Spanish police investigate operator of derailed train that left scores dead

By Danielle Wiener-Bronner
July 25, 2013

Driver of derailed train under investigation, a report examines Mursi’s downfall, and China charges disgraced communist leader over corruption. Today is Thursday, July 25, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.

Victims receive help after a train crashed near Santiago de Compostela, northwestern Spain, July 24, 2013. REUTERS/Xoan A. Soler/Monica Ferreiros/La Voz de Galicia. Click here for more images.

At least 80 killed in Spanish train derailment. Spanish police are investigating one of two drivers who was manning an eight-carriage train going from Madrid to Ferrol when it derailed at a sharp bend, killing at least 80 people and injuring at least 94, 35 of them critically:

The disaster happened on the eve of a major religious festival in the ancient northwestern city [of Santiago de Compostela] at 8.41 p.m. local time (1841 GMT/ 2:41 p.m. EDT) on Wednesday… In what one local official described as a scene from hell, bodies covered in blankets lay strewn around the train track next to overturned carriages as smoke billowed from the wreckage and bloodied passengers staggered away.Cranes were still pulling out mangled debris on Thursday morning, 12 hours after the crash. Emergency workers had stopped their search for survivors, the court spokeswoman said.

Officials did not name the driver who is under investigation. Authorities said speeding was a likely cause of the derailment, adding that they assume the crash was an accident. Spain’s state railways infrastructure company said the country, which has long been battling recession, did not implement any budget cuts on line maintenance. Santiago de Compostela called off festival celebrations and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was born in the Galician city, visited a local hospital where most victims were being treated and called for three days of national mourning to mark one of Europe’s worst rail disasters. Dramatic footage captured by CCTV shows the train as it speeds off the tracks.

Female members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans while holding images of Mursi as they stand around a barbed wire fence near Egypt’s defense ministry headquarters in Cairo, July 21, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

How Mursi lost Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood and their deposed leader, Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Mursi, made a series of political and economic missteps that lead to their losing the seat of power on July 3. A Reuters special report details the downward spiral:

Mursi’s failure sends a powerful message: winning an election is not sufficient to govern Egypt. Post-Mubarak rulers need the acquiescence of the security establishment and of the population at large. Upset either and your position is not secure. Egypt’s Islamists may draw the bitter lesson that the “deep state” will not let them wield real power, even with a democratic mandate. This report, compiled from interviews with senior Muslim Brotherhood and secular politicians, youth activists, military officers and diplomats, examines four turning points on Egypt’s revolutionary road: the Brotherhood’s decision to seek the presidency; the way Mursi pushed through the constitution; the failures of the secular opposition; and the military’s decision to step in.

Mursi’s stubborn attitude, coupled with a harmful economic strategy, paved the way for Egypt’s political upheaval. Now Egypt’s military is calling for a mandate to confront violence and the U.S. has decided to halt shipments of F-16 jets to the volatile countries. Click through for more insight into Mursi’s fall.

China’s former Chongqing Municipality Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai looks on during a meeting at the annual session of China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 6, 2010. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Bo’s day in court. China formally charged senior politician Bo Xilai with bribery, abuse of power and corruption today. The disgraced communist leader is expected to be found guilty in a trial that could be divisive:

The trial of Bo, a charismatic and well-loved leader to some and a power-hungry politician to others, could sharpen rifts. Bo’s ouster exposed deep disagreements in the party between his leftist backers, who are nostalgic for the revolutionary era of Mao Zedong, and reformers, who advocate faster political and economic reforms.

Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, was last year given a suspended death sentence for British businessman Neil Heywood murder, and Bo’s charges stem from an alleged attempt to cover up the incident. Analysts say the outcome of the trial could showcase Chinese President Xi Jinping’s attitude towards corruption, a key issue for his administration. A date for the trial has not yet been set.

Nota Bene: Thousands protest in Tunisia following the assassination of a prominent opposition leader.

Standouts:

Going mainstream - Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will run for Australian senate. (The New York Times)

Booze dispute - Wine producing nations in Europe fight Scotland’s plan to implement minimum alcohol pricing. (BBC)

Zenghe Island - China’s business elite have their own pricey social network. (QZ)

“Far from home” - A children’s book attempts to offer hope to Syria’s displaced children. (The Guardian)

Great grain? - Bolivia’s quinoa boom is a mixed blessing. (Al Jazeera)

From the File:

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