Corpses rescued from flood
Authorities have removed at least 59 corpses from a flooded cemetery in the central mountain town of Lares as heavy rains continue to pelt the island. Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla on Saturday said ongoing downpours have exposed caskets and caused small landslides in the area. He signed an executive order to activate the National Guard to help with the situation. Emergency management director Miguel Rios said new burial spots will be found for the more than 100 corpses. Garcia said the Institute of Forensic Science has sent a refrigerated truck to Lares to help prevent the bodies from decomposing further.
PM criticized for plane bed
Officials close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he will use alternate sleeping arrangements when traveling after receiving a sky-high bill for installing a customized bed on a recent flight to London. Channel 10 TV said Netanyahu spent US$127,000 in public funds during a five-hour flight to attend former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. Netanyahu’s office initially defended the decision, saying he had a busy schedule and needed to be fresh for important meetings in Britain. However, following a public uproar, officials close to Netanyahu said he had been unaware of the cost, and once informed, he ordered the bed be canceled on all future flights. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Gay rights activists march
About 500 people marched through Havana on Saturday to the rhythm of conga drums in an early celebration of the international day against homophobia. President Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela led the procession of gays and their supporters, some of whom chanted “Homophobia no! Socialism yes!” She is the head of the National Sexual Education Center and a leading campaigner for gay rights. She says she is optimistic the country will eventually legalize gay marriage. “What is most complicated is the time it takes to overcome prejudices,” she said. Promoters plan a series of expositions and conferences leading up to another celebration in the city of Ciego de Avila on the day against homophobia itself, which falls on Friday.
Spanish businessmen killed
Police on Saturday found the bodies of two Spanish businessmen in a car dumped in a canal in Sinaloa state. The men were handcuffed and had been shot. The prosecutor’s office said the victims were 57-year-old Fernando Carmona and 58-year-old Jose Montoya, who had both been living in Guadalajara. Prosecutor Julio Cesar Romanillo said the two men went missing a week ago after they left a hotel in Culiacan to visit a couple of nearby towns. Authorities said the businessmen sold clothing for a living and were in Sinaloa to sell jackets.
Pope canonizes first saints
Pope Francis yesterday created the first saints of his reign, canonizing about 800 Italian martyrs who refused to convert to Islam in the 15th century, as well as a Colombian and a Mexican who founded congregations. Thousands of faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square to attend the service to formally bestow the sainthoods, which had been approved by Francis’s predecessor, Benedict XVI. Scores of Colombians and Mexicans traveled to the Vatican to attend the canonizations by Francis, the first Latin American pope.