Congressional panel cites Holder for contempt


The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted to hold U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for his refusal to hand over documents relating to failed gun-walking operation Fast and Furious.

The vote, which followed six hours of often-acrimonious debate, broke down along party lines, as all 23 Republicans on the committee supported the motion and the 17 Democrats stood united in opposition.

The attorney general says the Justice Department has delivered some 6,400 pages of documents related to Fast and Furious, a federal undercover sting that allowed some 2,000 weapons to be smuggled into Mexico by straw purchasers allegedly working for drug cartels, a tactic known as "gun-walking."

The operation was launched in 2009 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Phoenix office and shut down in late 2010 after guns traced to the program were linked to the killing in Arizona of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.




13 Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartel members arrested in Mexico


Thirteen suspected members of Mexico's Jalisco Nueva Generacion drug cartel were arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of an employee of the Jalisco state Attorney General's Office, a military commander said.

The cartel members were involved in "kidnappings, drug sales and murders" in the Los Altos region of Jalisco, a state in western Mexico, 15th Military Zone commander Gen. Gilberto Hernandez Abreu said in a press conference in Guadalajara.

The suspects - 11 men and two women - were arrested on the basis of an anonymous tip received after gunmen kidnapped Jalisco AG's office employee Laura Karina Aguas Trujillo on Monday in San Miguel el Alto, a city about 140 kilometers (some 84 miles) from Guadalajara, the state capital.

One of the suspects, whose name was not released, confessed that he participated in Aguas Trujillo's kidnapping and murder, the general said, adding that the suspect told authorities where the body had been dumped.




4 Die in rebel attack on bus in Colombia


Four people were killed when leftist FARC rebels shot at a bus traveling in the southwestern province of Nariño, Colombian authorities said.

Fighters from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, attacked the vehicle on a road that runs along the Pacific coast, the provincial police commander, Col. Hugo Diaz, told Efe.

Two men and two women - one of them pregnant - died and seven other passengers were wounded, Diaz said. "There were no battles at that site, nor security forces to attack, so it is a demented direct action against a bus that carried 33 civilians," the colonel said.

The assault on the bus came about 12 hours after a roadside bomb exploded in Popayan, capital of the southwestern province of Cauca, leaving a civilian dead and seven police wounded.




Assange seeks refuge at Ecuador's embassy in London


Scotland Yard said British police will arrest WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange if he leaves the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he went to apply for political asylum in the Andean nation.

Assange unexpectedly appeared at the Ecuadorian mission on Tuesday.

The Australian citizen recently lost a long battle in the British courts to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct.

Assange, who denies the accusations lodged in Sweden, fears that once he is in Swedish custody, U.S. prosecutors will indict him for espionage and Washington will pressure Stockholm into handing him over.




Striking truckers block access to refineries in Argentina


Truckers union members blocked access to refineries across Argentina as part of a strike against fuel transportation companies, industry representatives said.

Strikers blocked oil refineries in Buenos Aires, Tucuman, Santa Fe, Cordoba and Mendoza provinces.

President Cristina Fernandez's administration has threatened to take tough measures if the strike causes fuel shortages. The truckers, who went on strike Tuesday, are demanding pay increases of 30 percent.

"There will be no fuel in two days and the country will be paralyzed" if distribution does not return to normal, Federation of Fuel Companies president Rosario Sica said.




Colombian V.P. suffers stroke


Colombian Vice President Angelino Garzon underwent emergency surgery earlier this week after suffering a stroke, the doctors treating him at Bogota's Reina Sofia Hospital said.

The vice president is being closely monitored at the intensive care unit following Monday's operation, the hospital said in a statement.

The 65-year-old Garzon, who was admitted last Thursday due to a urological infection, was forced to undergo the surgery after suffering a "sudden neurological event of vascular origin," doctors said.

This is the second serious health scare Garzon has had since assuming the vice presidency on Aug. 8, 2010, the first of which was a heart ailment a day after he took office that left him incapacitated for several weeks.