7 Dead in Mexico coal mine blast


Seven men died in an explosion at a coal mine in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, authorities said.

The victims ranged in age from 22 to 39, the spokesman for the state emergency management office, Juan Antonio Ibarra, told Efe.

The blast occurred at 8:30 a.m. as the men were digging a ventilation shaft, according to Coahuila Public Safety Secretary Jorge Luis Moran Delgado.

"They apparently bumped into one of the pockets of methane gas," he told Efe.


The mine had only been operating for a week prior to the accident, the federal labor department said in a statement, adding that Minera El Progreso "has been the object of 16 inspections" and is facing sanctions in connection with problems at its other mines.




3 Transit workers murdered in Guatemala


Three transit workers were murdered in the Guatemalan capital in attacks blamed on extortion gangs.

The first incident took place in the south-side slum of Villa Nueva, where suspected gang members shot bus drivers Julio Rivera Lucero and Eder Ramirez, both 27.

Rivera, who recently organized a protest to demand authorities do more to protect transit workers from extortionists who demand protection payments from transit operators, was declared dead at the scene, while Ramirez died in a hospital emergency room, a spokesman for fire rescue told reporters.




24 Arrested in clashes between police, protesters in California


Members of the Hispanic community in the Southern California city of Anaheim engaged in new clashes with police who arrested about two dozen people. The violence left six people injured, authorities confirmed.

The community is protesting the deaths of Manuel Diaz and Joel Mathew Acevedo, who were fatally shot by police last weekend, and the demonstrators are accusing the authorities of persecuting Latinos.

Although the mother of Diaz, described as a gang member, issued a call for the violence to stop after filing a lawsuit for $50 million, the demonstrators on Tuesday night ignored that plea and threw stones and bottles at the cops.

During the fourth day of protests, several demonstrators hurled various objects and at least one Molotov cocktail at law enforcement authorities and prevented officers from searching someone they suspected was armed, police Sgt. Bob Dunn said.

Police used pepper spray and fired rubber bullets to disperse the demonstrators who did not obey the order to do so when the protest was declared illegal.




Obama maintains 67 pct support among Hispanics


More than two-thirds of Hispanic voters would cast their ballots for incumbent Barack Obama if the presidential elections were held now, while fewer than a quarter would opt for Republican Mitt Romney, according to a survey released.

Over the past two months, more and more Latino voters say they have decided to vote for Obama, from 61 percent in May to 67 percent in July, and those expressing confidence in Romney have fallen from 27 percent to 23 percent, the NBC-Wall Street Journal-Telemundo survey found.

Many observers say the Hispanic vote will be decisive in the November election.

A month ago, the president approved an executive order suspending the deportations of a substantial number of undocumented immigrant young people who arrived in the United States as minors, and his job approval rating among Hispanics rose to 65 percent.




Arrests tarnish burial of Cuban dissident


The arrests of dozens of dissidents tarnished the Havana funeral service and burial of Oswaldo Paya, a key opposition figure who distinguished himself for his activism in favor of a democratic transition in Cuba.

The remains of the 60-year-old Paya, who died in a traffic accident earlier this week, were buried on Tuesday in the Cementerio de Colon in Havana after a Mass celebrated by Cuba's Catholic primate, Cardinal Jaime Ortega.

After the service at Paya's parish church in the capital and as the funeral procession was en route to the cemetery, Cuban authorities arrested between 40 and 50 dissidents, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.

Among those arrested were Guillermo Fariñas, Antonio Gonzalez Rodriguez, his wife Ailer, Julio Aleaga, Ricardo Medina and Pavel Herrera, commission head Elizardo Sanchez told Efe.

The majority of those arrested were released a few hours later, including Fariñas, who confirmed to Efe via telephone that he had been transported from the police station to his home in the central city of Santa Clara.




Millions of birds dead, killed in Mexico flu outbreak


Some 4.9 million birds have died since the outbreak of bird flu started five weeks ago at farms in the western Mexican state of Jalisco, officials said.

All of the birds are hens that either died from the illness or were destroyed to prevent the spread of the H7N3 virus, the National Food Health, Safety and Quality Service, or Senasica, said.

Some 16.5 million birds, of which 9.3 million are close to or in the area where the flu outbreak occurred, are being monitored because they face a higher risk of getting the illness, the Senasica said.

Inspectors have examined 358 farms, with the virus detected at 34 farms, 125 farms testing negative and the rest still under evaluation, the Senasica said.




8 Gunned down in Mexican industrial city


Eight people were gunned down in Monterrey, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, in drug-related shootings, the State Investigations Agency, or AEI, said.

Gunmen killed seven taxi drivers on Tuesday in Benito Juarez, a city in the eastern part of the Monterrey metropolitan area, the AEI said.

The gunmen were in a four-vehicle convoy and used large-caliber weapons to kill the taxi drivers, an AEI spokesman told Efe.

Some of the taxi drivers tried to flee on foot and others attempted to drive away from the scene, but they were all caught and shot in different places, the AEI spokesman said.

Police, meanwhile, found the body of a woman who had been shot multiple times in the Kalos Industrial Park in the neighboring city of Guadalupe.