19 Firefighters die battling blaze in Arizona


Nineteen firefighters died while battling a fierce forest fire in Arizona, U.S. media outlets said.

It was the worst such tragedy in 30 years in the United States.

The firefighters were members of an elite corps and became trapped by the forest fire that spread rapidly with the aid of strong winds in an area known as Yarnell Hill.

An official with the forestry department, Art Morrison, said that the firefighting team was working to create a firebreak.

"In normal circumstances, when you're digging fire line, you make sure you have a good escape route, and you have a safety zone set up. Evidently, their safety zone wasn't big enough, and the fire just overtook them," Morrison said in remarks quoted by CNN.




Snowden applies for asylum in Russia


Former U.S. government contractor Edward Snowden has applied for political asylum in Russia, a Russian diplomat said.

British attorney Sarah Harrison, who accompanied the whistle-blower from Hong Kong to Moscow, filed the asylum application on Snowden's behalf at the Russian consular post inside this capital's Sheremetyevo International Airport, consul Kim Shevchenko told the Interfax news agency.

Snowden, a former CIA employee and government contractor who has provided documents exposing the U.S. National Security Agency's massive surveillance of global telephonic and Internet communications, has been stuck in the Sheremetyevo transit area since June 23.

Washington, which is charging Snowden under the 1917 Espionage Act, revoked his U.S. passport, leaving him unable to board a commercial flight until and unless some other government provides him with travel documents.

The 29-year-old American has also sought asylum from several other countries, including Ecuador.




Death toll rises to 20 in Egypt protests


The death toll from the wave of protests and clashes across Egypt has risen to 20, hospital spokesmen told Efe.

At least 12 people died in the past few hours in clashes between opposition members and Islamists at the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters in Cairo.

Five other people died in clashes in front of the offices of the governing Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the city of Asyut.

A total of 713 people, including at least one police officer, have been wounded in the protests, which started peacefully on Sunday and turned violent after nightfall.

The armed forces, meanwhile, gave political leaders 48 hours to do their jobs and reach an agreement as the protests continued.




Death toll in Pakistan suicide bombing rises to 30


The fatalities from a suicide attack targeting Shi'ite Muslims in the western city of Quetta rose to 30 with the deaths of two of the injured, Pakistani police told Efe.

It was late Sunday afternoon that a member of the Sunni Muslim militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi detonated explosives at the entrance to a Shi'ite prayer center after security guards stopped him from entering the building.

Twenty-eight people were killed and around 50 others wounded, including the two who died Monday.

The explosion took place in Quetta's Hazara Town, home to members of a Central Asian minority that is present in both Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan.




Thousands protest against crime in Mexico


Thousands of people took to the streets of Cuernavaca, the capital of Mexico's Morelos state, over the weekend to protest against the wave of violence in the region, officials said.

A Morelos state government spokesman told Efe that about 2,000 people turned out for Sunday's silent march, while various media outlets pegged the demonstrators at 5,000 in Cuernavaca, a city about 85 kilometers (52 miles) south of Mexico City.

The protesters called on state and federal officials to take measures to deal with crime in Morelos, which has been plagued by a wave of murders, kidnappings and extortion rackets.

Morelos is the top state in reported kidnappings out of Mexico's 32 states, the National Citizens Observatory, or ONC, said in a report released last week.

The protesters, many of whom were dressed in white and carried candles, were asked to participate in the silent march by various grassroots organizations that used the Internet to organize the demonstration.




Djokovic, Murray, Ferrer advance to Wimbledon quarters


Top seeds Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and David Ferrer all won to advance to the men's quarterfinals of Wimbledon 2013.

The women's side, however, witnessed the latest in a series of upsets at this year's tournament, as American Serena Williams fell in the fourth round to Germany's Sabine Lisicki 6-2, 1-6, 6-4.

Next up for Lisicki in Tuesday's quarterfinals will be Estonia's Kaia Kanepi, who disappointed the home crowd by edging Britain's Laura Robson 7-6 (6), 7-5.

Serena, who brought a 34-match winning streak into Monday's match, is the latest former Wimbledon champion to be bested by a far less accomplished player.




J.Lo apologizes after singing for president of Turkmenistan


Jennifer Lopez apologized after singing on the weekend for the president of petroleum-rich Turkmenistan, considered to be one of the world's most oppressive regimes.

The artist attempted to clarify what had occurred after being criticized by the Human Rights Foundation for her performance on Saturday.

Lopez sang at a non-political event sponsored by the China National Petroleum Corporation, her publicist said Sunday.

"Had there been knowledge of human rights issues any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," the publicist said in a statement.

Lopez sang "Happy Birthday" to Turkmenistan's president, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, after CNPC asked her to do so at the last minute before she was due to take the stage.