Mobsters blamed for murder of Indians in western Mexico


An attorney advising a beleaguered indigenous community in the western Mexican state of Michoacan said that organized crime was behind the kidnapping and murder of two Cheran residents found dead this week.

The killings stemmed from a long-running battle between Cheran and neighboring El Cerecito over illegal logging in the area, David Peña told MVS radio.

"In the last three years, that community (El Cerecito) has allied with organized crime and systematically exploited the forests," the lawyer said.

The leaders of Cheran, a community of some 4,500 Purepecha Indians 123 kilometers (76 miles) from Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, announced last year that they would no longer recognize the federal, state and municipal governments because officials could not protect their forests from illegal loggers.

Michoacan's top official for law and order, Jesus Reyna, ascribed this week's murder to an intra-Indian dispute and dismissed claims of organized crime involvement.




US detains 20 undocumented Mexicans on San Diego beach


The Border Patrol detained 20 undocumented Mexican migrants on a beach in San Diego after they arrived on the coast in a small boat.

Authorities said that the immigrants arrived on a beach in Carlsbad, a neighborhood in northern San Diego, but were intercepted there shortly thereafter.

Jimenez said that all the people detained are Mexicans and they range in age from 17 to 50. Authorities found no drugs or contraband among their possessions.




Newspaper targeted in northern Mexico grenade attacks


Two offices of the El Norte newspaper were attacked with grenades in Monterrey, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, damaging the buildings but not causing any injuries, the State Investigations Agency, or AEI, said.

The first attack occurred early Tuesday and targeted the newspaper's office on Avenida Revolucion in the southern section of the city.

A subject entered the parking lot and threw a grenade, leaving the pin on the ground, the AEI said.

No one was working in the offices because it was early, but some employees were in the rear of the building.

The second attack happened just before 4:00 p.m. at El Norte's office in Libertad, a neighborhood on the east side of Monterrey.

Gunmen threw a grenade at the office and fired at least 10 shots at the building with an AK-47 assault rifle.

Employees were working in the building, but no one was hurt.




First boatload of merchandise in 50 yrs to set sail from Miami for Cuba


The first direct maritime shipment of merchandise between Miami and Havana in more than five decades is being made on Wednesday, with the cargo ship Ana Cecilia due to set sail for Cuba loaded with humanitarian aid items.

"This is about the first direct shipment that's going to go there in 50 years," a spokesman for International Port Corp., the company in charge of the shipment, told Efe.

According to shipment organizers, this is the first time in the 50 years that the U.S. embargo has been in effect against Cuba that a U.S.-flagged ship has departed for the island loaded with merchandise, but they hastened to add that the humanitarian items are not going to be resold in Cuba.

Up to now, only agricultural products bought by the Cuban government have been shipped by sea to Havana from the United States.




Spanish miners' march turns into protest against austerity


Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in downtown Madrid in support of coal miners and against a sharp reduction in subsidies for Spain's mining sector, an initially peaceful protest that escalated into clashes with police that left 76 injured.

The so-called "black march" also turned into a protest against new austerity measures announced Wednesday by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, including cuts in unemployment benefits and a hike in sales taxes.

More than 200 coal miners who arrived in the capital Tuesday after setting out on foot from northern Spain nearly three weeks ago marched at the head of the demonstration.

Police arrested seven people outside the offices of the Industry Ministry, the end point of the march, while 76 people - including 33 cops - needed treatment for bruises, sprains and other minor injuries.




Al Wasl fired Maradona to "change image," club spokesman says


Dubai's Al Wasl soccer club fired Argentine manager Diego Armando Maradona as part of an effort to "change the image," a spokesman for the team told the Buenos Aires sports daily Ole.

Maradona, who as a player led Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup, had 10 months left on his two-year, $34 million contract with the U.A.E. club.

"After a meeting at 8:00 in the evening, the new Board of Directors ... released the current coaching staff," club spokesman Alejandro Garcia - also an Argentine - told Ole, adding that the decision caused him "surprise and anguish."

Just last month, club President Mohammed Ben Fahad confirmed that Maradona would remain as manager and said pre-season matches would begin July 25.




Putin and Raul Castro tout more pragmatic relations


Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Cuba's Raul Castro to push for more pragmatic political and trade relations than when the two countries were ideological allies.

"During this time there have been different stages in our relations. Now, relations have become more pragmatic," said Putin at the beginning of the meeting with Castro at his country residence of Novo-Ogariovo, on the outskirts of Moscow.

Putin, who upon coming to power in 2000 ended a decade of Russian neglect of the island after the collapse of the Soviet Union, called Cuba a "traditional partner."

Meanwhile, the president of still-communist Cuba, who was arriving in Moscow on a foreign tour that has also taken him to China and Vietnam, emphasized that his visit to Russia "is intensive and very important."