BBC News with Jonathan Izard
Police in Mexico have confirmed that the murder victims from a mass killing near the US border were foreign migrants. Mexican marines discovered 72 unburied corpses at a ranch after a gun battle with suspected gang members. From Mexico City, here is Julian Miglierini.
According to the Mexican authorities, the bodies belong to citizens of Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras and Brazil. The young man, who tipped off the authorities about the bodies at the ranch, is an Ecuadorian and managed to escape being killed. Authorities quoted the man as saying that the group was kidnapped by the Zetas, one of Mexico's most powerful criminal organizations, who demanded money from them. When they refused to pay, they were killed at the ranch. The Zetas, who have a strong presence in Tamaulipas, are known to use kidnapping and extortion of migrants as a means to finance their activities.
At least 50 people have been killed and some 250 wounded in a string of bomb attacks across Iraq. There were at least a dozen blasts, including car bombs and roadside bombs with almost all of them targeting the police. The heaviest casualties were after explosions in the southeastern city of Kut and in the capital Baghdad, but there were also attacks in Kirkuk, Basra, Ramadi, Karbala and Falluja. The Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said a number of conditions, including the political vacuum in Iraq and the withdrawal of United States troops were helping insurgents to grow in confidence.
"In such environment, these terrorist networks flourish actually and would love to deepen division among Iraqi politicians to apportion blame on each other in order to create as much chaos as possible."
Evidence is emerging that the devastating floods in Pakistan are worsening with new reports of rising floodwaters, thousands more people in urgent need of shelter while crops and livestock have been destroyed in isolated communities which can now be supplied only by air. A senior minister in the province of Sindh says his team are on a war footing. The chief of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says that a significant amount of crops such as rice, maize and vegetables have been destroyed.
Art collectors in Italy have been duped out of nearly $9 million after buying fake paintings. Police arrested 12 people for forgery. Five hundred works were seized, including copies of paintings by Matisse, Magritte and Fontana. Duncan Kennedy reports from Rome.
The counterfeits came to light during police raids on the homes of dozens of legitimate art collectors across Italy. Investigators say the collectors have bought the pictures on the Internet in good faith. The fraud was discovered after police monitored payment transactions on well-known websites and by consulting art historians. The police say the fakes were of good quality with the forgers meticulously reproducing paintings using the original techniques of the genuine artists.
Figures show that the sale of new homes in the United States has fallen sharply to the lowest level since the government started keeping records 40 years ago. These new figures come a day after equally dismal news about the sale of existing homes which have reached a 15-year low. Paul Adams reports from Washington.
The housing market is still in trouble. New and existing homes sales are down with the bad news coming from all over the country. Prices are also falling. And in these jittery post-recession days, everyone is wondering just what it all means. Some economists attribute the bad results to the end of a federal tax credit which expired earlier this year, but others warn that the economy is teetering on the edge of another recession. There could be more bad news on Friday when the government releases lower-than-expected growth figures for the second quarter of this year.
Medical officials in the Somali capital Mogadishu say 10 people have been killed in a third day of heavy fighting between government troops and Islamist militants. Thirty others were injured. A BBC correspondent in Mogadishu says it's likely many more people have been killed as both the military and the Islamists have reportedly suffered heavy casualties.
The communist government of Cuba has said it will stop funding heavily-subsidized cigarettes for its senior citizens. Traditionally, Cubans over the age of 55 could claim up to 80 cigarettes a month for just 30 US cents. But the government has now announced this privilege will end on September 1st as part of the state's drive to reduce public spending.
Scientists in Canada and Sweden say they've successfully restored vision to a group of partially blind patients. They created a kind of artificial cornea by inserting a sliver of collagen into the eye which then coaxed the natural cells to grow again. They say that in 6 out of 10 individuals some vision was restored. One of the researchers, Dr May Griffith, said that with further research this new approach could help restore sight to millions of people.
And that's the latest BBC News.
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