50,000 Protest in Sao Paulo


Fifty thousand people took to the streets of Sao Paulo and in the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro to protest the recent hike in bus fares, criticize corruption and demand improvements in public services.

A small group of demonstrators attacked the Sao Paulo City Hall and forced the municipal guard to take refuge inside the building. Later the crowd threw fence barriers and other objects at the windows, breaking a number of them, and wrote graffiti on the outer walls.

The protesters occupied the central Praça da Se plaza, in front of the Sao Paulo Cathedral and some of the nearby streets, and they booed people who waved the flags of political parties, apparently in an attempt to preserve the non-political nature of the demonstration.

Thousands of people also participated in protests in São Gonçalo, in the Rio de Janeiro metro area and city authorities in at least six Brazilian cities on Tuesday announced reductions in public transport fares.




Brazil's Rousseff vows to heed protests


Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said "the voice of the street must be heard" and that large crowds of protesters demanding better public services have "sent a direct message" to the nation's leaders.

Despite isolated episodes of violence during the demonstrations, which on Monday brought some 250,000 people out on the streets of dozens of cities, Rousseff said the rallies "show the value of democracy."

In her first public statements on protests that have spread nationwide over the past 10 days, the head of state denounced the instances of violence but said most of the demonstrations have unfolded peacefully.

She said it was positive to see "so many young people and adults, grandchildren, parents and grandparents, all with the Brazilian flag, singing the national anthem and calling for a better country."




Boehner: No immigration bill without majority GOP support


House Speaker John Boehner said that he will not bring to a vote an immigration reform bill that does not have the support of a majority of his fellow Republican lawmakers.

"I don't see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn't have a majority support of Republicans," he said at a press conference after a closed-door meeting of the House GOP caucus.

Boehner said that he will remain faithful to what is known as the Hastert rule, a measure named for former House Speaker Denny Hastert under which only bills having Republican majority support may be voted on by the full Senate.

The Senate, where Democrats have a majority, is now debating a bipartisan plan for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.




P.R. gov't issuing worthless checks, lawmaker says


Puerto Rico's treasury department is issuing tax refund checks that are not backed by sufficient funds, an opposition lawmaker said.

Antonio Silva told radio stations that he had received complaints from taxpayers who tell him that they have not been able to cash their refund checks.

The lawmaker specifically cited branches of Banco Popular, saying that they had refused to accept the treasury department's checks, supposedly due to lack of funds.

Silva, also said that he is ready to provide the names of the managers of the bank branches where the problem has surfaced and he challenged the government to refute the complaints.




Mexico City missing persons bureau director out in wake of disappearances


The director of the Federal District's missing persons bureau is out in the wake of the disappearances of several young people from two bars in Mexico City, a Federal District Attorney's Office spokesman told Efe.

Francisco Carlos Trujillo Fuentes asked to leave and "the resignation was accepted," the DA's office spokesman said.

Trujillo Fuentes's departure "has to do" with the lack of progress in several widely reported disappearances from Mexico City bars, including the case of 12 young people who were taken from a bar in the popular Zona Rosa tourist district in late May, the official said.




At least 32 dead in attack on mosque in Iraq


Thirty-two people were killed and 57 others were wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a Shi'ite Muslim mosque in this capital, an official with the Iraqi Interior Ministry told Efe.

Two suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts in the Habib bin Muzaher mosque in the north Baghdad's Qahira neighborhood.

The attackers used pistols equipped with silencers to kill police standing guard outside the sanctuary.




Death toll at 95 in northern India flooding


The death toll in the flooding produced by the monsoon in northern India has risen to 95 and heavy rain throughout the region is continuing, media outlets said.

The monsoon has come a month early this year and is producing 68 percent more rain than normal.

In the state of Uttarakhand, the most heavily affected, 55 people have died and 60 others remain missing, while some 160 houses have collapsed as rain-swollen rivers overflowed, NDTV television said.

According to sources cited by the media, some 73,000 people are trapped in the Kedarnath Valley, where there are several Hindu pilgrimage sites that many people visit at this time of year.

The government has sent rescue teams and army troops to the area to evacuate the most heavily affected zones.




46 Dead in suicide bomb attack on Pakistan funeral


At least 46 people, among them a provincial lawmaker, died and 100 others were wounded in a suicide bomb attack on a funeral in the northwestern city of Mardan, a Pakistani police officer told Efe.

The explosion occurred about 4 p.m. during the burial of a well-known local businessman attended by hundreds of people, Humayun Khan said.

He said that many injured people and several bodies were transported to hospitals outside the city, which could make tallying the victims difficult.

Among the dead is lawmaker Imran Mohmand, a member of the governing party from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.




Turkish gov't weighs restricting use of social networks to quell protests


The government is weighing the option of restricting use of social-networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, in an effort to quell the protests that have rocked Turkey for several weeks, press reports said.

The Justice Ministry is working on a bill covering Internet crimes, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on its Web site.

"We are reviewing international regulations on this matter," the newspaper reported, citing government sources.

A special government agency is examining about 5 million Twitter postings made during the protests, Hurriyet said.