Ronald Tudor Campus Center.




New York Marathon still on despite mess left by Sandy


The New York Marathon, an annual event including some 50,000 runners, will take place Sunday as scheduled despite the damage left by Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

"People have asked about the marathon. There's tens of thousands of people who've come from around the world here to run. We've decided the marathon will go on," he told a press conference.

"We expect by Sunday most of the power will be back, if not all of it," Bloomberg said. "It starts on Staten Island right by the bridge. We've been cleaning up that area, and then it's on main roads throughout the city."

Noting that "some people said" the marathon should be canceled or postponed in light of the 32 deaths and extensive destruction the city suffered from Sandy, the mayor stressed the importance of the event to the local economy.




Sinaloa cartel boss captured in northern Mexico


An associate of Sinaloa drug cartel leader Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman was arrested in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, officials said.

Jose Salgueiro Nevarez was captured on Monday along with five other suspected drug traffickers in an operation staged by 42nd Military Zone troops in Hidalgo de Parral, Chihuahua, the Defense Secretariat and the Attorney General's Office said.

Soldiers seized five rifles, three handguns, 13 ammunition clips, 414 rounds of ammunition, seven vehicles, one of which was armored, and communications gear from the suspects.




Beltran Leyva cartel boss arrested in Mexico City


A suspected Beltran Leyva drug cartel boss who handled operations in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero was arrested by the Federal Police in Mexico City, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

Aldo Ramos de la Cruz, "suspected of being responsible for running logistics for the shipment and distribution of drugs from the state of Tamaulipas" to the United States, was detained on Wednesday, the secretariat said in a statement.

Ramos de la Cruz was in charge of the cartel's business in Acapulco, a port city in Guerrero.

He is a close associate of Hector Beltran Leyva, known as "El H" and considered the top leader of the criminal organization, the secretariat said.




Smugglers try to drive over U.S.-Mexico border fence in SUV


Two people tried to drive over the U.S.-Mexico border fence in an SUV earlier this week in Arizona, but the vehicle got stuck on top of the barrier, media reports said.

The incident occurred on Tuesday near Yuma, Arizona, and was covered by a number of U.S. media outlets, with reporters speculating that it was an attempt to smuggle drugs or illegal immigrants into the United States.

Border Patrol agents spotted the vehicle around midnight and saw two individuals flee into Mexico.

The individuals used ramps to try to drive the Jeep Cherokee over the border fence, but the vehicle lost traction and got stuck.