SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt

Kerry offers to talk with Syria’s President Assad

Secretary of State John Kerry says he would be willing to talk with Syrian President Bashar Assad to help broker a political resolution to the country’s civil war.

Kerry told CBS News that the U.S. is pushing for Assad to seriously discuss a transition strategy to help end Syria’s four-year conflict, which has killed more than 220,000 people, given rise to the Islamic State and destabilized the wider Middle East.

“We have to negotiate in the end,” Kerry said. “What we’re pushing for is to get him to come and do that, and it may require that there be increased pressure on him of various kinds.”

The Obama administration has long pushed for a political settlement to the Syrian crisis, and helped bring the Assad government and the Western-backed opposition to the negotiating table in early 2014.

Those talks collapsed without making any headway, however, and there has been no serious effort to revive them.

RIO DE JANEIRO

Brazi’s government raises death toll in bus accident

The Brazilian government raised the death toll of a bus accident to 54 while police continued their search for more victims Sunday in the rugged lands of southern Brazil.

The dead include at least eight young children, three adolescents, 24 women and 14 men, the government of Santa Catarina state said earlier Sunday when the death toll stood at 49. There was no breakdown by age or gender given on the five additional casualties reported later.

The bus plunged 1,300 feet down a mountain near the city of Joinville on Saturday. Ten people were transferred to nearby hospitals with severe injuries, and only one patient has been reported in stable condition.

SAO PAULO

Brazil marchers demand impeachment of president

Hundreds of thousands of Brazilians marched peacefully Sunday in more than 50 cities around the country to demand President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment and to criticize government corruption amid a sprawling graft inquiry at state-run oil firm Petrobras.

The biggest of the protests, held on the 30th anniversary of Brazil’s return to democracy after a long military regime, took place in Sao Paulo, an opposition stronghold where some 210,000 gathered, according to the polling institute Datafolha, one of the only entities in Brazil that makes scientific crowd estimates. Large rallies were also seen in the capital Brasilia, the southern city of Porto Alegre and in Rio de Janeiro.

OUJA, Iraq

Tomb of Saddam Hussein leveled in military clashes

The tomb of Iraq’s late dictator Saddam Hussein was virtually leveled in heavy clashes between militants from the Islamic State and Iraqi forces in a fight for control of the city of Tikrit.

Fighting intensified to the north and south of the city Sunday as Iraqi security forces vowed to reach the center of Tikrit within 48 hours. Video from the village of Ouja, just south of Tikrit, shows all that remains of the once-lavish tomb are the support columns that held up the roof.

Poster-sized pictures of Saddam, which once covered the mausoleum, are now nowhere to be seen amid the mountains of concrete rubble. Instead, Shiite militia flags and photos of militia leaders mark the predominantly Sunni village.

– From news service reports