The Slatest

Slatest PM: Spain Arrests Train Driver at Controls During Deadly, High-Speed Crash

The first Madrid-A Coruna route high-speed train departures after the high-speed train crash in Santiago de Compostela

Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo/Getty Images

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Driver in Custody: New York Times: “The train driver, Francisco José Garzón Amo, a veteran with more than three decades of experience, was arrested on Friday, and investigators were examining records from the train’s ‘black box’ … to determine how it smashed into a curved wall and careered off the track on Wednesday, killing 78 people and leaving dozens injured. On Friday, Jaime Iglesias, a national police force commander in Galicia, said the authorities had the black box data from the train…. But he could not say how long it would take to determine the cause of the crash, one of Europe’s worst recent rail disasters, or to verify reports that the train was traveling at twice the speed limit.”

“I Want to Die:” Associated Press: “‘I messed up; I want to die,’ Francisco Jose Garzon Amo allegedly [told station officials immediately after the accident], according to local media reports. ‘So many people dead, so many people dead.’ And in an interview with The Associated Press, an American passenger injured on the train said he saw on a TV monitor screen inside his car that the train was traveling 121 mph seconds before the crash—far above the 50 mph speed limit on the curve where it derailed.”

Death Toll Could Rise: Los Angeles Times: “Spain’s Interior Ministry, which had put the death toll at 80, revised that figure downward slightly Friday to 78 as coroner’s officials strove to identify the remains of bodies badly mutilated in Wednesday’s disaster. Several other passengers remain in critical condition, and the number of fatalities could yet rise. … At least one American was killed in the accident. The Diocese of Arlington, in northern Virginia, identified her as Ana Maria Cordoba, who worked for the diocese.”

It’s Friday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and getting excited to enjoy July’s last weekend. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.

The Slatest: Washington Thought It Necessary to Promise Moscow That It Won’t Torture or Kill Snowden

San Diego Mayor Heads to Rehab: MSNBC: “After weeks of accusations of sexual harassment by a number of women, and after his local Democratic party leadership overwhelmingly asked him to resign, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner said he will enter therapy–but not resign. ‘Words alone are not enough…I must take responsibility,’ he said. Filner said he would enter ‘behavior therapy’ on August 5 for two weeks as he offered an apology to the ‘people of San Diego,’ his staff, and those women whom he has offended. ‘The behavior I have engaged in over many years is very wrong,’ the mayor said.”

The Slatest: Halliburton Admits It Destroyed Evidence to Make Itself Look Better During the BP Spill

Powder Keg Egypt: Reuters: “Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi is under investigation for an array of charges including murder, the state news agency said on Friday, stoking tensions as opposing political camps took to the streets. Confirming the potential for bloodshed, two men were killed in confrontations in Egypt’s second city Alexandria and a further 19 were hurt, Mena news agency reported. Heeding a call by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi for a popular mandate, hundreds of thousands rallied in numerous cities, welcoming the military’s pledge to confront weeks of violence unleashed by the overthrow of Mursi on July 3.”

The Slatest: Ariel Castro Avoids Death Penalty With Life-Sentence Plea Deal

Huma Investigated: Washington Post: “The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that the State Department and Huma Abedin, the wife of former congressman Anthony Weiner, have put up ‘a stone wall’ in the face of his inquiry about her final months at the agency, and vowed to continue raising questions about Abedin’s employment status. … At issue is the employment status Abedin used at the State Department during the final eight months of her tenure there. Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton, served as deputy chief of staff in then-Secretary Clinton’s office from early 2009 until June 2012, when she became a ‘Special Government Employee’ for the remainder of her time at the department. She left the agency in February.”

The Slatest: The New Yorker Imagines Anthony Weiner as a Sexting King Kong

No Parole For Pussy Riot: Reuters: “A jailed member of Russian female punk group Pussy Riot lost a court battle to be released but remained unrepentant over last year’s protest against President Vladimir Putin in a Moscow cathedral. Nadezhda Tolokonnikova watched from behind the black metal bars of a courtroom cage as a regional court on Friday upheld an earlier decision not to release her after nearly a year in prison so that she could look after her five-year-old daughter.”

The Slatest: Dominique Strauss-Kahn Charged With “Aggravated Pimping”

Dreamliner Nightmare: NBC News: “There were more problems for Boeing’s troubled 787 Dreamliner on Friday - one was grounded, an oven overheated in another and damage was found in wiring on two other planes as pressure mounted on Boeing over possible new electrical problems with the advanced jet. … The airline and Boeing declined to give further details but industry sources said they were treating seriously reports that the aircraft had been grounded for days after smoke was seen near an electrical panel.”

The Slatest: Suspected Vandal Splatters Green Paint on the Lincoln Memorial

Gitmo Detainees Sent Back: Politico: “The Defense Department notified Congress on Friday that it intends to send two Guantanamo Bay detainees back to Algeria, White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. ‘As the president has said, the United States remains determined to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay,’ Carney said, and the repatriation of the two detainees – the first releases this year – are ‘in support of those efforts.’”

Ethics Committee Continues Bachmann Look: Associated Press: “The House Ethics Committee is continuing an investigation of Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. The committee announced on Friday it had received a referral from the Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent investigative body, and said in a brief statement it would continue to look into Bachmann’s case. The committee says it will announce its course of action in September and notes that an extension does not in itself indicate an ethics violation.”

A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:

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