Mexican troops arrest 6 cartel gunmen


Soldiers arrested six drug-cartel enforcers and seized an arms cache in the western state of Michoacan, Mexican authorities said.

Troops assigned to the 21st Military Zone were on patrol in the pre-dawn hours when they encountered the gunmen traveling in an SUV through a wooded area, the Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

The gunmen opened fire on the soldiers, wounding one of them, but were significantly outnumbered and finally forced to surrender.

Inside the SUV, the troops found 24 assault rifles, two handguns, a grenade-launcher, three grenades and 5,700 rounds of ammunition, the AG's office said. The gunmen were also in possession of uniforms similar to those worn by the army.




Ailing Spanish bank seeks $23.77 bn from gov't


Spain's fourth-largest financial institution said it needs an additional 19 billion euros ($23.77 billion) from the government to boost loss provisions. Nationalized earlier this month, BFA-Bankia is seeking what would be the largest bank bailout in Spanish history.

The first order of business, BFA said, is completing the nationalization process, which consists of converting into shares the 4.46 billion euro ($5.77 billion) loan the institution received in late 2008 from the state-backed Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring, or FROB. The 19 billion euros in additional funds would also be channeled through the FROB, BFA-Bankia said.

Bankia holds Spain's largest mortgage portfolio. Spain's banks have been hard hit by the collapse of the country's 1995-2007 real estate boom.




Brazil's Rousseff vetoes parts of controversial land-use bill


President Dilma Rousseff vetoed 12 of the 84 articles of a widely criticized land-use bill, including an amnesty for people who contributed to deforestation in Brazil's Amazon region, the government said.

The head of state also blocked a provision that would reduce the size of forested buffer zones around rivers from 30 meters (100 feet) on either side to 15 meters.

Congress can override the president's vetoes.

Domestic and international environmental groups had urged Rousseff to block the entire bill, with Greenpeace mounting a months-long campaign under the banner, "Veto It, Dilma."




U.N. asks Peru for emergency measures to protect Machu Picchu


A Unesco mission asked Peruvian authorities to take emergency measures to protect the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, and in particular to keep the neighboring village of Aguas Calientes from spreading any further.

The mission of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which evaluated over the past few days the Inca citadel's state of preservation, also suggested that emergency measures be adopted to stabilize the site's buffer zone.

The head of Unesco for Latin America and the Caribbean, Nuria Sanz of Spain, told the official Andina news agency that the purpose of her visit was to "collaborate" with Peruvian authorities to find the best solution for preserving Machu Picchu.




Rights lawyer leaves Mexico amid death threats


A Mexican attorney who specializes in human rights cases announced he is leaving the country temporarily because of death threats.

Vidulfo Rosales Sierra, legal counsel for the Tlachinollan Mountain Human Rights Center, is the second rights activist in less than a month to flee Mexico.

"I am leaving the country to protect my life, but I demand from authorities an investigation of the recent threats and acts of harassment against me," Rosales said at a Mexico City press conference arranged by Amnesty International.

The lawyer's departure comes less than two weeks after a Catholic priest who runs a shelter for Central American migrants said he was leaving Mexico after learning that someone had put a price on his head.




Bombings at Colombian police stations leave 1 dead


One person was killed and a dozen others wounded in bomb attacks on police stations in the southern Colombian province of Nariño, authorities said.

The first strike was in the town of Tuquerres, where a device left in a cart exploded outside the police station, leaving one dead and six injured, paramedics said.

A bomb planted inside the police station in Sandona nearly destroyed the building, damaged homes and injured six people, Mayor Camilo Gomez told reporters.

Nariño, which borders Ecuador, is plagued by violence from leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and heavily armed smuggling gangs.