Red Cross confirms French reporter Langlois released by FARC rebels


The International Committee of the Red Cross, or ICRC, announced that French war correspondent Romeo Langlois was released by the FARC guerrillas, left the village of San Isidro with the humanitarian mission that took custody of him and is en route to Florencia, the capital of Colombia's southern Caqueta province.

ICRC spokesperson in Colombia Maria Cristina Rivera confirmed the reporter's release to the press at the Gustavo Urtunduaga Paredes airport in Florencia, where authorities and others are awaiting in the coming hours the arrival of Langlois and the humanitarian mission that received him.

From Florencia he will travel to Bogota, where on Thursday he is scheduled to hold a press conference.

The committee that received Langlois is made up of three ICRC representatives, former Colombian Sen. Piedad Cordoba and two other members of the organization she heads Colombians for Peace (CCP) and French government emissary Jean-Baptiste Chauvin.

"Although he is wounded in one of his forearms, ... Langlois is in good general health," said Rivera reading from a communique signed by the ICRC chief in Colombia, Spaniard Jordi Raich.

The correspondent for television channel France24 and the daily Le Figaro was accompanying a task force of Colombian police and army troops on April 28 when the contingent was ambushed by FARC units, sparking a battle that left four members of the security forces dead.




Bus-truck crash kills 10, injures 20 in Argentina


At least 10 people were killed and 20 others injured when a bus collided with a truck in Misiones, a province in northern Argentina, police said.

The accident occurred Tuesday on Route 12 near the town of Caraguatay when the bus crashed head-on into a truck traveling in the opposite direction.

"We have 10 fatalities as of now" with five victims not yet identified because they were severely burned, Misiones police spokesman Claudio Ludtke said.




Congressman Silvestre Reyes loses in primary in Texas


U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, will have to give up his seat in the House of Representatives after losing the primary in his state, thus ending a 16-year-political career in Washington.

Reyes lost his seat on Tuesday in Texas District 16, a district with a high proportion of Hispanics and Democratic leanings that he has represented for eight terms. Beating him in the primary was his Democratic rival, former El Paso councilman Beto O'Rourke.

The final vote count showed that O'Rourke beat Reyes - who is of Mexican origin - by 23,248 votes to 20,427, or 50.5 percent to 44.4 percent, a situation that avoids the need for a runoff election.

Reyes, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, had been supported by top Democrats and the party's political machinery, including President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton, the latter of whom even participated actively in his reelection campaign.




Hispanic candidate headed to run-off in Texas GOP primary


Cuban-American Ted Cruz, a rising star within the Republican Party in Texas, will face off in a run-off election for his party's Senate nomination with rival David Dewhurst in a contest that presents several challenges.

Cruz obtained 34 percent of the votes in the Republican primary held Tuesday, while Dewhurst garnered 45 percent, although that was not sufficient to give him a first-round victory in a hard-fought race populated by nine candidates in all.

Although Cruz achieved his goal of forcing a July 31 run-off, some analysts predict a heated battle with Dewhurst, who has emerged - at present - as the Republican favorite to take the Senate seat.

The run-off "is going to be a very competitive contest. Dewhurst is the favorite, but Cruz has a reasonable chance to win," Mark Jones, a professor of political science and member of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, told Efe.




Illinois city files civil suits against Latin Kings


The city of Aurora has joined several municipalities in the Chicago area who are appealing to the civil courts to try and limit the activities of gangs like the Latin Kings.

Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon said Wednesday that his office filed a civil suit against 35 suspected members of the gang to get the courts to prohibit them from openly associating with other gang members.

The accused, with criminal records or declared members of the Latin Kings, began receiving summons last week to appear in court in July and respond legally to the suit.

According to the court document, the prosecutor's office is asking the judge for injunctions prohibiting the known gang members from going out in public, on foot, seated, walking, driving or at parties.

Those who violate the judicial order can be declared in contempt of court or be fined, and they could also be forced to reimburse the city for any damage caused.




Salvadoran court releases 2 in Mexico massacre case


A court in El Salvador released two suspected people traffickers who abandoned 14 Salvadorans in Mexico who were among the 72 migrants massacred at a ranch in Tamaulipas state in 2010, judicial officials said.

Carlos Ernesto Teos Parada and Erick Francis Escobar Ramirez, who had been arrested last year, were "acquitted during a public hearing due to lack of evidence against them," a court spokesman told Efe.

The hearing took place last Friday at a special court in San Salvador, the court spokesman said.

An appeal is planned in the case, the prosecutor in charge of the unit that handles people trafficking cases, Smirna Salazar, told reporters.




Chile mudslide leaves 3,000 stranded


Some 3,000 people living in the towns of Palena and Futaleufu, in the southern Chilean region of Los Lagos, remained isolated because of a mudslide that buried the road leading to the area, authorities said.

The mudslide, about 120 meters (390 feet) long and 20 meters (65 feet) deep, occurred late Tuesday during a storm that affected the area, in the vicinity of Villa Santa Lucia, some 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) south of Santiago.

That is what Andres Ibaceta, the regional head of the National Emergency Management Office, or Onemi, told local media, adding that although the road link for the affected communities with the rest of Chile had been interrupted, the border pass to Argentina is open.




Security forces kill 12 gunmen in eastern Mexico


Soldiers and police killed 12 suspected drug cartel gunmen in a shootout in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, state officials said.

The shootout occurred Tuesday in Palo Gacho, a community in the city of Emiliano Zapata, some 15 kilometers (93 miles) from Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz.

State police, army troops and marines found a training camp belonging to a criminal organization in Palo Gacho and were attacked by the gunmen.

The security forces returned fire, killing the 12 criminals, state officials said.




Doubts about Bankia bailout rattle Spain


Doubts about the viability of the Spanish government's bailout of BFA-Bankia - the country's fourth-largest financial institution - put the Iberian nation in the spotlight on Wednesday, as financial market jitters sent the country's debt-risk premium to a euro-era record of 539 basis points.

Markets were rattled after a report late Tuesday by London's Financial Times said the European Central Bank had rejected a Spanish government plan to directly recapitalize Bankia with government bonds.

The Spanish government and the ECB later denied the report, saying no such consultation took place, but it did little to allay investors' concerns.

Bankia, which was nationalized earlier this month and holds Spain's largest mortgage portfolio, said last Friday it needs another 19 billion euros ($23.5 billion) to boost loss provisions.