News Briefs


4 dead, 11 rescued by Coast Guard after migrant boat capsizes off Miami

MIAMI — At least four people died and 11 more were rescued after a power boat carrying migrants from Haiti and Jamaica capsized early Wednesday off Miami

The Coast Guard told Miami Herald news partner CBS4 that the dead passengers were found in the water.

Survivors were found clinging to the hull of the craft, Coast Guard Petty Officer Mark Barney told The Miami Herald.

The Coast Guard conducted a search in the water and by air for additional survivors where the boat capsized, about seven miles off Government Cut.

Several of the people were tossed into the water and one man was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center for treatment. Others are in custody on a Coast Guard boat.

—The Miami Herald


Climate change will affect almost every corner of ocean, study says

LOS ANGELES — Seawater is heating up and becoming more acidic, but those are only the first in a cascade of changes the world’s oceans are expected to go through by the end of the century as they respond to greenhouse gas emissions, a new study says.

“The entire world’s ocean surface” will undergo huge changes in ocean chemistry, habitat and biodiversity by 2100 as a result of climate change, with hundreds of millions of people who depend on the sea suffering as a result, the study predicts.

A team of more than two dozen scientists used projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change along with biological and socioeconomic data to predict how oceans might be altered by the century’s end. By then, almost no part of the world’s oceans will be untouched by climate change and a suite of related effects, they found.

—Los Angeles Times


LAX dry ice bombs were joke to suspect, police say; $1-million bail

LOS ANGELES — The ground service employee arrested in connection with a string of dry ice bombs found at Los Angeles International Airport was a prankster who had no deep motive for his alleged acts, an LAPD official said.

But Dicarlo Bennett, 28, is still expected to face serious charges because the devices were found in close proximity to an aircraft, said Los Angeles police Deputy Chief Michael Downing, who oversees the department’s counterterrorism and special operations bureau.

“He was a prankster,” Downing said. “He thought it was funny. There is no terrorism here. This is one man involved who made very poor choices. There is nothing funny about what he did.”

Bennett, a 28-year-old man who worked for LAX ground-service provider Servisair, was arrested in Paramount, Calif., on Tuesday on suspicion of possessing and exploding a “destructive device near an aircraft,” the LAPD said. He was held on $1-million bail.

—Los Angeles Times


Iran nuclear talks continue amid pressure from Congress

GENEVA — U.S. diplomats began a second day of international talks over Iran’s nuclear program, facing political pressure from Congress if Iran fails to show a new willingness to make concessions by the end of the day.

The two-day negotiating session, begun Tuesday in a United Nations palace, is exploring a deal under which Tehran would agree to curbs on its disputed nuclear program in exchange for an easing of tough international economic penalties and an international blessing for its production of low-enriched uranium.

The six nations involved in the talks fear Tehran has been funding its vast nuclear complex with an eye toward developing a nuclear weapons capability, a charge Tehran denies.

On Tuesday, diplomats from both sides made positive but cautious statements about the progress of the talks. Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister, met privately with the U.S. delegation on Tuesday evening in the U.N.’s Palais des Nations, only the second time such a U.S.-Iranian bilateral meeting has happened in seven years of talks.

—Los Angeles Times


Lebanese authorities tie attacks on mosques to pro-Assad political party

BEIRUT — Lebanese military prosecutors this week charged seven men linked to a political party with strong ties to the Syrian government’s intelligence services in a double car bombing in August that killed scores of worshippers as they left two mosques known for supporting the Syrian rebellion.

In issuing the arrest warrants, a military court judge also linked the men, all residents of a pro-Syrian neighborhood in the northern city of Tripoli, to a mysterious Syrian intelligence official who’s said to have directed the attack.

Judge Saqr Saqr charged the men with organizing and directing the Aug. 23 car bombing of two Tripoli mosques just as the best-attended prayer service was ending. At least 57 people were killed.

—McClatchy Washington Bureau


Inspectors visit 11 chemical weapons sites in Syria

BEIRUT — Inspectors have visited almost half of Syria’s declared chemical weapons sites as part of an ambitious plan to destroy the nation’s lethal stockpiles, an international watchdog agency said Wednesday.

A team of experts in Syria has now “concluded verification activities” at 11 sites, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement. All “were well within government-held territory,” said Michael Luhan, a spokesman for the Hague-based agency overseeing the undertaking.

Inspectors were unable to visit one other site because of security issues, Luhan said.

“We weren’t able to get sufficient guarantees to send our team in,” Luhan said in a telephone interview. “The battle lines shift quite frequently. … It’s a fluid situation.”

—Los Angeles Times


Israel awards USC professors $1 million prize for energy research

JERUSALEM — Two Southern California scientists have won a $1 million prize for their work in the field of alternative fuels, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has announced.

The 2013 Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation will be awarded to USC professors George A. Olah, a 1994 winner of the Nobel Prize in chemisty, and G.K. Surya Prakash for their work on methanol markets, an envisioned future economy in which methanol could replace fossil fuels for various purposes, including ground transportation.

The Israeli government two years ago launched a national program to encourage scientific innovation in the field of alternative fuels for transportation, aimed at reducing global oil dependence.

—Los Angeles Times


17 dead as typhoon batters eastern Japan

TOKYO — At least 17 people died and 46 were missing in eastern Japan as a powerful typhoon bringing torrential rains and strong winds lashed the region Wednesday, authorities said.

Sixteen residents died and 42 people remained unaccounted for after dozens of homes were destroyed by mudslides on Izu Oshima island, about 75 miles south of Tokyo, the National Police Agency said.

Record rainfall of nearly 5 inches per hour was registered on Izu Oshima earlier in the day and the rainfall over the past 24 hours until Wednesday morning had exceeded 31 inches, more than double the average for October on the island, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.



Greece cracks down on neo-fascists

LONDON — The Greek parliament voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to strip six lawmakers from the Golden Dawn party of their immunity from prosecution as authorities continued cracking down on the neo-fascist group, which has been blamed for a spate of violent attacks on immigrants.

The Greek government has turned up its pressure on Golden Dawn since the fatal stabbing last month of an anti-racist rapper allegedly by a suspect with ties to the group. The party’s leader and other senior members have been arrested, and the Greek press has been filled with stories of Golden Dawn’s thuggish tactics, its newly unearthed caches of weapons, and its infiltration of police ranks.

—Los Angeles Times


Putin critic Alexei Navalny has verdict changed from imprisonment to suspended sentence

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — The regional court changed a verdict imposed on prominent Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny on Wednesday from imprisonment to a suspended sentence.

Navalny, a charismatic blogger and frequent critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was sentenced in July by a Kirov district court to five years in prison for an alleged 2009 embezzlement of $530,000 from a timber company. Navalny called the case political persecution.

Navalny, 37, thanked his supporters Wednesday and pledged to continue his political activities. He also vowed to appeal the latest ruling in hopes of winning a full acquittal. Wednesday’s decision left his conviction in place, blocking him from running for office in the future.

—Los Angeles Times


Pakistani official, 7 others killed by suicide bomber

NEW DELHI — A suicide bomber in Pakistan’s volatile northwest killed eight people Wednesday, including a powerful provincial minister, and wounded 30 in the latest attack to hit the troubled region near the border with Afghanistan.

Israrullah Gandapur, the law and parliamentary affairs minister in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, was its third lawmaker to be killed since June.

—Los Angeles Times


Central African Republic forces attacking civilians, agencies say

JOHANNESBURG — Government forces in the Central African Republic have launched attacks against civilians as the country lurches dangerously toward violent chaos, according to the United Nations and humanitarian agencies.

The latest warning came Wednesday from Doctors Without Borders. The group’s physicians have treated dozens of people in recent weeks from shotgun and machete wounds after gunmen associated with the transitional Seleka government attacked villages in the country’s northwest.

The organization reported that violence had reached “unprecedented levels” in recent weeks.

Last month the U.N. and Human Rights Watch warned of new clashes in the northwest and in the capital, Bangui, amid fears the country is on its way to being the world’s next failed state.

—Los Angeles Times


Plane carrying 49 people crashes into Mekong in Laos

VIENTIANE, Laos — A Lao Airlines plane crashed Wednesday into the Mekong River in southern Laos with 49 people on board, most of whom were foreigners, the airline said.

All 44 passengers and five crew members were presumed dead although a search was still under way for survivors in the river, the state-owned airline said on its Facebook page.


Distributed by MCT Information Services