Paraguayan president accepts Senate vote to oust him


President Fernando Lugo said he accepts the Paraguayan Senate's decision to oust him after a turbo-charged impeachment process in which the law was "twisted like a fragile branch in the wind."

It is not Fernando Lugo, but "Paraguayan democracy that has been deeply wounded," he said, while urging his partisans to limit themselves to peaceful protest.

Vice President Federico Franco was sworn-in as Paraguay's chief of state barely 90 minutes after the vote to remove Lugo.

Only four of the 43 senators present at Friday's session voted against finding Lugo guilty of misfeasance for the events of June 15, when seven police and nine squatters were killed in a clash in the northeastern province of Canindeyu.

The opposition-dominated lower house voted overwhelmingly Thursday to impeach Lugo and the Senate adopted a schedule that called for the president's trial to begin at 12:00 p.m. Friday and a verdict to be rendered before nightfall.




Spain's Rajoy touts EU commitment to euro


Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Friday's summit here of the leaders of the euro zone's four biggest economies - a meeting in which a proposed stimulus package for the region was unveiled - produced a consensus about the need to preserve the single currency.

"There was an undeniable commitment to the irreversibility of the euro, which is the most important project we Europeans have undertaken," Rajoy said at a joint press conference after his meeting with Italian Premier Mario Monti, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President François Hollande.

Following the gathering, held ahead of next week's European Council meeting in Brussels, the four leaders unveiled a proposal for a 130 billion euro ($163 billion) stimulus package - equivalent to 1 percent of the euro area's gross domestic product - to spur growth.




Bolivia's Morales offers concessions to quell police mutiny


President Evo Morales offered to increase the pay of thousands of mutinous cops who sacked a police building 100 meters (yards) from the presidential palace.

Morales returned early from the U.N. environmental conference in Brazil to address the police crisis, Interior Minister Carlos Romero told reporters.

Leaders of the mutiny claim to represent a majority of the 30,000 rank and file and non-commissioned officers, or around 85 percent of the national police.

The disgruntled cops want to be paid commensurately with their counterparts in the armed forces, as well as bigger pensions, the repeal of a disciplinary process they say is stacked against them and the creation of an ombud's office within the police force.




Chile's LAN, Brazil's TAM complete merger


Chile's LAN Airlines and Brazil's TAM announced they have completed the process of creating a single parent company, LATAM Airlines Group, Latin American's largest air carrier with a market value of more than $12.5 billion.

In the last step in the merger, TAM shareholders exchanged 99.9 percent of their shares for those of LAN (renamed LATAM) at a ratio of 0.9 shares of the merged company for each share of the Brazilian airline.

"The creation of this group of airlines is an opportunity to take South America to the world and to allow us to position ourselves to operate in an increasingly competitive environment due to the continuing consolidation of the global airline industry," the executive vice president and CEO of LATAM Airlines Group, Enrique Cueto, said.




Spanish coal miners march to protest cuts in aid to sector


Around 200 Spanish miners set out on a march set to culminate July 11 in Madrid with a protest against government plans to slash subsidies to the coal sector.

Family, friends and neighbors gathered in several towns in the northern regions of Asturias and Leon and the east-central region of Teruel to give the marchers an enthusiastic send-off.

The "Black March" follows more than three weeks of strikes and sometimes-violent protests against projected cuts of more than 60 percent in government support for the coal mining industry in the context of a broad austerity program.




8 Gunmen killed in clashes with police in northern Mexico


Eight purported cartel gunmen were killed in this northern Mexican city in clashes with police that also left three officers and one suspect wounded, the security spokesman for Coahuila state said.

Police officers patrolling the northern part of the state capital were fired at Thursday by the gunmen, triggering a chase along several avenues, Sergio Sisbeles said.

Saltillo, located approximately 900 kilometers (560 miles) north of Mexico City, has been the scene of clashes in recent years pitting members of the powerful Los Zetas cartel - which controls key smuggling routes in Coahuila - against police and the armed forces.