Colombia: Rebel leader killed

BOGOTA — Troops killed a senior commander of Colombia's largest rebel army in an air-and-ground raid Saturday, as the U.S.-backed military dealt a stunning setback to the nation's leftist insurgency.

Raul Reyes was the official spokesman for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and considered a possible successor to the leftist group's No. 1 spot. The United States had offered a $5 million reward for his capture. Reyes, 59, died in combat and air strikes in neighboring Ecuador, Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos told a news conference.

There was no immediate reaction from the FARC.

Guatemala: Bus crash kills 53

GUATEMALA CITY — The death toll rose to 53 in the crash of an overcrowded bus whose brakes apparently failed, after seven injured passengers died and a body was found in the wreckage Saturday.

Survivors of Friday's crash told rescue workers that the bus driver had tried to brake by downshifting gears before the bus plunged off the highway and rolled down a 50-foot slope, said Benedicto Giron, the spokesman for Guatemala's national disaster prevention committee.

India: Tiger force funded

NEW DELHI — The Indian government plans to spend more than $13 million establishing a special ranger force to protect the country's endangered tigers, following pressure from international conservationists to save the wild cats.

The funding proposed Friday by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram follows the announcement just weeks ago of a $153 million program to create new tiger reserves. New estimates suggest India's wild tiger population has dropped from nearly 3,600 five years ago to about 1,411, the government-run Tiger Project said last month.

Pakistan: Assassination plot

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani police on Saturday formally accused the top Taliban leader in the country and four others of planning the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

Police filed preliminary charges in court against Baitullah Mehsud, who had been named by the Pakistani government in the Dec. 27 killing of Bhutto in a suicide and gun-attack during a public rally. Mehsud, alleged to have al-Qaida connections, is underground and it is not clear if the police are anywhere close to catching him.

Peru: 4 saved after ferry crash

LIMA— Rescue workers plucked three children and a woman from beneath the overturned hull of a ferry that capsized on a remote river in the Peruvian jungle, killing 15, police said Saturday.

The four were kept alive for 20 hours by an air bubble that rose to the top of the hull when the boat flipped on Thursday, local police officer Gabriel Ramos said. Rescue workers heard shouts coming from the hull early Friday morning but were unable to saw through the ship's thick metal exterior. At nightfall, navy divers swam through the dark Tapiche River and up into the submerged boat, pulling the four to safety.