Beach haul: 6-million pounds of trash
The world's beaches and shores are anything but pristine. A report by Ocean Conservancy, to be released today, catalogs
6-million pounds of debris from cigarette butts and food wrappers to abandoned fishing lines and plastic bags that were collected by volunteers on Sept. 15 in 76 countries from Bahrain to Bangladesh and in 45 states from southern California to the rocky coast of Maine. The 378,000 volunteers on average collected 182 pounds of trash for every mile of shoreline. In the United States, 190,000 volunteers covered 10,110 miles — about a third of the worldwide total — and picked up 3.9-million pounds of debris. That's 390 pounds of trash per mile, among the highest rates of any country. Some averages per mile: Canada, 74 pounds; Mexico, 157 pounds; China, 65 pounds; Bahrain, 300 pounds; and New Zealand, 46 pounds.
Betancourt kidnapper expresses remorse
A Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia guerrilla who kidnapped former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt said Tuesday he is sorry and has written a letter of apology to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Nolberto Uni Vega, 36, said he's "remorseful" over the plight of Betancourt, a dual Colombian-French citizen who has been in jungle captivity since her 2002 kidnapping. "The family — her mother, her children, her husband — a lot of people are suffering," Uni told reporters at the prison where he is serving 34 years for the abduction. Betancourt's assistant, Clara Rojas, was freed along with two other hostages on Jan. 10.
Los Cabos, Mexico
Gunmen take small plane from U.S. family
Gunmen held up a family of U.S. tourists in Mexico on Tuesday and made off with their small plane, police said. The robbers attacked the plane as the American couple and their two daughters, ages 6 and 8, were about to take off from a hotel airstrip in the Baja California beach town of Mulege. Detective Juan Carlos de Jesus Jimenez said the thieves pulled a car in front of the six-seat Cessna Stationair, knocked out one of its windows and forced the tourists out at gunpoint. They then set fire to the car and flew off in the plane.
Moscow: Vladimir Putin agreed Tuesday to take command of the United Russia Party when he steps down as president, enhancing the power he will wield as prime minister and bolstering his platform for a potential return to the Kremlin.
Wellington, New Zealand: Six high school students and a teacher died after being swept away by rising waters in the Mangatepopo River in North Island's rugged Tongariro National Park on Tuesday during an outdoor adventure course.
Paris: High school students threw bottles and rocks Tuesday on the fringes of a demonstration that drew thousands of protesters to a march against a government plan to cut teaching jobs.
Cairo: An Egyptian military tribunal Tuesday sentenced 25 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood to long prison terms on charges that included terrorism and money laundering, officials said.
Kuwait City: Seven Kuwaitis will be put on trial for allegedly sending a statement to Lebanese and Iranian television stations eulogizing slain Hezbollah militant Imad Mughniyeh, their lawyer said Tuesday.
Kampala, Uganda: A fire at a primary school dormitory in Uganda killed 19 schoolchildren and two adults, police said Tuesday. School worker James Kiiza said the school's doors were locked from the outside.