• Mexico confirms US agent wounded in north in July

    Updated: 18 hr ago

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Mexican navy confirmed on Saturday that a U.S. marshal was wounded in Mexico while working with naval personnel in the northwestern state of Sinaloa during the summer. But the navy denied a report in the Wall Street Journal that the marshal and other U.S. officers were dressed as Mexican marines while participating in an operation against organized crime. It said the marshal was only training Mexican naval personnel and wasn't wearing a Mexican uniform. The navy's statement confirmed the American was wounded on July 11, as reported in the Journal, but the navy gave no information on how the officer was wounded. According to the Journal story, agents from several U.S.

  • Influx of cheap Peruvian quinoa riles Bolivia

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — International demand for quinoa continues to boom, and that's fueling an increasingly bitter commercial feud between Bolivia and Peru, the two main producers of the Andean "superfood." The fight pits hardscrabble, traditional organic growers mostly in Bolivia's semi-arid highlands against upstart Peruvian agribusinesses concentrated on the Pacific coast that include heavy pesticide users. Peru is about to overtake Bolivia as the top exporter, worrying Bolivians about their ability to compete. As Peru boosts production of cheaper factory-farmed quinoa, the grain is increasingly being smuggled into landlocked Bolivia to be mixed with, and sometimes sold as, organic quinoa — Bolivia's specialty, grower

  • Latin America applauds Obama's immigration plan

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto praised President Barack Obama on Friday for his executive orders granting new rights to millions of people living illegally in the United States, calling it "an act of justice." Mexicans are believed to account for more than half of the roughly 11.2 million migrants living in the U.S. without authorization. Mexico had long pressed for better conditions for them. Pena Nieto said in a speech that Obama's plan "is an act of justice that recognizes the large contributions that millions of Mexicans have made to the development of our neighbor." "These measures represent relief for immigrants, especially Mexicans," he said.

  • US warns citizens to avoid resort of Acapulco

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. Embassy in Mexico issued a security message Friday warning U.S. citizens to avoid the Pacific resort of Acapulco because of violence and protests. In yet another blow to a coastal city once favored by U.S. movie stars and jet-setters in the 1950s and '60s, the embassy said its personnel "have been instructed to defer non-essential travel to Acapulco, by air or land," and added that it "cautions U.S. citizens to follow the same guidelines." The alert noted that "protests and violent incidents continue in Guerrero state in response to the disappearance of 43 students there." Demonstrators have blocked highways to Acapulco, hijacked buses and blockaded the city's airport to demand the governme

  • US provides $68 million for Mexico justice reform

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The U.S. Embassy in Mexico says the U.S. government will provide $68 million over five years to assist Mexico's effort to reform its court and justice system. The U.S. government's Agency for International Development will oversee the plan, known as Promoting Justice. Mexico's slow, cumbersome paper-based trial system is being changed to something that more closely resembles the U.S. court system, though without juries. Lawyers will question and cross-examine witnesses in open court, and defendants will be considered innocent until proven guilty. Some of Mexico's 31 states have implemented parts of the reform, including changes aimed at speeding up trials and allowing leeway for non-prison sentences

  • Mexicans turning to humor in mansion scandal

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — Brad Pitt and George Clooney are intercepted by Mexico's border patrol. Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, is ready to audition for a soap opera. Everyone, according to a wave of jokes on the Internet, wants to get a foot in the door at the Mexican network Televisa, the world's largest producer of Spanish-language programming — a rush touched off by Mexico's first lady, Angelica Rivera, sharing some details of her earnings there after a 25-year acting career. The speech this week was meant to squelch criticism over her purchase of a $7 million mansion from a company that has government contracts. But by mentioning that Televisa paid her more than $6.

  • Mexico's Colima volcano spouts ash, hot rock

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The Colima volcano in western Mexico has erupted, sending a column of ash about 3 miles (5 kilometers) into the air. Mexico's federal civil defense office said Friday that ash has fallen on towns as far as 15 miles (25 kilometers) from the peak, which is also known as the Volcano of Fire. Glowing hot rock tumbled down the volcano's flanks over a mile (2 kilometers) from the crater. The office says the eruption is much lower in intensity than ones in 2005 that forced evacuations. No injuries or evacuations were reported Friday. The 12,533-foot (3,820-meter) volcano is 430 miles (690 kilometers) northwest of Mexico City, on the border of Colima and Jalisco states. It is one of the most active and pote

  • Angry Mexicans protest over 43 missing students

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — A largely peaceful march by tens of thousands demanding the return of 43 missing students ended in violence, as a small group of masked protesters battled police in Mexico City's main square. The march late Thursday sought the return of the students from a rural teachers' college. Nov. 20 is usually a day reserved for the celebration of Mexico's 1910-17 Revolution, but Mexicans were in no mood for celebrations. Many of the marchers carried "mourning" flags with Mexico's red and green national colors substituted by black stripes. "The entire country is outraged," said housewife Nora Jaime. "It is not just them," she added, referring to the 43 young men who haven't been seen since being attacked by po

  • Narco culture surrounded slain Miss Honduras

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    SANTA BARBARA, Honduras (AP) — Maria Jose Alvarado expected difficult questions about her country at the Miss World pageant in London, so the 19-year-old beauty queen enlisted a teacher to help her prepare. They reviewed the history of Honduras and discussed the gang and drug violence that makes this small Central American republic one of the most dangerous countries in the world. "She knew that the questions would be about the insecurity and violence because that is what the world knows about Honduras," said Jose Eudaldo Diaz, the philosophy professor coaching her. "Her goal was to explain that she wanted to contribute to a Honduras in which children could walk the streets without fear of being murdered." Alvarado ne

  • Narco culture surrounded slain Miss Honduras

    Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    SANTA BARBARA, Honduras (AP) — Maria Jose Alvarado expected some difficult questions about her country at the Miss World pageant in London, so the 19-year-old beauty queen enlisted a teacher to help her prepare. They reviewed the history of Honduras, including the military-backed coup in 2009 that sent the president into exile. They went through the daily newspapers to discuss politics and the gang and drug violence that makes this small Central American republic one of the most dangerous countries in the world. The odds of winning the Miss World crown were long, Alvarado knew, but she practiced her English in the weeks ahead of the pageant, just in case she needed an acceptance speech, said Jose Eudaldo Diaz, the philosoph

  • Nicaragua: Studies say canal impact to be minimal

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — Officials said Thursday that studies have determined a $40 billion inter-oceanic canal across Nicaragua will have minimal impact on the environment and society, and construction is to begin next month. Work will start Dec. 22 as planned with a port on the country's southern Pacific coast, said Zhu Xiaoya, an official with China's HKND Group, which was picked to build the canal. The company called the project both feasible and environmentally sound, and defended the project's commitment to standards of quality and transparency. "We are ready to begin," Zhu said. The route was announced in July and teams began surveying it the following month.

  • Slain beauty queen, sister buried in Honduras

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    GUALJOCO, Honduras (AP) — Grieving family members laid to rest a beauty queen and her sister amid drenching rains Thursday, pleading for divine justice after the women were shot to death in what police say was a jealous rage by the sister's boyfriend. Miss Honduras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, and her sister Sofia, 23, were interred in two cement graves at a tiny cemetery in this hamlet north of their hometown of Santa Barbara. About 300 people, including mourners and security forces, trudged through the mud for the ceremony. The bodies had been delivered to the family home before dawn, but a sustained downpour prevented the graves from being dug for hours. Their mother wept as she kissed the two caskets adorned with f

  • Public transport to say: 'Falklands are Argentine'

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's Congress has ruled that all public transportation must display a sign saying: "Las Malvinas son Argentinas" ("The Falklands are Argentine"). Argentina lost a brief, bloody 1982 war with Britain over the South Atlantic archipelago and still claims the islands. The measure was approved by the lower house of Congress late Wednesday after getting approval from the Senate. It applies to all forms of public transportation whether rail, air, land or sea. President Cristina Fernandez's government has often raised the issue of sovereignty over the islands known in Spanish as "Las Malvinas." Argentina claims Britain has illegally occupied the islands since 1833.

  • Founder of Brazil's largest retail chain dies

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    SAO PAULO (AP) — Samuel Klein, the Polish-born founder of Brazil's largest home-appliance retailer, has died, the company said in a statement. He was 91. Casas Bahia said Klein died Thursday at Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Hospital where he was undergoing treatment for the past two weeks. It did not give the cause of death, but a hospital official told reporters he died of respiratory failure. Born in 1923 in a village near Lublin, Klein was one of nine children born to a Jewish family taken by the Nazis to the Treblinka concentration camp. He, his father and one brother survived. His mother and other siblings perished in Treblinka. He survived two years at the Majdanek concentration camp in Lublin from where he escape

  • Argentina bill would oust foreign lawbreakers

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina's Senate has passed a bill to expel foreigners caught breaking the law. Senators approved the legislation 39-24 on Wednesday. The bill backed by President Cristina Fernandez is expected to be passed by the lower house as well and turned into law. Fernandez has said there is a growing number of foreigners entering Argentina to commit crimes. Under the bill, foreigners caught breaking the law can be immediately expelled from Argentina and banned from returning for at least five years. Foreign-born people with legal residence can ask to remain in Argentina to serve out their sentence for the crime. Argentines are growing increasingly worried about rising crime in their count

  • Colombia's rebel-held general a bookish strategist

    Updated: Thu, Nov 20, 2014

    BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — The general whose capture by rebels has put Colombia's peace talks on hold is one of the country's foremost counterinsurgency strategists who once received his officer's insignia from the hands of U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus. People who know Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate describe him as a studious man who sees himself as part of a new generation of Colombian military officers committed to using social projects to win the hearts and minds of poor communities in the battle against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

  • Tears, anger pour for slain Miss Honduras, sister

    Updated: Wed, Nov 19, 2014

    SANTA BARBARA, Honduras (AP) — Tears and anger poured out for the dark-haired beauty who was to have flown to London on Wednesday to represent Honduras at the Miss World pageant, only to be found shot to death with her sister on a remote river bank. After the bodies of the reigning Miss Honduras, 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado, and her sister Sofia, 23, were discovered early in the day, police announced that the sister's boyfriend had confessed to killing them last week in a fit of jealousy over his girlfriend dancing with another man.

  • State music director killed in southern Mexico

    Updated: Wed, Nov 19, 2014

    MEXICO CITY (AP) — The music director of the southern Mexico state of Yucatan has been found strangled to death, three days after he disappeared. Luis Luna Guarneros served as music director of the Yucatan government department of arts and was formerly director of a state orchestra. The state prosecutor's office said his body was found Wednesday in a vacant lot in the state capital, Merida. Luna Guarneros had reportedly been planning to make a trip on Sunday when he disappeared. Local media reported his vehicle was later found abandoned. Several musicians have been killed in Mexico in recent years, but they were singers of popular music styles including "narco-corrido" drug ballads, not classically trained music

  • Police: Miss Honduras, sister slain in jealous fit

    Updated: Wed, Nov 19, 2014

    SANTA BARBARA, Honduras (AP) — The dark-haired beauty was to have flown to London Wednesday to compete in the Miss World pageant — the high point of her reign as Miss Honduras. But the beauty queen and her sister were found shot dead on a remote river bank, and police said the sister's boyfriend confessed to killing them in a jealous rage over his girlfriend dancing with another man. Bodies believed to be 19-year-old Maria Jose Alvarado and her 23-year-old sister, Sofia, were discovered buried near the spa where they disappeared a week earlier while celebrating the boyfriend's birthday. At some point during the night of Nov.

  • Colombia, rebels agree on steps to free general

    Updated: Wed, Nov 19, 2014

    HAVANA (AP) — Countries assisting peace talks between Colombia's government and leftist rebels said Wednesday night that an agreement has been reached to free a general whose capture jeopardized the negotiations. A joint statement from Cuba and Norway said the two sides agreed "on the conditions for the release" of Colombian army Gen. Ruben Dario Alzate and four others taken captive by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in recent days. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos immediately celebrated the accord, saying in a statement that government peace negotiators would return to Havana as soon as all the prisoners were released. "God bless, I'm thrilled," Alzate's wife, Claudia Farfan, told The Associated Pres