World briefs: Train driver was on phone

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MADRID -- The driver was on the phone with a colleague and apparently looking at a document as his train barreled ahead at 95 mph -- almost twice the speed limit. Suddenly, a notorious curve was upon him.

He hit the brakes too late.

According to the investigation so far, train driver Francisco Jose Garzon Amo received a call on July 24 from an official of national rail company Renfe on his work phone in the cabin, not his personal cellphone, to tell him what approach to take toward his final destination.

The train, carrying 218 passengers in eight carriages, hurtled off the tracks and slammed into a concrete wall, killing 79 people.

Jailbreak mars key vote

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan -- Pakistani lawmakers elected a textiles magnate Tuesday to be the next president of a country plagued by Islamic extremism, only hours after Taliban militants launched a mass prison break freeing hundreds of inmates.

The attack highlighted one of the major challenges that Mamnoon Hussain will face once he takes over the largely ceremonial post of president. Security forces appeared totally unprepared for the raid in the northwest, despite senior prison officials having received intelligence indicating an attack was likely.

It was one of the worst Taliban attacks in recent months and raises serious questions about the state's capacity to battle a domestic insurgency that has raged for years and killed tens of thousands of security personnel and civilians.

Stalin's statue to rise

GORI, Georgia -- A bronze statue of Soviet-era dictator Josef Stalin will soon rise five stories over the museum dedicated to his brutal legacy in the small Georgian town of Gori, where he was born in 1878, the Culture Ministry in the former Soviet republic announced Tuesday.

The 20-foot-tall statue was toppled in the dark of night from its 30-foot pedestal three years ago as vestiges of the totalitarian era in the Caucasus republic were eradicated by pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili. It has since been lying on the grounds of a military base in Gori.

Firm must pay ex-slaves

SEOUL, South Korea -- In a verdict expected to intensify tensions with Japan, a South Korean court on Tuesday ordered Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate five South Koreans who were forced to work in the company's factories during the period of Japanese colonial rule of Korea, which ended with World War II.

The high court in Busan, a port city in southeastern South Korea, ordered the company to pay $71,800 to each of the five Koreans.

Mitsubishi said it planned to appeal.

Irish abortion law signed

DUBLIN -- Ireland's first law authorizing abortion under certain conditions was signed into law Tuesday after a bruising debate in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

President Michael D. Higgins' office confirmed that he had signed the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill.

Mr. Higgins' signature came more than two weeks after a marathon session by lawmakers, who approved it on a vote of 127-31. The new law does not permit women to terminate their pregnancies indiscriminately; rather it allows abortions only when two doctors certify that a mother's life would be at "real and substantial risk" if she continues to carry the child. Only one physician's authorization would be necessary in an immediate emergency.



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