Rescuers: 37 dead as tour bus plunges off Italy highway
ROME | A tour bus filled with Italians returning home after an excursion plunged off a highway into a ravine in southern Italy on Sunday night after it had smashed into several cars that were slowed by heavy traffic, killing at least 37 people, said police and rescuers.
Flashing signs near Avellino, outside Naples, had warned of slowed traffic ahead along a stretch of the A116 autostrada, a major highway crossing southern Italy, before the crash occurred, highway police and officials said. They said the bus driver, for reasons not yet determined, appeared to have lost control of his vehicle.
Hours after the crash, firefighters said that they had extracted 37 bodies — most of the dead were found inside the mangled bus, which lay on its side , while a few of the victims were pulled out from underneath the wreckage, the Italian news agency ANSA said.
State radio said 11 people were hospitalized with injuries, two of them in very critical condition.
US announces resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks
JERUSALEM | The U.S. on Sunday announced the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks following years of stalemate, after Israel's Cabinet agreed to release 104 Palestinian prisoners convicted of deadly attacks.
The return to direct contacts between the sides gave U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry his first concrete achievement after months of shuttle diplomacy.
The U.S. said preliminary talks would begin today, but it remains unclear whether they will lead to a formal resumption of peace talks that broke down in 2008.
Despite a return to the table, neither side appeared upbeat. Each has blamed the other for the lack of success in 20 years of negotiations interrupted by bouts of violence.
Earlier Sunday, the Israeli Cabinet voted 13-7, with two abstentions, to approve in principle the release of 104 Palestinian prisoners. The release is a key part of the Kerry-brokered deal to restart peace talks.
The State Department said Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after the Cabinet vote and invited them to send teams to Washington.
State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki said the teams would meet Monday and Tuesday to "develop a procedural plan for how the parties can proceed with the negotiations in the coming months."
Morsi backers defiant after Egypt government threat
CAIRO | Escalating the confrontation after clashes that left 83 supporters of Egypt's ousted Islamist president dead, the interim government moved Sunday toward dismantling two pro-Mohammed Morsi sit-in camps, accusing protesters of "terrorism" and vowing to deal with them decisively.
Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood denounced Saturday's bloodshed as evidence of the brutality of the military-backed regime. But many accused the group's leaders of trying to capitalize on the loss of life to win sympathy after millions took to the streets in a show of support for the military chief who ousted Morsi in a coup.
Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi said he would take the popular support as a mandate to deal with violence and "potential terrorism" — a thinly veiled reference to a widely expected crackdown on Morsi supporters in the sit-in camps in Cairo and against radical Islamists in the Sinai peninsula who have been waging deadly attacks against security forces since Morsi was ousted in a July 3 military coup.
Islamists led by the Brotherhood staunchly reject the new post-Morsi leadership and insist the only possible solution to the crisis is to reinstate him. Meanwhile, the interim leadership is pushing ahead with a fast-track transition plan to return to a democratically elected government by early next year.