Egypt announces cease fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza


Egypt's foreign minister announced here an agreement between Israel and Hamas to begin a cease fire in Gaza at 9 p.m..

"Egypt has made great efforts ... since the start of the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip," Mohammed Kamel Amr said at a joint press conference in Cairo with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"These efforts and contacts have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen," the minister continued.

Meanwhile, the head of U.S. diplomacy emphasized the role of the new Egyptian government of President Mohammed Morsi in the negotiations, and she thanked the Islamist leader for "his personal leadership."




13 Killed in suicide attack in Pakistan


Thirteen people were killed in a suicide-bombing at a Shi'ite mosque in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital that hosts Pakistan's army headquarters.

The blast, which occurred shortly before midnight during a Shi'ite procession, followed two earlier bomb attacks that left a total of five Shi'ites dead in the country's largest city, Karachi.

The explosion also knocked out electrical power to the neighborhood, adding to the chaos, Express Tribune newspaper said in its online edition.

Besides the 13 fatalities, a score of people were injured in the attack.

The bomber walked into the procession and detonated explosives taped to his body, according to police sources cited by the Geo network.




Madrid officials fired over deaths at Halloween party


Mayor Ana Botella announced the firing of two top officials with the public municipal company that manages the Madrid Arena, where four girls were crushed to death in a human stampede during a Halloween party.

The firing of the executives of Madrid Espacios y Congresos came after the "loss of confidence" in them, the mayor of the Spanish capital said.

Jose Angel Rivero and Jorge Rodrigo Dominguez were found to have concealed from Botella the existence of a pertinent document, the municipal government said in a statement, though adding that the document in question does not contain any indication of wrongdoing or misconduct.




China sends 90 tons of aid to Cuba, after Hurricane Sandy


China dispatched a cargo aircraft with 90 tons of humanitarian aid to Cuba to help people who lost their homes when Hurricane Sandy devastated the region in late October.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, the plane was scheduled to arrive Wednesday about 3 a.m. in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba, one of the most heavily affected by the storm.

The aid shipment includes 900 tents, 10,000 blankets, 30 water purification systems, 100 electric generators and assorted medicines.




U.S. and Mexico agree to share Colorado River water


The United States and Mexico have signed a new agreement to share the water from the Colorado River, marking the most extensive changes yet to the 1944 bilateral treaty covering the waterway, officials said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar oversaw the signing Tuesday in San Diego of the agreement, which seeks to establish mechanisms for dealing with the challenges faced by states in the Colorado River basin, especially droughts.

The International Water and Boundary Commission, or IWBC, worked to craft the new agreement in response to a deal hammered out in December 2010, when Salazar visited Mexico and signed an accord opening the way for the two countries to pursue a long-term strategy for managing the Colorado River.

The IWBC is responsible for managing shared water resources and the boundary between the United States and Mexico.




Fire in Chile leaves 6 dead


Six members of a single family were killed when a fire consumed their home in the southern region of Araucania, Chilean authorities said.

The blaze broke out before dawn inside the wooden structure in the town of Carahue, some 700 kilometers (435 miles) south of Santiago.

Killed were two men, ages 70 and 27, a 30-year-old woman and her three young children. Another family member, a boy of 17, managed to escape through a window.




Tortoise Lonesome George is gone, but his genes survive


Lonesome George, the last tortoise of his species, is not gone forever, since his genes survive in 17 tortoises living in a volcano in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuadorian officials said.

Lonesome George died June 24 of natural causes after living more than a century without scientists being able to get him to breed with females of similar species.

That fact seemed to sound the death knell for the species of giant Pinta Island tortoises known as Chelonoidis abingdonii, but Galapagos National Park authorities revealed on Wednesday that nine females, three males and five young tortoises living in the Wolf volcano on Isabela Island share George's genes.

The park and Yale University scientists who made the discovery feel that it is possible that there are more hybrid specimens and even purebred individuals from Lonesome George's species somewhere in the archipelago.