LOS ANGELES — Following a nonstop weekend that included a few chukkers of polo, time with Hollywood’s own version of royalty and several events that raised millions of dollars for charity, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge headed back to the U.K. on Sunday.
Their Southern California stopover came at the end of a nine-day visit to Canada, the first tour Prince William and his bride Catherine have made since getting married in April.
In California, small crowds of well-wishers waving British and American flags lined up to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds and well-heeled fans paid thousands of dollars to sip champagne in the couple’s presence at a charity polo match in Santa Barbara on Saturday.
The duke and duchess managed to see a sweeping sampling of the Los Angeles area (though not Disneyland), and they attended a star-studded, black-tie soiree to promote British filmmaking talent where the guests included Tom Hanks and Jennifer Lopez. On Sunday, they paid a brief visit to Skid Row, downtown’s gritty homeless core.
3 NATO troops die; 6 abducted Afghans killed
KABUL, Afghanistan — A spate of attacks across Afghanistan on Sunday killed three NATO service members, an Afghan government official and three police officers, officials said.
Meanwhile, officials said insurgents have killed six Afghan deminers from a group of 32 that was kidnapped last week in the country’s southwest.
Bodies of five of the missing deminers were recovered and local officials were able to confirm that at least one more was killed, said Farah province’s deputy police chief, Mohammad Ghaws Malyar. All of the dead had been beheaded, he said. The group had been ambushed July 6 while driving to a work site in the province. Two were released with the help of local tribal elders, Malyar said.
Meanwhile, a roadside bomb attack in southern Helmand province killed a Danish soldier who was on patrol, while two other NATO service members were killed in insurgent attacks in the south and east, according to NATO and the Danish government.
The latest deaths bring to 15 the number of international service members killed so far this month. So far this year, 286 international troops have been killed in Afghanistan.
Sudanese celebrate first day of independence
JUBA, South Sudan — Celebrations rang out Saturday in the South Sudan capital of Juba on the first day of independence after decades of civil war between Sudan’s north and south. Some 2 million people died in the most recent war, from 1983-2005.
On Sunday, small groups of people still sang and danced on street corners. The new country’s national anthem played from speakers and cell phones.
The joy of independence day temporarily overshadowed the ongoing hostilities between the northern army and southern-allied forces in the northern state of South Kordofan and other violence along the north-south border.
Dozens of world leaders joined a crowd tens of thousands strong in Juba on Saturday. The American delegation was led by diplomat Susan Rice, who told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Sunday that the U.S. government remains “focused on the urgency of resolving” the outstanding north-south issues.
35 feared dead in northern India train wreck
NEW DELHI — As many as 35 passengers were killed and 150 were injured when an express train derailed in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday, officials and news reports said.
Thirteen coaches of the Delhi-bound Howrah-Kalka train, which was travelling at a speed of 67 mph, ran off the rails in southern Fatehpur district.
Rescue workers used blowtorches to cut open the wreckage to pull out survivors. Hundreds of villagers gathered at the site to help with the rescue.
The accident led to the suspension of train services on what is one of the country’s busiest railway routes.