Spain train-derailment death toll lowered to 78


Spanish police have lowered the death toll from the derailment of a high-speed train just outside the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela to 78.

The head of the Spanish national police's forensic unit, Antonio del Amo, informed reporters Friday of the work being carried out to identify the bodies.

He said the death toll had been lowered from 80, attributing the earlier miscount to the difficulty in some cases of determining which human remains corresponded to which crash victims.

The train's driver, identified as Francisco Jose Garzon, has been placed in custody at a Santiago de Compostela hospital on a charge of reckless imprudence resulting in death, the police chief for the northwestern region of Galicia, Jaime Iglesias, said.




5 Killed in clashes in Egypt


Five people were killed and scores hurt in confrontations between supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who was pushed out July 3 in a military coup.

The worst of the violence unfolded around a mosque in central Alexandria, where clashes left five dead and 147 injured.

Tens of thousands of people gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square - birthplace of the February 2011 revolution that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak - in response to a call from Egypt's armed forces chief for citizens to take to the streets in support of the security forces.

Thousands of Islamists congregated in Cairo's Nasr City neighborhood to express support for Morsi and listen to an address by influential cleric Safwat al-Hijazi, who is wanted on allegations of involvement in violent acts.




39 Dead in Pakistan bombing


Thirty-nine people were killed and more than 100 others wounded when two bombs were detonated at a crowded market in the northwestern town of Parachinar, Pakistan's Dawn television reported, citing official sources.

The bombs, which were placed at opposite ends of the market, went off within an interval of around 4 minutes.

Parachinar is the seat of Kurram, one of the seven Tribal Agencies located along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

Never fully under the control of Islamabad, the Tribal Agencies have become a haven for the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaeda members and other Muslim militants.




Pemex: Collective bargaining contract to be announced next week


The management of state-owned oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos said it expected to announce its 2013-2015 collective bargaining agreement with its union next week.

"The labor negotiations are continuing. The idea is to complete them at the end of this month. We're talking about next week," Pemex's chief financial officer, Mario Beauregard, said in a conference call with investors.

Pemex has roughly 150,000 employees, as well as pension obligations with some 70,000 retirees that represent a major drain on the company's finances.

The company is looking to overhaul the current pension scheme to reduce a burden that last year amounted to 1.31 trillion pesos ($100 billion).




Regional drug capo arrested in central Mexico


Authorities in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato presented to the press a reputed local boss of the Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel who was arrested earlier this week.

The state Attorney General's Office said the 22-year-old Agustin Martinez Hernandez, alias "El Kalimba," is under investigation for his alleged role in at least a half-dozen homicides.

The arrest, which the AG's office said was made possible by intelligence gathering, also led to the seizure of two handguns, as well as a SUV that had been reported stolen.

The Los Caballeros Templarios (Knights Templar) outfit, a breakaway faction of the La Familia Michoacana mob, was founded in March 2011 after the death three months earlier of La Familia kingpin Nazario Moreno Gonzalez in a clash with security forces.




Search called off for Spanish mountaineers missing in Pakistan


Rescue teams called off their search for three Spanish mountain climbers who went missing four days ago during the descent of the Gasherbrum-I peak in northern Pakistan.

Alfredo Garcia, who had accompanied the other men during part of the ascent but turned back before reaching the summit, told Efe that after an initial attempt to locate Abel Alonso, Alvaro Paredes and Xevi Gomez the rescuers had given them up for dead.

The trio was last heard from on Monday, when they said via satellite telephone that they were together and had taken refuge fairly close to a camp.

The members of the expedition call for the "utmost respect for the family members, friends and colleagues" of the deceased, Garcia said.