National editor's pick of the top news stories in the nation and world at this hour:
Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire in Gaza to take effect Wednesday at 9 p.m. local time (11 a.m. PST), Egyptian and U.S. officials announced. Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr made the much-awaited announcement alongside Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who met earlier with President Mohamed Morsi in an effort to forge an agreement. In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the deal, saying he had agreed after consulting with President Barack Obama. The cease-fire is meant to end a week of fighting that has killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis.
Hours before a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas was announced, a bomb exploded Wednesday aboard a bus in Tel Aviv, injuring 27 people. It was the first bombing in Tel Aviv since 2006, though such attacks were almost routine a decade ago during a Palestinian arising against Israeli occupation. Hamas, the ruling authority in the Gaza Strip, did not take responsibility but praised the bombing. "We consider it a natural response to the occupation crimes and the ongoing massacres against civilians in the Gaza Strip," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. Three of the 27 injured were seriously to moderately hurt, authorities said. One man hospitalized with shrapnel injuries, Yehuda Samarano, 59, said, "I was sitting in the middle of the bus. We were about to pull into a station and suddenly there was a huge explosion. I flew from my seat. Everything became white, and my ears are still ringing now."
Rebels who now control the Congolese city of Goma vowed Wednesday to seize control of the entire country and topple the government in Kinshasa -- which is exactly what happened in a 1997 rebellion that also started in the east and was also backed by neighboring Rwanda. "We are now going to Kinshasa. No one will divide this country," said Col. Vianney Kazarama, a spokesman for the M23 rebels, to a cheering crowd of thousands. More than 2,100 Congolese soldiers and 700 police officers turned in their weapons and defected to the rebels, another M23 officer said. Kazarama said the rebels' next target is Bukavu, which like Goma borders Rwanda. Residents of that city, reached by phone, said people there were already demonstrating against the government and in support of the rebels. In neighboring Uganda, Congolese President Joseph Kabila met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in emergency talks mediated by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Kabila had previously refused to negotiate with the M23 but may have little choice after the fall of Goma, analysts said.
The lone surviving gunman of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people was hanged Wednesday. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab of Pakistan was hanged in secrecy in Pune, a city near Mumbai, after Indian President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his plea for clemency. Indians throughout the country celebrated the execution with firecrackers and effigies. "This is an incomplete justice as the masterminds and main handlers of 26/11 are still absconding," said Kavita Karkare, the widow of an anti-terrorism squad leader who was killed while pursuing Kasab. The terror attack is widely referred to as 26/11 because it began on Nov. 26, 2008. Kasab said in a confession that he left a low-paying job as a shop assistant when recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani militant group, to carry out the attack. He was one of 10 gunmen who entered Mumbai by boat and fanned out through the city with automatic weapons and grenades, targeting luxury hotels, a Jewish center, a train station and a restaurant. Kasab was the
Boxer Hector "Macho" Camacho was shot in the face as he sat in a car in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, and doctors said Wednesday that he was clinging to life. His family was expected to decide whether to remove the former boxing champion from life support. Doctors initially had said Camacho was in critical but stable condition, but he worsened overnight and his heart stopped at one point, said Dr. Ernesto Torres, director of the Centro Medico trauma center in San Juan. "He's battling minute to minute. This is the most important fight of his life," Torres said. Camacho, who won world titles in three weight classes in the 1980s and knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard in 1997, was sitting in a car with another man in Bayamon when a gunman opened fire on their vehicle, killing the other man. A bullet went through Camacho's jaw and lodged in his right shoulder, fracturing two vertebrae. A rep for the boxer, Steve Tannenbaum, said, "This guy is a cat with nine lives. He's been through so much. If anybody can pull through it will be him." Camacho's career ended in 1997 with a loss to Oscar De La Hoya, and drug, alcohol and legal problems have followed him since then.
The Wire, a summary of top national and world news stories from the Associated Press and other wire services, moves weekdays. Contact Karl Kahler at 408-920-5023; follow him at twitter.com/karl_kahler.