World briefs (9/10/13)

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Bus plunge kills 43

MEXICO CITY -- A packed passenger bus plunged into a ravine in the Guatemalan highlands Monday, killing at least 43 people and injuring dozens, government officials said.

The accident occurred 40 miles west of Guatemala City, in the department of Chimaltenango. The bus, which had more than 70 passengers, was headed from San Martin Jilotepeque to the capital.

Though the cause had not officially been determined, authorities suspected that the brakes on the bus failed, sending it plunging off a cliff and onto a riverbank about 250 feet below.

Officials said the bus was "overloaded" with passengers, most of whom were indigenous Maya. Some children were among the dead.

8 die in Philippines strife

MANILA -- Fighting between government forces and rebels who were left out of a recent peace agreement paralyzed a city of 800,000 in the southern Philippines on Monday, killing at least eight people and wounding dozens.

Troops secured government buildings in Zamboanga City, about 530 miles south of Manila, but several parts of the city were still occupied by about 300 armed rebels holding at least 20 hostages. Many of the city's streets were empty except for military patrols.

Peace talks with Taliban?

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's leadership Monday agreed to clear the way for peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban, calling it the best strategy to end a decade of militant-driven bloodshed.

The meeting was attended by representatives of all the major political parties, the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, the country's main spy agency, Lt. Gen. Zaheer ul-Islam.

Participants said they had given Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's government permission to start talks by identifying Taliban representatives who might participate.

Moscow recount sought

MOSCOW -- The city's election commission will review a demand by opposition leader Alexei Navalny for a recount of Sunday's mayoral vote.

The official count gave acting Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a Kremlin loyalist, 51.37 percent, slightly more than the just over 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff. Second, with 27.24 percent was Mr. Navalny, an anti-corruption crusader and leading critic of President Vladimir Putin.

Mr. Navalny has accused the Kremlin and the mayor's office of rigging the vote to help Mr. Sobyanin barely pass the 50 percent mark.

Iranian Facebook pages

TEHRAN, Iran -- The Cabinet has opened Facebook pages in what is seen as a move to greater government openness -- even though the social media site is blocked in the Islamic Republic.

The Facebook pages of 15 ministers could be viewed in Tehran through a proxy server. Newspapers on Monday hinted the move might herald the lifting of some Internet barriers.

The Cabinet members signed up in August after the inauguration of centrist- and reformist-backed President Hasan Rouhani.

Archbishop kidnapped

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria -- Archbishop Ignatius Kattey was kidnapped outside the southern oil city of Port Harcourt. Police said his wife, Eleme, was also taken and was later abandoned by their abductors.

A spokesman of the Anglican Communion in Nigeria confirmed the abduction, but said circumstances of the incident were sketchy.

Archbishop Kattey is the dean of archbishops of the Anglican communion in Nigeria, ranking him second to the primate of the Anglican Church in the country.

-- Compiled from news services

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