NASA's Curiosity rover lands on Mars


The Curiosity rover landed successfully on the surface of Mars, where for the next two years it will carry out investigations to discover if there was ever life on the Red Planet or whether there ever could be.

Word of "touchdown confirmed...we're safe on Mars" from engineer Allen Chen was greeted with cheers and hugs at the control room of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in Pasadena, California.

The 1-ton robotic device the size of a car reached Mars after traveling 567 million kilometers (352 million miles) in eight months and 17 days, and as it came in to land in the most frighteningly complex maneuver ever attempted with a planetary rover, NASA Associate Administrator for Science John Grunsfeld said that the "Seven Minutes of Terror has turned into the Seven Minutes of Triumph. My immense joy in the success of this mission is matched only by the overwhelming pride I feel for the women and men of the mission's team."




7 Inmates die in prison fire in Brazil


Seven inmates burned to death in a fire over the weekend at a prison farm in Rondonia, a state in northern Brazil, media reports said.

The victims were in one of the restrooms when the fire started during visiting hours on Sunday, Rondonia Justice Secretariat officials told Globo television.

About 120 inmates and their relatives were at the facility when the fire broke out, officials said.




Mexican candidate says any deal must include new elections


There will be no negotiations with rival candidates because the only acceptable option is to invalidate Mexico's July 1 presidential election and hold a new vote, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said.

"There is only one agreement, the one that invalidates the presidential election, we are not going to allow any agreement that in any way that gets built over the swamp, over the filth, the main thing is to defend the votes of the citizens," Lopez Obrador told some 4,000 supporters at a rally Sunday in Puebla.

Lopez Obrador met with supporters in Puebla, located about 125 kilometers (77 miles) from Mexico City, and urged them to work with the 32 people's assemblies organized across the country to shed light on "electoral fraud."

A summary of the irregularities committed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, will be submitted to the TEPJF electoral court in the middle of this week, Lopez Obrador said.




Cuba reports 2nd offshore oil well came up dry


For the second time this year, exploratory drilling in Cuban waters of the Gulf of Mexico has failed to find oil and gas in commercially viable quantities, state-owned Cubapetroleo said.

The "active petroleum system" detected by Malaysia's PC Gulf and Russian firm Gazpromneft does not constitute a "commercial discovery," Cubapetroleo said in a statement published in the communist-ruled island's official media.

The effort was conducted at a depth of 4,666 meters (15,298 feet) in waters off the coast of the western province of Pinar del Rio, using the Scarabeo-9 rig.

An earlier foray with the same rig by Spanish oil company Repsol also produced disappointing results.




16 Die in traffic accident in northern Mexico


Sixteen people were killed and four others injured when a van collided with a tractor-trailer in the northern Mexican state of Sonora, authorities said.

The van was headed southbound on the Caborca-Sonoyta highway and apparently strayed into the northbound lane, striking the truck head-on, state police said.

Killed were the driver of the truck, Jose Luz Oliven, 55, and a 10-year-old boy accompanying him, as well as 14 people traveling in the van.




Zanetti grabs Brazil's first-ever gold in gymnastics


Arthur Nabarrete Zanetti became the first Brazilian gymnast to win gold with his victory in the men's rings final at the London Olympic Games.

The 22-year-old Zanetti won the event with 15,900 points, ahead of Chinese defending champion Chen Yibing with 15,800 and Italy's Matteo Morandi with 15,733.




Dominican hurdler wins second Olympic gold


Dominican athlete Felix Sanchez won his second gold medal night at the 2012 London Olympic Games in the 400-meter hurdles, while Puerto Rico's Javier Culson took the bronze.

This was the comeback of "Super Felix" who dominated the race with immense authority, and though injuries had weighed him down for several years, he had now returned in great form to win with a season-best time of 47.63 seconds.

The U.S.-born athlete triumphed with a show of force that hasn't been seen since his best times when he was crowned world and Olympic champion and won all his races on the international circuit.




Cuban wrestler Mijain Lopez successfully defends gold medal


Cuba's Mijain Lopez remains the Olympic champion in men's 120-kg. Greco-Roman wrestling after beating Estonian Heiki Nabi here in the gold medal match at the London Games.

Lopez, a four-time world champion who took the gold at the 2008 Games in Beijing, was the consensus favorite going into the competition.




Venezuela welcomes home Olympic champion with huge turnout


Thousands of Venezuelans turned out to welcome home Ruben Limardo after he won the gold medal in fencing at the London Olympic Games, the country's first Olympic medal since 1968.

Dressed informally and draped with a large Venezuelan flag, Limardo was visibly moved at the reception.

Relatives, friends, fans and even members of the government such as Sports Minister Hector Rodriguez were on hand to welcome the athlete at the airport, where they chanted his name and cheered both him and his historic achievement.

"I never imagined that you were going to welcome me like this," Limardo remarked to reporters without being able to hold back his tears.

On Aug. 1, Limardo won the gold in the men's individual epee by defeating Norway's Bartosz Piasecki 15-10 in a brilliant final match.