World/nation briefs

  • Updated: November 18, 2012 - 9:14 AM

TEXAS

NTSB: Signals activated before float on tracks

National Transportation Safety Board member Mark Rosekind said warning signals at a railroad crossing in West Texas were activated seven seconds before a parade float crossed the tracks in an accident that killed military veterans. Four veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were killed Thursday when a freight train slammed into the parade float in Midland. Sixteen people were injured.

ARIZONA

Former aide to Giffords wins House seat

Democrats celebrated a victory in Gabrielle Giffords' former congressional district. Rob Barber, Giffords' former chief of staff, had enough votes to win the race for Arizona's Second Congressional District. Barber won a special election in June to fill Giffords' seat. But on Nov. 6, he barely eked out a victory over Republican Martha McSally, a retired Air Force colonel, for a full two-year term. By Saturday, it became clear that McSally could not overtake Barber's 1,402-vote lead.

LOUISIANA

Body found at site of oil-rig explosion

Divers inspecting a Black Elk Energy oil platform that burst into flames in the Gulf of Mexico recovered a body from the water under the platform Saturday night, Coast Guard officials said. Black Elk officials were not immediately available to confirm whether the body was that of one of two missing workers not seen since Friday's explosion.

FRANCE

Paris will get new Syrian ambassador

Days after recognizing the newly formed Syrian opposition council as the "sole representative" of the Syrian people, French President Francois Hollande met with its leaders in Paris and agreed to install a new Syrian ambassador. Hollande said his government would raise the issue of lifting a European Union arms embargo against all Syrian forces at a meeting of foreign ministers on Monday in Brussels.

PAKISTAN

More Taliban prisoners may be released

Many of at least a dozen Afghan Taliban prisoners being released by Pakistan are significant figures, according to officials on all sides, and Afghan peace representatives were exultant as they announced that more releases might follow. The releases are expected to help bolster the efforts of the High Peace Council, the Afghan government's negotiating body, to start talks with the insurgents. Prisoner releases have been a top priority of the council.

IRELAND

Thousands march for abortion rights

About 10,000 people marched through Dublin and observed a minute's silence in memory of Savita Halappanavar, an Indian dentist who died of blood poisoning after being denied an abortion. Marchers, many of them mothers and daughters, chanted "Never again!"

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