At least 35 dead in Spanish train derailment


At least 35 people were killed and about 200 others were injured when a high-speed passenger train ran off the tracks near the northwestern Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.

The accident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. (1900 GMT) as the train was approaching a station along the Madrid-Ferrol route.

The locomotive and the first four passenger cars ran off the rails, another car vaulted over an embankment and came to rest near some homes and the remainder of the cars flipped over, witnesses said.

Authorities do not yet know what caused the accident, but one of the main hypotheses is excessive speed. The Interior Ministry ruled out an attack as the cause of the crash.




Red tape keeps Snowden in Moscow airport


Edward Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking classified intelligence, remains confined to the transit area of Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport thanks to bureaucratic red tape, his Russian legal adviser said.

"It's just that the processing of his application for temporary asylum is taking longer," attorney Anatoli Kucherena said.

The lawyer's statement came a few hours after Russia's Interfax news agency reported that Snowden was collected his possessions and preparing to leave the transit area.

Snowden filed an asylum request with Russia's Federal Immigration Service a week ago.




Obama warns of "growing inequality" in U.S.


President Barack Obama warned of "growing inequality" in the United States despite the fact that the country has left behind the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

"(T)his growing inequality is not just morally wrong, it's bad economics," Obama said in a much-heralded speech at Knox University in Galesburg, Illinois.

Reversing that trend "has to be Washington's highest priority," he said. "It's certainly my highest priority."

"Unfortunately, over the past couple of years, in particular, Washington hasn't just ignored this problem, too often, Washington has made things worse," the president said, pointing to what he characterized as obstructionism by "a sizable group of Republican lawmakers."




William and Kate choose name for royal baby


Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, named their first-born child George Alexander Louis, Kensington Palace said.

In a brief communique, it was announced that the infant will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.

George was the favored name in Britain in the pre-announcement oddsmaking, and it was also the official name of Queen Elizabeth's father, George VI.

The name of the baby, who is third in line for the British throne, was virtually the only thing that remained unknown in the wake of his birth last Monday.




Obama nominates Caroline Kennedy to be ambassador to Japan


President Barack Obama nominated Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Kennedy, a 55-year-old attorney, will be the first woman to head the U.S. Embassy in Japan if the Senate approves her nomination.

The Japanese news agency Kyodo had reported the upcoming nomination several days ago, and the actual announcement was made Wednesday by the White House in a statement.

Married and with three children, Kennedy will have to deal in Tokyo with matters such as relocating U.S. troops in the archipelago and trade accord negotiations.




Explosion on U.S. offshore gas rig causes fire


Emergency crews are trying to extinguish the fire that erupted after an explosion on a natural gas rig in the Gulf of Mexico that forced the evacuation of 44 workers, the U.S. Coast Guard reported.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Carlos Vega said that the blast produced a huge fireball on the rig, located 88 kilometers (55 miles) off the southern coast of Louisiana.

CBS reported that participating in the firefighting efforts are personnel from Wild Well Control Inc., who are determining the best way to bring the blaze under control.




Authorities find 94 migrants aboard truck in southeast Mexico


A group of 94 migrants from Asia and Central America was found "in subhuman conditions" aboard a truck near Tuxtla Gutierrez, a city in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, the National Migration Institute, or INM, said.

The migrants - 78 men and 16 women - had "severe lesions on their hands and legs, as well as symptoms of suffocation," the INM said in a statement.

Two of the migrants were given first aid and the rest were provided with food and water.

The truck was stopped early Tuesday at the checkpoint on the way out of Tuxtla Gutierrez after an X-ray inspection revealed that people were in the trailer, the Chiapas Attorney General's Office said.




9 Die when immigrant boat sinks in Indonesia


At least nine people died and 189 were rescued after a boat carrying around 200 immigrants en route for Australia sank, Indonesian officials told Efe.

Among the dead are two children and a pregnant woman.

The shipwreck occurred Tuesday night near Cianjur, an island south of Java, after the boat's motor failed about 5 kilometers (3 miles) offshore, the spokesman for Indonesia's Rescue Agency, Didi Hamsar, said.

Indonesian rescue teams and fishing boats are currently looking for survivors.




Attacks on police leave 22 dead in Mexico


At least 20 suspected drug traffickers and two law enforcement agents were killed in a series of attacks on Federal Police officers in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, officials said.

Gunmen on the payroll of the Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel staged six attacks Tuesday on officers patrolling highways in the state, a high-level Federal Police commander told Efe.

"We are talking about attacks that were planned ahead of time, in which individuals armed with rifles hiding in the hills participated, as well as having roads blocked with buses and other vehicles," the Mexican National Security Commission said.

Fifteen Federal Police officers were wounded in the attacks, officials said.