US: Beijing falls short on human rights

BEIJING - The United States is deeply concerned about what it sees as a deteriorating human rights situation in China, with relatives of activists increasingly being harassed and policies in ethnic areas becoming more repressive, a senior U.S. diplomat said Friday.

Uzra Zeya, acting assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, said this week's U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue fell short of Washington's expectations, but that going forward with the talks remained a "vital" part of U.S. diplomacy.

Zeya led the U.S. delegation at the talks in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming.


Live munitions found aboard seized ship

PANAMA CITY - Crews unloading a North Korean-flagged ship detained in the Panama Canal for carrying undeclared arms from Cuba have found live munitions on board, a Panamanian official said Friday.

Explosive-sniffing dogs found ammunition for grenade launchers and other unidentified types on munitions, said anti-drug prosecutor Javier Caraballo, who did not specify the amount of munitions. The ship, Chong Chon Gang, was headed from Cuba to North Korea when it was seized in the canal July 15 based on intelligence that it may have been carrying drugs.

North Korea is barred by the U.N. from buying or selling arms, missiles or components.


Phone-in-coffin plot at prison is foiled

MEXICO CITY - Mexico City prison authorities say they have quashed an attempt to smuggle a prohibited cellphone into a city prison in the coffin of an inmate's mother.

Prisoners in the city have the right to have the casket of a deceased parent or child brought into the prison yard so they can bid farewell to their relative. But city correctional spokesman Emilio Castelazo said Friday that before the coffin was allowed into the Santa Marta Acatitla prison, guards searched the casket and found the cellphone inside.

Cellphones are banned because inmates often use them to coordinate criminal activities outside prison.


Train driver received 3 signals to go slower

MADRID - The driver of a train that derailed, killing 79 people, ignored three warnings to reduce speed in the two minutes before the train hurtled off the tracks on a treacherous curve, investigators said Friday.

A court statement said the driver was talking on the phone to a colleague when he received the first automatic warning in his cabin of a sharply reduced speed zone ahead. The statement said the warning was by means of a sound but provided no further detail. At that point, the train was going 121 mph when the speed limit was set at 50 mph. Four seconds later the driver applied emergency brakes.

By the time Francisco Jose Garzon Amo did so, the train was beginning to lose contact with the rails, the statement said. The total derailment occurred at 111 mph.


William, Kate register birth of Prince George

LONDON - It's official.

Royal officials say Prince William and his wife, Kate, have formally registered the birth of their son - and put to rest any doubts about their occupations as royals.

Kensington Palace said William signed the birth registry Friday for Prince George, third in line to the throne, who was born July 22 in London.

The register entry gives the date, place of birth and full name of His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.

William and Kate's full names were also given, with occupations listed as Prince of the United Kingdom and Princess of the United Kingdom. The couple's "usual address" is given as Kensington Palace, in London.

Wire reports