News in brief

The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.

On Dec. 1, a New York commuter train derailed on a 30-mph curve and crashed, killing four people and injuring 67 others. Train engineer William Rockefeller confessed to travelling at 82 mph on the curve and told investigators that he was “in a daze” at the time of derailment. In an interview with CNN, railway operations expert Steven Harrod highlighted “inattentiveness” as the likely cause of the crash. “Nothing fancy: no alcohol, no drugs, maybe not even a cell phone,” Harrod said. “Just plain vanilla inattentiveness.”

Jalisco and Michoacán, Mexico

While searching for two missing policemen, forensic experts west of Mexico City found dozens of mass graves. Officials told the BBC that, of the 64 bodies uncovered, some showed signs of torture, while others had been bound and gagged. The two missing policemen are not among the dead, but their burned-out car was later found in Vista Hermosa, a nearby village in the heart of clashes between two rival gangs, New Generation and Knights Templar.

Bangkok, Thailand 

On the eve of the birthday of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej, protestors and the Thai government agreed to a temporary truce to ease tensions in the nation’s capital. Protestors are enraged at female Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who recently attempted to open the door for the return of Thakshin Sinawatra, Yingluck’s brother and former prime minister. Currently in exile, Thakshin ruled from 2001 until he was ousted by a military coup in 2006.

Hong Kong, China

How serious is the threat of avian flu in Hong Kong? “Serious,” according to Ko Wing-man, secretary for food and health. After she bought, slaughtered and ate a chicken, a 36-year-old Indonesian immigrant contracted the virus, becoming the first human victim of H7N9 bird flu in Hong Kong. According to Bloomberg, H7N9 was first reported in China in February and has killed 45 people to date.