Navy helicopter carrying 4 missing in western Mexico


Civilian and military authorities are conducting a search across a wide swath of western Mexico for a navy helicopter carrying four people that disappeared late last week, the Navy Secretariat said.

The search for the chopper, which went missing on Friday, is "permanent," navy spokesmen told Efe.

Search teams are looking for the aircraft between Manzanillo, a city in Colima state, and Morelia, the capital of Michoacan state, an area where federal security forces have engaged drug traffickers, mainly La Familia Michoacana and Los Caballeros Templarios, in shootouts in recent years.

The navy and army have spearheaded the war that President Felipe Calderon declared on Mexico's drug cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.




Venezuela seizes 20 tons of cocaine


Venezuelan authorities seized 20 tons of liquid cocaine aboard a ship bound for Mexico, Interior Minister Tareck el Aissami said.

The contraband was found as the ship was preparing to embark from a port in the northwestern state of Zulia, the official told state television.

"We are now ... analyzing the percentage of purity in each of the containers and the quantity of liquid cocaine they were trying to take to Mexico," El Aissami said, describing Tuesday's drug seizure as one of the largest in Venezuelan history.

While Venezuela is not a drug-producing nation, its neighbor Colombia is the world's leading source of cocaine.




Airport workers in Puerto Rico protest privatization plan


Employees of the state-owned Puerto Rico Ports Authority mounted a protest here against Gov. Luis Fortuño's plan to privatize the management of San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport.

The authority has deliberately engineered a deterioration of service to create a pretext for putting a private firm in charge of the busiest passenger air terminal in the Caribbean, the president of the Brotherhood of Ports Authority Employees, Astrid Rosario Ortiz, told the media.

She also accused the Ports Authority of squandering money in the award of contracts and of bypassing normal selection processes in hiring for managements positions at the airport.

The Puerto Rican government has chosen two consortiums to submit final bids for the concession operate Luis Muñoz Marin International, which handles more than 500 flights a day.




Pemex signs $50 mn contract with Rolls-Royce


State-owned Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, signed a long-term maintenance contract worth $50 million with Britain's Rolls-Royce for a petroleum complex on the Gulf of Mexico, the British Embassy said.

The contract "is the biggest reached in Mexico for the maintenance of engines and electric generation equipment" at the Abkatun-Pol-Chuc complex, the embassy said.

Rolls-Royce has operated for a number of years in Mexico, selling power generation equipment to public and private companies in the energy and aerospace industries, as well as providing maintenance services, the British Embassy said.

"It is expected that the growing presence of Rolls-Royce in the petroleum sector would be a gateway for more and greater business opportunities for UK companies in the rapidly growing Mexican energy generation market," the embassy said.




Boeing, Embraer to collaborate on plane for Brazil's air force


Executives from the Boeing Company and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer S.A. signed an agreement here to collaborate on the KC-390, a military transport plane for Brazil's air force.

Boeing and Embraer will share "some specific technical knowledge and evaluate markets where they may join their sales efforts for medium-lift military transport opportunities," the two companies said in a statement.

The Brazilian air force awarded the contract to develop the plane to Embraer in April 2009.

Several countries making components for the KC-390 - Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Portugal and the Czech Republic - have signed letters of intent to purchase the first 60 units of the $50 million aircraft to roll off the Embraer assembly line.




Mexico City airport killings were work of police


Two Federal Police officers under investigation for drug trafficking killed three fellow officers who were about to arrest them at Mexico City's Benito Juarez International Airport, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

The official version of the incident confirms eyewitness accounts and information provided by airport security officials, who said police officers or other uniformed individuals killed the three officers.

The shooting occurred around 8:50 a.m. Monday in the airport's Terminal 2, leaving two officers dead at the scene. The third officer died while being treated at a hospital.

Two Federal Police officers assigned to the airport opened fire when officers from another unit tried to arrest them. The two officers were being investigated for their alleged links "to the activities of a drug trafficking network," the secretariat said in a statement.