7 Injured in fire aboard U.S. nuclear sub


A fire on board the nuclear-powered submarine USS Miami injured at least seven people at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, authorities announced.

The shipyard commander, Capt. Bryant Fuller, said at a press conference that among the injured were five firefighters who were dispatched to put out the blaze at the naval repair facility located on an island in Kittery, Maine.

The fire, which was extinguished, broke out Wednesday night. Authorities have not yet established how many people were on board the $900 million attack sub at the time.

The blaze continued all night but Fuller said that the sub's nuclear reactor was not damaged and that there were no weapons on board.




7 Hurt in bombing in Mexican border city


Seven police officers were hurt when a bomb detonated at a hotel in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo, authorities said.

The blast occurred at 7:30 a.m., a source in the Tamaulipas state Attorney General's Office told Efe.

The injured state police officers were taken to a hospital in the city, which lies just across the border from Laredo, Texas.

Authorities are still trying to determine whether the bomb was inside the motel or in a car parked outside.

The explosion at the motel followed arson attacks on three Nuevo Laredo nightclubs and coincided with gunbattles on city streets, media outlets said.




Spanish, Chinese firms sign deals valued at $626 mn


Spanish and Chinese companies signed five cooperation agreements and nine sales contracts for Spanish goods being bought by the Asian giant valued at around 500 million euros ($626.8 million).

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the speaker of China's parliament, Wu Bangguo, presided at the signing ceremony.

Rajoy thanked China for its support - China is a large holder of Spanish debt - and Wu expressed both his confidence in Spain and his desire for the economy in the Eurozone to become more stable, Spanish government sources said.

The most important agreement was the one signed by Telefonica and Chinese firm ZTE whereby the latter becomes the Spanish firm's sole provider of visual control equipment over the coming years.




Suspect in Colombia bombing is a former guerrilla


The man arrested in connection with the bombing in Bogota last week targeting former Colombian Interior Minister Fernando Londoño that killed two people and wounded about 50 others is a former FARC guerrilla who laid down his arms as part of a program for members of illegal armed groups to rejoin society, officials said.

Andres Felipe Rios Giraldo, who was arrested on Wednesday, left the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, in 2006, Colombian Agency for Reintegration, or ACR, director Alejandro Eder said in a statement.

"Later, he joined the Reintegration Program run by the ACR," Eder said, adding that another former rebel was arrested last week for an attack that was foiled on the same day that Londoño was targeted.

Rios was captured by police at a house in Ciudad Bolivar, located in the southern section of Bogota, where bomb-making materials and FARC documents were found.

The former rebel is the only person arrested so far for the bombing, which wounded Londoño and killed his driver and a bodyguard.




Polisario ready to free kidnapped aid workers by force


The leader of the Polisario government of Western Sahara said here that the group is ready "to sacrifice the lives of its combatants" to liberate three European aid workers kidnapped seven months ago from a refugee camp in Algeria.

The Polisario's intelligence indicates that Spaniards Ainhoa Fernandez de Rincon and Enric Gonyalons and Italian Rosella Urru "are alive," Prime Minister Abdelkader Taleb Omar said at a seminar in Madrid.

He also said he was confident that negotiations to secure the captives' release would soon bear fruit.

If not, however, the Polisario has "the determination and the will to use all efforts to liberate them safe and sound," he said.

Taleb Omar said the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic - the Polisario's name for the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara - is working actively with the governments of neighboring countries to resolve the situation.

Fernandez de Rincon, Gonyalons and Urru were kidnapped Oct. 23 from a facility near the Algerian town of Tindouf where foreign aid workers are lodged.

A branch of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb has claimed responsibility for the abductions.




Jessica Sanchez is runner-up on "American Idol"


Phillip Phillips bested 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez of San Diego on "American Idol" after a record 123 million votes were cast by viewers.

No female contestant has won the competition since Jordin Sparks in 2007, but Sanchez continued to receive positive criticism from the judges, who predicted a successful and lengthy singing career for her.

Sanchez, the daughter of a Mexican-American man and a woman from the Philippines, united the Mexican and Filipino communities of San Diego, which identified with her discrete and humble personal style, a marked contrast from her powerful and very mature singing.




Thousands of Mexican students protest against political system


Thousands of university students took to the streets of cities across Mexico to protest against the manipulation of the political system by the media and politicians, saying that they will no longer keep quiet about the situation in the country.

"This is a movement that goes well beyond the elections. Whoever wins, wins, but they will have to listen to us because we are not going to shut up," Rosana Holsch, a 20-year-old student who participated in the march in Mexico City, the biggest gathering, told Efe.

Holsch is one of the 131 students who lit the fuse for the protest movement on May 11, when presidential frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, visited the Universidad Iberoamericana and was jeered by students.

Those in Peña Nieto's inner circle and some members of the media downplayed the incident, accusing the students of being agitators and prompting them to counterattack by making a video that was posted on YouTube.

The criticism led to the birth of the "Somos mas de 131" (We Are More Than 131) movement, which took its name from the number of students who appeared in the video and later evolved into the "Yo soy 132" (I Am 132) movement when students from other universities joined the protests.