Police chief disappears in eastern Mexico


The police chief of a city in the Mexican Gulf state of Veracruz has disappeared, co-workers and relatives said.

Gregorio Juarez Vazquez was in charge of the police force in Cosautlan, a city in the mountainous central region of Veracruz. He was last seen riding with his driver in a patrol car around 1:00 a.m. Monday.

The police chief's patrol car was found several hours later abandoned on the Teocelo-Cosautlan state highway, but his whereabouts is unknown. Juarez Vazquez's driver is also missing.

Cosautlan is about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz state, which has been plagued by a turf war between rival drug cartels that has sent the state's murder rate skyrocketing over the past two years.




Indians confront army in Colombia


Scores of Paez Indians bodily removed Colombian soldiers from an outpost as part of a push to expel both security forces and leftist rebels from indigenous reserves in the southwestern province of Cauca, authorities said.

"That has made the situation more tense," the city clerk in Toribio, Jose Miguel Correa, told Efe by telephone.

He said he saw a large group of Paez moving toward the army post on Berlin mountain, occupied last week by members of the Indigenous Guard, who - armed only with clubs - dismantled some of the fortifications.

The Association of Indigenous Governments of North Cauca, or ACIN, had set a deadline of midnight Monday for all "armed actors" to vacate the 14 Indian reserves in the region.




Chilean judge indicts 2 in death of Bachelet's father


Two retired air force officers were charged for the death nearly four decades ago of the father of former President Michelle Bachelet, who governed Chile from 2006-2010.

Judge Mario Carroza handed down the indictments against Cols. Edgar Ceballos Jones and Ramon Caceres Jorquera weeks after the medical examiner's office concluded that air force Gen. Alberto Bachelet died as a result of torture.

Alberto Bachelet was among a number of senior officers, known as "constitutionalists," who opposed the Sept. 11, 1973, coup that toppled President Salvador Allende, a putsch that ushered in 17 years of brutal military rule.

The junta led by Gen. Augusto Pinochet ordered Gen. Bachelet and the other constitutionalists confined at a prison in Santiago, from where they were taken - sometimes on a daily basis - to the Air Force Academy for torture sessions under the direction of Ceballos and Caceres.




Zetas boss dies in shootout with Mexican army troops


The Zetas cartel's boss in Ciudad Victoria, the capital of the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, died in a shootout with army troops, the Defense Secretariat said.

Carlos Alberto Fernandez Hernandez and three associates were killed last Friday, the secretariat said in a statement.

"Mexican army personnel providing public safety support in Tamaulipas were the target of an armed attack by members of an organized crime group" while on a reconnaissance mission in Ciudad Victoria, the secretariat said.

Soldiers responded to the attack "to defend themselves and citizens," engaging in a shootout "in which four attackers died," the secretariat said.




Spanish royals cut their own pay


Spain's King Juan Carlos decided to cut his salary and that of Crown Prince Felipe by 7.1 percent in line with government-mandated reductions in pay for civil servants, the royal household said.

The monarch's annual pre-tax income will fall by 20,910 euros ($25,543) and his son's remuneration is set to decline by half that amount. The palace chief of staff, who holds ministerial rank, will also see his salary reduced by 7.1 percent.

The remaining officials of the royal household, like other employees of the Spanish government, are to lose their traditional Christmas bonus, one of the measures in the austerity package announced last week by the administration of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

With the salary cuts, the total appropriation for the royal household will fall to 8.16 million euros ($9.97 million), a savings of more than 265,000 euros compared with 2011.




Mexico's PRI files response to election challenge


The Commitment to Mexico coalition, made up of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the Mexican Green Party, has responded to the challenge filed by the leftist Progressive Movement to the results of the presidential election.

The coalition "is not going to allow allegations of being corrupt" to be leveled at the millions of citizens who voted "in secret, freely and with dignity," PRI chairman Pedro Joaquin Coldwell said.

Commitment to Mexico candidate Enrique Peña Nieto won the presidential election with 38.21 percent of the vote, while Progressive Movement standard-bearer Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took second place with 31.59 percent, according to the final official results released by the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE.

Lopez Obrador, the candidate of a coalition of leftist parties, filed a challenge last week to the results, contending that the election was marred by vote buying and therefore there is no "certainty for any result nor for the electoral process as a whole."