Wildfires kill 3 in Spain's Catalonia region

spain

Three people killed as wind-blown fires burn in catalonia

Two wildfires fanned by strong winds killed three people and disrupted transportation in Spain's northeast region of Catalonia on Sunday. Train services in Alto Ampurdan had been suspended and several cross-border roads linking Barcelona with France had been closed because of the advancing flames, regional government spokesman Felip Puig said. One person died of a heart attack while dousing flames around his home in Llers and two people fell to their deaths when they jumped into the sea to escape fires that had engulfed cars on a road near Portbou, the regional fire department said. The fire service said more than 80 teams had been deployed to combat the wildfires. A north wind called the Tramontana is a part of life in mountainous northeast Spain and its strong gusts, which can often exceed 100 mph, can spread fires rapidly across this heavily forested area.

cuba

Prominent dissident dies in car crash

Cuban dissidents say prominent fellow government opponent Oswaldo Paya has died in a car crash. He was 60 years old. Paya, a journalist, gained fame in the 1990s as the organizer of the Varela Project, which gathered signatures to urge authorities to change the constitution to allow multiple political parties and private enterprise.

India

Ex-finance minister chosen as president

Pranab Mukherjee, a former finance minister and troubleshooter for the ruling Congress Party, was elected president of India, officials and local media said Sunday, securing nearly twice as many votes as his rival in the electoral college as voting continued. Mukherjee, 76, defeated Purno A. Sangma, 64, a former speaker of the lower house of Parliament.

Somalia

Militants execute 3 alleged CIA, MI6 spies

Somalia's most powerful militant group publicly executed three of its members Sunday, saying the trio had spied on the militants for the U.S. and British intelligence agencies. Al-Shabab said the three men were CIA and MI6 informants, and were the reason several drone attacks killed leaders from the group.

Turkey

4 perish in helicopter crashes in Kurd region

A Turkish paramilitary helicopter crashed Sunday in a southeastern region where troops are fighting Kurdish rebels, killing four security personnel on board, officials said. Eight others were injured.

Iowa

FBI: Missing girls are likely still alive

Authorities investigating the disappearance of two young girls in Iowa said Saturday that they believe them to still be alive. Lyric Cook, 10, and her cousin Elizabeth Collins, 8, were last seen by their grandmother more than a week ago when they left on a bike ride. "We believe these girls are alive and we are not discouraged by the passage of time since their disappearance," FBI spokeswoman Sandy Breault said. The girls' bicycles and a purse were found near Meyers Lake hours after they were reported missing July 13.

Wildfires kill 3 in Spain's Catalonia region 07/22/12 [Last modified: Sunday, July 22, 2012 11:54pm]

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