Protesters clash with police in Rio

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A small group of protesters confronted police during a huge demonstration that brought 300,000 people into the streets in central Rio de Janeiro to demand better public services in Brazil.

Police used tear gas to dispers a small group of masked men who were allegedly trying to break into the Rio city hall, according to authorities.

The police reaction to the masked rowdies, who threw stones at the city hall and set fire to trash containers, caused a stampede and the vast majority of the demonstrators - who had been peacefully marching up until then - quickly moved out of the area, Efe was able to determine.

The violent demonstrators remained in front of the city hall, which they continued to pelt with stones, but most of the protesters resumed their march in the opposite direction singing the national anthem.

The stone-throwing protesters used large planks and boards to protect themselves from tear gas bombs and rubber bullets fired at them by police.

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Police clear protesters from 2 camps in Turkey

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Turkish police used force to break up the anti-government protest camps in Smyrna and Mersin, arresting dozens of people, while security forces fired on demonstrators in Ankara, media reports said.

The police intervention against the camp on Smyrna's Gündogdu Square came at dawn with the support of anti-riot forces, although the latter did not intervene against the encamped protesters, who only offered passive resistance, the daily Hürriyet reported on its Web site.

In the southern city of Mersin, another of the foci of recent protests, where on Thursday the 17th Mediterranean Games got under way, police cleared an encampment of about 30 tents that had been set up some 20 days ago in downtown Baris Square.

With the refusal of the encamped protesters to leave the vicinity, officers tore down the tents, took them away in a truck and arrested one person, the daily Bugün said.

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T.S. Barry makes landfall in Mexico

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Tropical Storm Barry is moving toward western Mexico after making landfall in the Gulf state of Veracruz, but no injuries have been reported, the national emergency management office said.

Strong winds and heavy rains from the storm are being felt across Veracruz.

No serious damage has been reported, Veracruz emergency management chief Noemi Guzman said.

Classes were cancelled in all 212 of the municipalities in the state, which had been suffering from a drought for several months.

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Senate rejects border security amendment to immigration bill

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The Democratic-controlled Senate defeated a Republican amendment that would have placed guaranteeing the security of the southwest border with Mexico ahead of legalizing the status of the country's undocumented residents.

The Senate in a 54-43 vote approved a motion rejecting the amendment proposed by Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn on a day marked by continuing divisions surrounding the route to - and content of - comprehensive immigration reform.

The amendment is similar to one defeated by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month.

The Senate, meanwhile, is scheduled to officially announce in the coming hours an agreement to strengthen border security that would include hiring 20,000 Border Patrol agents and building a wall all along the 1,126 kilometers (about 700 miles) of border with Mexico, among other things.

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Actor James Gandolfini dies at 51

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Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his portrayal of New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano in the hit HBO series "The Sopranos," died while on vacation in Italy, the actor's representatives told Efe. He was 51.

Initial reports indicated he died Wednesday of a massive heart attack.

Gandolfini had planned to attend Sicily's Taormina Film Festival, where he was to have taken part in a roundtable discussion on cinema this weekend with Italian film director Gabriele Muccino.

"It is with immense sorrow that we report our client, James Gandolfini, passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy," Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders, the actor's managers, said in a joint statement Wednesday.

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5 Convicted in Qatar fire that killed 4 Spanish children

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Five people were convicted of negligence and sentenced to prison terms of up to six years for a Doha shopping mall fire last year that killed 19 people, including four Spanish children, Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera reported.

The defendants included two co-owners of a daycare that was consumed by the flames: Qatar's current ambassador to Belgium, Sheikh Ali Bin Jassim Al Thani, and his wife, Iman al-Kuwari, the daughter of Qatar's culture minister.

The assistant manager and head of security at the mall were acquitted.

The fire broke out on May 28, 2012, at a store in the Villaggio mall and spread to the daycare, killing two firefighters, 13 children and four daycare workers.

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Rains kill 39 in Nepal

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At least 39 people have died and 18 others are missing after landslides in Nepal caused by heavy monsoon rains in the mountainous country, an emergency management official told Efe.

All the fatalities have occurred in the western part of the country and the great majority of those people were killed in landslides, the National Emergency Operations Center spokesman said.

Authorities do not know the total number of people affected by the monsoons since aid only began to be distributed on Thursday.

In the Darchula district, on the western border with India, the Mahakali River overflowed its banks and destroyed about 50 homes.

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Authorities investigate poisonings at party in Mexico

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Investigators are looking into the poisonings of nine people at a pool party last weekend in Guanajuato, a state in central Mexico, officials said.

The company involved faces "civil, not criminal, liability" in the case, Guanajuato Deputy Attorney General Manuel Angel Hernandez said.

The poisonings occurred at an event organized last Saturday in the city of Leon by a liquor company.

Liquid nitrogen was poured into the swimming pool at the event.