Rajoy, Obama analyze crisis in Spain and eurozone


Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy analyzed here with U.S. President Barack Obama the continuing crisis that Spain and the eurozone are going through and the need to guarantee their financial stability.

At a press conference in Chicago to make a progress report on the NATO Summit, Rajoy said that he spoke with Obama twice on Monday, conversations that he considered "very instructive."

The prime minister said they did not discuss the problems of Spain's banking system nor the question of financial reform, but they did tackle the Spanish and European economic situation.

In that context, Rajoy told Obama of his conviction that the instruments for growth and job creation are control of the deficit, structural reforms and stabilization of the banks, though right now the "priority," he said, is financial stability, the sustainability of the area's national debts and the defense of the euro.




Top U.S. nuclear regulator resigns


The chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced his resignation after months of disputes with his colleagues on the panel.

"This is the right time to pass along the public safety torch to a new chairman who will keep a strong focus on carrying out the vital mission of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission," Gregory Jaczko said in a statement, although his resignation will only become effective after the Senate confirms his successor.

At the end of last year, four other members of the commission that supervises the 104 nuclear plants in the United States complained to the White House that Jaczko was acting arrogantly toward others, had verbally abused women and was making the NRC's internal communications difficult.

Last month, Jaczko "categorically" denied that he had been especially aggressive to women.




Dozens arrested in Chile protest


A protest coinciding with President Sebastian Piñera's state of the union address to the Chilean Congress was followed by violent clashes that left two police injured and dozens of people in custody.

The disturbances in the port city of Valparaiso, where Congress meets, came at the end of a peaceful demonstration organized by the CUT labor federation, as around 300 hooded militants vandalized property and engaged in running battles with police.

The hooded protesters accosted two plainclothes police officers detected in the crowd, badly beating one of them, according to authorities.

The militants also destroyed security cameras and traffic lights near Congress.




Europe's largest solar telescope inaugurated in Spain


Europe's largest solar telescope was inaugurated at Teide Observatory on the Spanish island of Tenerife, from where it will help researchers observe and better understand the activities of the Sun and also those of the majority of stars in the universe.

During the inauguration of the Gregor telescope, developed by a German consortium, the director of the Astrophysics Institute of the Canaries, Francisco Sanchez, said that the infrastructure for the telescope is a sign of the cooperation that helps development.

The telescope and its main instruments cost 12.85 million euros ($16.4 million) to build.




Medina wins Dominican Republic's presidency


Governing Dominican Liberation Party, or PLD, candidate Danilo Medina won the Dominican Republic's presidential election, the Central Elections Board said.

Medina won 51.24 percent of the votes cast on Sunday, while rival Hipolito Mejia, of the Dominican Revolutionary Party, or PRD, garnered 46.93 percent of the vote, with 99.11 percent of the ballots counted, the board said.

Mejia, who served as the Caribbean nation's president from 2000 to 2004, has not conceded, alleging early Monday that he planned to shed light on irregularities in the tabulation of results by the Central Elections Board.

The former president said there were abuses by the government during the elections and he planned to release a detailed report on the situation.

Medina lost to Mejia in the 2000 presidential election.




Five soldiers die in fighting on Colombia-Venezuela border


At least five Colombian soldiers were killed and four others wounded in fighting with FARC guerrillas near the northern border with Venezuela, the army said.

A non-commissioned officer and four enlisted men were killed in combat in Matajuna, a town in La Guajira province.

The soldiers were from a mechanized unit that encountered rebels from the 57th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the army said in a statement.

The wounded soldiers were transported to the city of Maicao, the army said.

The military unit involved in the fighting did not provide any rebel casualty figures.




Zetas boss wanted for numerous killings arrested in Mexico


A suspected Los Zetas boss arrested by the army last week was behind a massacre in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon and led the drug cartel's push in 2008 into Guatemala, battling rival criminal organizations, a Defense Secretariat official said.

Daniel Elizondo Ramirez, who was arrested on May 18, was paraded before the press Monday in Mexico City.

Elizondo Ramirez "belonged to a group of hitmen led by (Miguel Angel) Treviño Morales who entered Zacapa province, in Guatemala, to expand the organization's control in that country," general staff deputy operations chief Gen. Edgar Luis Villegas Melendez said.

The suspect, who was arrested in a military operation in the city of Guadalupe, was a member of the group that carried out the March 25, 2008, massacre of 11 people in Zacapa, which is in eastern Guatemala.




Mexican billionaire gets honorary degree in U.S. amid protests


Mexican mogul Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world, received an honorary degree over the weekend from The George Washington University, while dozens of protesters tried to interrupt the ceremony with accusations that he got rich at the expense of the poor and because of the "monopoly" he operates.

With the Washington Monument's iconic obelisk in the background, Slim accepted the degree Sunday for his long philanthropic career plus his public and community service at an outdoor graduation ceremony in the Washington Mall.

The telecommunications tycoon, who in June 2009 received the President's Medal from the same university, gave a short speech in English in which he encouraged the new graduates to take risks and face challenges with optimism.

The 72-year-old Slim is the owner of Telmex, which his Grupo Carso conglomerate acquired in 1990, according to Forbes magazine.

The Telmex deal gave him control of 80 percent of Mexico's landlines, while another of his companies, Telcel, controls 70 percent of the country's cell phones.