• Argentina's president suffers fractured ankle

    Updated: 16 hr ago

    BUENO AIRES (AP) — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has suffered a fracture in her left ankle, the latest in a series of health setbacks. A statement signed by two doctors, Marcelo Ballesteros and Daniel Fernandez, on Friday did not specify how the president suffered the injury. It said they have recommended the ankle be immobilized. The 61-year-old leader has been sidelined with various ailments in recent months. In November, Fernandez was hospitalized for several days for inflammation of the colon. She was obliged to suspend her presidential activities for 48 hours in October due to a sore throat.

  • Third priest killed in dangerous southern Mexico

    Updated: Fri, Dec 26, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — A priest was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head, his diocese said Friday, marking the latest in series of abductions, attacks and highway robberies against Roman Catholic clerics in an area of southern Guerrero state dominated by drug cartels. Rev. Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta is the third Catholic priest to have been killed in the region this year, and the first to die since the federal government launched a special, stepped-up security operation in the area following the disappearance of 43 teachers' college students three months ago.

  • Protesters in Mexico slam German weapons supplier

    Updated: Thu, Dec 25, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Protesters in Mexico claim that German arms manufacturers exported rifles to a corrupt local police department implicated in the disappearance of 43 students. About 100 demonstrators gathered outside the German embassy in Mexico City on Thursday to denounce what they said is the use of German-made G36 assault rifles by police in southern Guerrero state. The police are accused of detaining the students and turning them over to a drug gang, which apparently killed them. Protest leader Felipe de la Cruz said Germany should prevent such sales.

  • AP PHOTOS: Fresh donkey milk for sale on streets of Chile

    Updated: Thu, Dec 25, 2014

    SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — Ricardo Alegria is a different sort of milk man. For a quarter century or more, he and his brother Marco have led donkeys through the streets of Chile's capital, milking them on the spot for customers. It's a rare job, but a very old one. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates recommended donkey's milk for some ailments and at least some claim that Cleopatra bathed in it for her skin. The use of donkey's milk has persisted in some parts of the world. Even Pope Francis has said he drank it as a boy in Argentina, prompting an Italian company that produces the milk to give him two donkeys recently. The Alegrias sell shot-sized cups of the milk for about $2. A half-liter, the most they say a donkey

  • Nicaragua moves to break highway blockade

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — National police special forces and soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Wednesday to clear a roadblock erected by residents in southern Nicaragua to protest a proposed transoceanic canal. National police commissioner Aminta Granera said 30 people were arrested and 20 people were injured in the confrontation, including 15 police officers. Granera said authorities had to use force after a week of trying to negotiate an end to the blockade on the Pan American Highway near El Tule, about 250 miles (400 kilometers) southeast of Managua. "The special forces called for the roads to be cleared, but they did not listen. We have acted with patience and tolerance," she said.

  • Mexico wants to ban nets, save endangered porpoise

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican authorities are proposing a $37 million plan to ban gillnet fishing in most of the upper Sea of Cortez to save the critically endangered vaquita marina, the world's smallest porpoise. The plan would compensate fishermen for stopping the use of nets that often sweep up the tiny porpoises along with their catch. Recent reports suggest there are fewer than 100 of the shy, elusive porpoises left in the Sea of Cortez, which is also known as the Gulf of California. The gulf is the only place on Earth where the marine mammals are found. The proposal was submitted Tuesday for mandatory public consultation, and could be implemented in a couple of months.

  • Priests march, protest attacks in southern Mexico

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Dozens of Roman Catholic priests and hundreds of parishioners marched through the southern Mexico city of Ciudad Altamirano on Wednesday to demand the release of a kidnapped priest and protest a series of kidnappings, killings and robberies of priests. The marchers were led by Bishop Maximino Martinez and about 30 white-robed priests. They called for the release of the Rev. Gregorio Lopez Gorostieta, who apparently was kidnapped from a local seminary on Monday. "Enough Already!" and "Return Father Gregorio!" read banners carried by the marchers, who sang hymns as they marched to the city's cathedral. Lopez Gorostieta's pickup truck was found abandoned, and the church has filed a crime report with po

  • 8 dead in apparent murder-suicide in Mexico

    Updated: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — A man apparently killed six children and a woman, then committed suicide at a home in a Mexico City suburb, authorities said Wednesday. The children, four boys and two girls, apparently died from asphyxia, a statement from the Mexico state prosecutor's office said. A woman who appeared to have been beaten was found on a bed and the man investigators believed killed them all was found hanging from a window at the house in Ecatepec, a suburb just north of Mexico City. Investigators said they found no signs of gunshots or knife wounds on any of the bodies. Authorities did not release their identities or how they were related, but local media reported that the man had killed his ex-wife and poisoned the

  • Mexican army, police to take over duties in Michoacan towns

    Updated: Tue, Dec 23, 2014

    MORELIA, Mexico (AP) — The Mexican army and federal police will assume control of security in several municipalities in the western state of Michoacan, replacing recently legalized rural police forces that engaged in a deadly clash last week. Earlier this year, Mexico's government took the unprecedented step of providing guns, uniforms and salaries for former vigilantes in Michoacan who had organized to fight a local drug cartel, recruiting them into a newly created "Rural Force." But last week two rival groups of ex-vigilantes engaged in a clash in the town of La Ruana that left 11 people dead.

  • Poverty, violence push Honduran children to work

    Updated: Tue, Dec 23, 2014

    TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras (AP) — Roberto Castellanos has the hands of a construction worker and the homework of a 6th grader. Roberto, who just turned 12, spends eight hours a day at a repair shop, sanding and painting ice cream carts for the daily pay of $2.50 in Honduran lempiras. When classes resume after the Christmas holidays, he says, he will cut back to five hours at the shop so that he can go to school in the afternoon and, hopefully, still have time to play soccer on the weekend. "My life is organized. I work in the day and study at night," Roberto says.

  • Nicaragua breaks ground on historic canal project

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Nicaraguan officials and a Chinese company broke ground Monday on a $50 billion transoceanic waterway predicted to rival the Panama Canal, but which has been a source of anger and protests from citizens in recent weeks. President Daniel Ortega, with Wang Jing, president of the contracting firm HKND Group, said the canal will change the economy of Nicaragua, one of Latin America's poorest countries, as well as the rest of the hemisphere. In a televised address, he promised the project would have minimal impact on the environment and that farmers concerned about their land will receive a just price. "To be close to roads and development around the canal will be better than what is there now," O

  • Mexico: Local police involved in 2011 migrant massacres

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Local police in the city of San Fernando in northern Mexico were involved in the 2011 massacres of 193 mainly Central American migrants whose bodies were found in mass graves, according to federal prosecutors. The claim appeared in a memo sent by Mexico's Attorney General's Office to The National Security Archive, a Washington D.C.-based research organization that solicited the information under Mexican transparency laws. It published the memo on its website on Monday and highlighted the similarities in the case to what happened with the 43 teachers college students who disappeared in southern Guerrero state in September.

  • Medellin's Christmas lights dazzle in Colombia

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    MEDELLIN, Colombia (AP) — Medellin for Christmas vacation? Si, si! The city once wracked by drug violence has undergone massive social and economic transformation, and it's now known in tourist circles for spectacular Christmas light displays that veil churches, buildings, parks and even the Medellin River with glittering cascades of color. The spectacle can be seen in neighborhoods around the city every night through Jan. 12 from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. It draws an estimated 4 million visitors, including thousands of tourists. The scene feels like a carnival, with crowds of families on foot gazing in awe, street vendors and long lines of cars and tour buses streaming slowly by.

  • Argentina: Court grants orangutan basic rights

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — An orangutan that has lived 20 years at the Buenos Aires zoo is entitled to some legal rights enjoyed by humans, an Argentine court has ruled, a decision the ape's attorney called unprecedented and a ticket to greater freedom. The ruling comes a month after a local animal rights group filed a habeas corpus writ in favor of Sandra, who was born in Germany but has lived in captivity in Buenos Aires most of her life. "Following a dynamic ... judicial interpretation, it is necessary to recognize that the animal is subject to rights, and should be protected," said the Dec. 18 ruling, published Monday by the official judicial news agency.

  • Fuel to the fire? Fuel exports soar under Obama

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    GARDI SUGDUP, Panama (AP) — Solar panels glisten from every thatched hut on this crowded island, one of the largest in this remote chain off the Panamanian coast. But the tiny emblems of green energy offer no hope against climate change. They have helped the island's Guna people reduce what was already a minuscule carbon footprint. The Guna cook with clean-burning gas. They use a small amount of diesel fuel to power fishing boats and a generator that lights bare bulbs dangling above dirt floors after sunset. They own one of the most pristine stretches of tropical rainforest in Panama, cleansing the atmosphere of carbon dioxide naturally. But larger forces threaten to uproot them, stemming from the failure by the rest of the

  • Ex Petrobras manager says she spoke with CEO about anomalies

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — President Dilma Rousseff on Monday sharply defended the chief executive officer of the Brazil's state-run oil company despite allegations she was told years ago about some of the irregularities that are ballooning into the nation's biggest corruption scheme yet. Rousseff said that Maria das Gracas Foster, the first female head of a major global oil firm, had offered to resign in recent weeks. But the president refused to let her go, saying she the allegations against her are unproven. "I know Gracas. I've always known her to be a serious person, to be an ethical person. She's the one who opened all the (internal Petrobras) investigations now happening," Rousseff said during a breakfast with reporters

  • Sexual violence rampant among El Salvador gangs

    Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — In a country terrorized by gangsters, it is left to the dead to break the silence on sexual violence. Rather, to the bodies of dead women and girls pulled from clandestine graves. Raped, battered and sometimes cut to pieces, they attest to the sadistic abuse committed by members of street gangs. Even those who gather statistics say there are no reliable numbers on sexual violence in El Salvador. Threats prevent many from reporting attacks. Others who have grown up amid rampant abuse may not even recognize rape as a crime. Still others flee the country for safety rather than seek justice from a system that more often delivers impunity. U.S.

  • Rising anger as Nicaragua canal to break ground

    Updated: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    RIO GRANDE, Nicaragua (AP) — As a conscripted soldier during the Contra War of the 1980s, Esteban Ruiz used to flee from battles because he didn't want to have to kill anyone. But now, as the 47-year-old farmer prepares to fight for his land, Ruiz insists, "I'm not going to run." Ruiz's property on the banks of Nicaragua's Rio Grande sits in the path of a $50 billion transoceanic waterway set to break ground on Monday. Nicaraguan officials will start building access roads on state-owned land as the first step in creating a canal expected to rival that of Panama — a project supporters say will directly employ 50,000 people and dramatically boost the country's GDP. Farmers like Ruiz insist they'll fight "until the las

  • Panama's Noriega in prison 25 years post-invasion

    Updated: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    PANAMA CITY (AP) — Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is nearly forgotten, languishing in a steamy jungle prison near the interoceanic canal while the country enjoys democracy and economic prosperity a quarter-century after the strongman was toppled by a U.S. military invasion. The U.S. intervention known as Just Cause began 25 years ago on Saturday, on Dec. 20, 1989, and ended with Noriega's surrender to American drug agents on Jan. 3. Much has changed in Panama since then, with six consecutive presidents democratically elected in the nation of 3.5 million people. Its economy has become one of the fastest growing in Latin America, rising at an average rate of about 8 percent annually amid a multi-million-dollar real

  • Brazil to study legalization of medical marijuana

    Updated: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil will soon look into the possibility of legalizing the use of a marijuana derivative to treat people suffering from severe seizures. ANVISA, the country's Health Surveillance Agency says in a statement posted on its website that the "reclassification" of marijuana derivative cannabidiol, which is banned in Brazil, will be discussed starting next month. The statement came Friday, one day after some 40 people protested in Brasilia to demand the legalization of cannabidiol. Some people resort to a clandestine network of illegal marijuana growers in Rio de Janeiro state that extract cannabidiol and donate it.