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Mexico, U.S. adopt measures to curb deaths of immigrants

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Mexico and the United States on Friday announced their most sweeping effort yet to reduce the deaths of illegal immigrants, including campaigns to warn them of risks, a crackdown on smugglers and experiments with Border Patrol agents firing pepper gas instead of bullets.

"This is the first step toward a border that both countries can be proud of," Enrique Berruga of Mexico's Foreign Relations department said at a news conference.

Both nations were prodded to speed up efforts to protect migrants by the discovery last month of 14 bodies in the Arizona desert, Berruga said.

Last year, 491 Mexicans died trying to cross the border illegally, and 157 more have died this year.

Most migrants died of exposure, drowning or in traffic accidents. However, there have been several highly publicized cases of U.S. Border Patrol agents shooting immigrants, and that is a significant fear here in Mexico for would-be migrants.

Three train cars in India tumble off bridge; 19 dead

PALGHAT, India (AP) -- Three cars of a passenger train plunged off a bridge into a river in southern India on Friday, killing at least 19 people and injuring more than 200, officials said.

Railway officials in Palghat, 60 miles from the crash site, said they had reports from the scene saying at least 19 bodies were recovered from the Kadalundi River. A local television station said at least 30 passengers were feared dead.

The last three cars of the Mangalore-Chennai Mail derailed and fell more than 100 feet into the river as the train was crossing a bridge, said officials in Kozhikode, 12 miles from the site. One of the cars was reserved for women.

Three other cars also derailed and were hanging from the 1,200-foot-long bridge, which spans the river where it flows into the Arabian Sea in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Anniversary of Nazi invasion into Soviet Union marked

MOSCOW (AP) -- Sixty years after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, people across Russia, Ukraine and Belarus laid wreaths and lighted candles Friday to mark the bitter anniversary of the war that killed some 27 million Soviet citizens and defined nationhood for those left living.

"Twenty-seven million dead -- such a price was paid by no other country," Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a televised address. "You cannot understand Russia unless you understand what we went through in the war."

The war plays a major part in the family history of most people in the former Soviet Union, and the victory over the Nazis is revered as an untarnished accomplishment at a time when many are disillusioned by the 1991 Soviet collapse and the disorder that followed.

Under a midmorning drizzle, Putin laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier behind the Kremlin.

A group of elderly veterans, jackets sagging with medals, placed candles at the tomb. They held their ceremony shortly before 4 a.m. -- about the time that German troops crossed into Soviet territory on June 22, 1941.

Colombian army clashes with rebels in coca region

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- Clashes between rebels and the army in Colombia's main coca growing region left at least eight soldiers dead Friday, the army said.

The deaths mark the army's largest one-day casualties since a U.S.-backed drug counteroffensive began late last year in southern Putumayo province.

There were no immediate reports of rebel losses in the fighting near the riverside town of Puerto Leguizamo, 320 miles south of the capital, Bogota. The town is a major base for Colombian marine counternarcotics operations.

The army said it had sent in reinforcements and was pursuing retreating guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The troops killed Friday were not members of the Putumayo-based anti-drug battalions recently trained by U.S. special forces under a $1.3 billion anti-drug package for the Andes.

The area around Puerto Leguizamo is a stronghold of the FARC rebels and rival right-wing paramilitary groups who have muscled in on the lucrative drug trade.

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