DURBAN, South Africa

Delegates struggle toward action on global warming

Negotiators from Europe, tiny islands threatened by rising oceans and the world’s poorest countries sought to keep alive the only treaty governing global warming and move to the next stage, struggling against an unlikely alliance of the United States, China and India.

A two-week U.N. conference stretched past the hour it was supposed to end, with negotiators heading into a final night of meetings expected to last until dawn today. Delegates from the 194-party conference are trying to map out the pathway toward limiting global emissions of greenhouse gases for the rest of this decade, and then how to continue beyond 2020.

More than 120 climate-vulnerable countries signed onto the EU vision calling for all countries to be held accountable for their carbon emissions in the future, not just the industrial countries. The United States, China and India, all for slightly different reasons, refused.


Hospital staffers abandon patients to smoky blaze

Fleeing medical staff abandoned patients to a fire that killed 89 people Friday as smoke poured through the seven-story hospital in this city in eastern India, officials said.

It took firefighters in the city formerly known as Calcutta more than an hour to respond, one witness said.

Six hospital directors surrendered to police and were charged with culpable homicide, police said.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

Military officials defend disciplinary block conditions

U.S. military officials at Guantanamo Bay are defending conditions in a disciplinary block known as “Five Echo,” taking the unusual step Friday of releasing photos of a section of the jail not typically shown to outsiders.

Attorneys for detainees say the cells are too small, toilets inadequate, lights overly bright and its air foul, and they call it inhumane to keep detainees there for 22 hours a day, especially when they have not been convicted of a crime.

Guantanamo Bay officials said Five Echo is by its nature a worse place to be imprisoned than in the communal blocks where most detainees at Guantanamo are now held, but the military disputed assertions that its conditions violate the Geneva Conventions.


Forces fire on protesters, killing at least 24 people

Syrian security forces fired on anti-government demonstrations across the country Friday, killing at least 24 people as the regime tries to choke off a 9-month-old uprising, activists said.

Some of the worst violence was reported in Homs, a city in central Syria that has emerged as the epicenter of the revolt against President Bashar Assad.

Despite the relentless bloodshed, Assad has refused to buckle to the pressure to step down and has shown no signs of easing his crackdown. The United Nations estimates more than 4,000 people have been killed in the military assault on dissent since March.

Two boys, ages 10 and 12, were hit by stray bullets Friday near government checkpoints in Homs, according to activists.


Authorities say officers failed lie-detector tests

Jamaican authorities say 217 police officers who took voluntary lie-detector tests this year failed.

Assistant Police Commissioner Justin Felice said Friday that was 60 percent of the 362 officers who underwent the tests.

The Caribbean island’s police force has used lie detector tests as part of its vetting process since 2008. Officials denied re-enlistment to 62 officers this year. An additional 34 have been charged with corruption and seven dismissed for failing the test.

— From news service reports