Giffords' shooter pleads guilty


Jared Lee Loughner pled guilty to the January 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns declared Loughner, who has been forcibly medicated for his schizophrenia, competent to stand trial shortly before the defense filed its guilty plea, thus avoiding a potential death penalty for their client.

Loughner pled guilty to 19 criminal charges.

Burns asked Loughner, 23, if he understood the charges against him and that he would have to spend time in prison if he admitted his guilt and the accused responded that he understood everything that he had been told.

Under the agreement his lawyer reached with federal prosecutors, Loughner, who could have been sentenced to death if he had been found guilty at trial, is now facing life in prison without possibility of parole.

The judge set the sentencing hearing for Nov. 15.




Spain dismantles migrant-smuggling ring


Spanish police disbanded an international migrant-smuggling ring that provided Albanian citizen with forged documents and got them onto European soil at a price of 10,000 euros ($12,400) each.

A total of 19 people were detained in several Spanish cities accused of human trafficking and promoting illegal immigration, forging documents and belonging to a criminal organization, police officials said Tuesday.

The criminal organization hid the Albanians in Spain and other European Union countries until it could provide them with passports forged in Peru or Argentina, with which they could finally travel to other countries outside the EU's open-borders Schengen zone, chiefly to the United States, Canada and Australia.




Spanish retail mogul now world's 3rd-wealthiest person


Spain's Amancio Ortega, the owner of the Zara chain of fashion stores, has become the third richest person in the world with a fortune of $46.6 billion (38 billion euros), according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Ortega, 76, has increased his fortune this year by 32 percent despite the recession in Spain.

The Spanish businessman passed U.S. investor Warren Buffett, whose fortune was tallied at $45.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Index.

Bloomberg emphasizes the unstoppable rise in Ortega's wealth, a circumstance that has been especially due to his successful operations in China and other emerging markets.




Analysts see Mexico's economy growing 3.7 pct this year


Analysts from 21 financial institutions expect Mexico's gross domestic product to grow 3.69 percent this year and 3.3 percent in 2013, Grupo Financiero Banamex said in a report.

The report, "Expectativas de inflacion y PIB" (Expectations for Inflation and GDP), was released by the research department at Banamex, a unit of U.S.-based financial behemoth Citigroup.

The forecast was based on a survey of analysts at 21 banks and brokerage firms, Banamex said.




Argentine president left $6.8 mn by husband and predecessor


Argentine President Cristina Fernandez inherited 31.6 million pesos ($6.8 million) from her late husband and predecessor, Nestor Kirchner, the press reported, citing financial disclosure statements.

The president's net worth in 2011 reached a total of 39.6 million pesos ($8.6 million), according to a declaration presented to the Anticorruption Office.

Fernandez's net worth dropped from the $15.3 million she reported after Kirchner's October 2010 death from a heart attack, because 50 percent of Kirchner's assets were inherited by the couple's two children, Maximo and Florencia, according to documents released by the dailies Clarin and La Nacion.




Austerity hurting Spain's economy, unions tell king


Leaders of Spain's two biggest labor unions, the UGT and CCOO, told King Juan Carlos of their concern that the government's austerity policies are hurting the economy.

UGT chief Candido Mendez and CCOO's Ignacio Fernandez Toxo also expressed their opposition to "a possible second bailout of the Spanish economy by European authorities" in a joint communique following their meeting with the monarch.

In that regard, they said that a possible bailout by the European Union would come with a series of conditions that would drive Spain "into a recession that will be very hard to climb out of in the coming years."

The labor leaders told the king that the policies of "severe cutbacks in public spending and the so-called structural reforms linked to them for the purpose of a drastic, immediate reduction of Spain's public deficit are nothing but suicide."




Gunmen kill 4 in Mexico City


Gunmen killed four people in a neighborhood in the southern part of Mexico City, the Federal District Attorney's Office said.

The murders occurred around 2:00 a.m. on La Paz street in Barrio San Ignacio, a neighborhood in the borough of Iztapalapa.

Jose Octavio Sanchez Juarez, Alfredo Moreno Ledezma and Ivan Israel Peralta Frias were pronounced dead at the scene, while Pablo Reyes Mosco, who was also hit by the bursts of gunfire, was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital.