Prayers at site of fallen factory

NEW DELHI - Thousands gathered Tuesday in the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza garment factory complex in Bangladesh to pray for the 1,127 victims who died in the ruins of the world's worst apparel industry disaster.

Pictures taken at the Islamic prayer ceremony on the outskirts of the capital of Dhaka showed a rescue worker in yellow headgear affixing a red flag on the factory rubble.

Army crews, which had been working around the clock for almost three weeks, ended their cleanup-and-recovery operation early Tuesday morning, handing over responsibility to civil authorities.

More than 2,400 people were rescued alive, including Friday's miraculous recovery of a seamstress after 17 days in the rubble, but authorities say they still don't know how many people were in the structure when it imploded. The military said it believes that all bodies have been recovered.

- Los Angeles Times

Ship captain's plea bid denied

GROSSETO, Italy - Italian prosecutors on Tuesday rejected a plea bargain bid by the captain of the Costa Concordia cruise ship that ran aground off Italy last year, killing 32 people, defense lawyers said.

Capt. Francesco Schettino is accused of manslaughter, causing a shipwreck, and abandoning ship before all 4,200 passengers and crew were evacuated.

Defense lawyer Francesco Pepe said Schettino had wanted to defend himself at a trial but when the five other defendants in the shipwreck off the Tuscan coast all sought plea bargains during a closed-door hearing Tuesday, his defense team decided to change strategy.

Prosecutors agreed to plea bargains for the other five defendants but not for Schettino, lawyers said - meaning Schettino might be the only defendant if a trial is ordered. A judge must rule on prosecutors' request that Schettino be indicted.

- AP

Lollobrigida sells her jewels

GENEVA, Switzerland - Sotheby's auctioned off $78 million in jewels Tuesday night, fetching just under $3 million for a fancy yellow diamond belonging to actress Gina Lollobrigida that was once owned by a shah of Persia.

The auction house said the diamond was a highlight in a collection of 23 jewels that the 85-year-old actress, who starred opposite Humphrey Bogart, Frank Sinatra and other top actors in the 1950s and 1960s, was selling partly to fund an international hospital for stem-cell treatment.

Lollobrigida said after the auction that her jewels had brought her much pleasure for many years, and she only thought of selling them after seeing a little girl named Sofia suffering from a disorder that required stem-cell treatment that she could not find in her native Italy.

- AP