5 Slain in Mexican border city


Five people were fatally shot in this gritty metropolis just across the border from El Paso, Texas, Mexican police said.

The victims - two women, two men and a boy of 15 - were gunned down Thursday night outside a home in Ciudad Juarez by at least six assailants.

Four died on the spot and the body of the fifth was found sprawled across the sidewalk, apparently shot while trying to flee, municipal police spokesman Adrian Sanchez told Efe.

The Chihuahua state Attorney General's Office says Juarez experienced 653 murders in the first six months of this year, down from 1,322 in the same period last year. The city recorded more than 3,000 homicides in 2010, when a fierce territorial struggle among the Sinaloa and Juarez drug cartels was at its peak.




Spain advances to Olympic men's basketball final


Spain took a bumpy road to the Olympic men's basketball final but will play for the gold against a heavily favored U.S. team after notching a 67-59 victory here over Russia.

The Spaniards pulled out a game that started out in nightmarish fashion with Pau and Marc Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro and the rest of the team struggling to get any type of shot to fall during the first 20 minutes at North Greenwich Arena.

With the win, the Spaniards got revenge for a 77-74 loss to Russia in the round-robin phase of the tournament - one of two losses they suffered in Group B - and most importantly booked a spot in the Olympic final four years after coming in second to the United States in Beijing.

Just like in those previous Games, the now two-time FIBA EuroBasket champions will have the daunting task of facing a U.S. team loaded with NBA All-Stars, including future Hall of Famers LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.




Cyclist Pajon gets Colombia's 1st gold at London Games


Mariana Pajon's triumph in the women's BMX cycling competition brought Colombia its first gold medal of the 2012 London Olympics.

The 20-year-old from Medellin outclassed more experienced rivals such as New Zealand's Sarah Walker and Dutch cyclist Laura Smulders, who took the silver and bronze, respectively.

"I did it with heart," Pajon, who carried her country's flag in the Olympic opening ceremony, said later. "I battled with the heart of all Colombians, with a lot of energy. "I thought that it was a unique moment with all Colombia watching and I couldn't disappoint."

The Andean nation also had something to celebrate in the men's BMX competition, where Carlos Oquendo came out of nowhere to take the bronze medal.




Spanish police thwart move by Mexican drug cartel


Spanish police, in cooperation with the FBI, have frustrated the "first serious attempt" by Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel to establish a foothold in Europe, authorities said here.

The cartel's move was blocked by the arrest in Madrid of four suspected Sinaloa operators, Spain's National Police said.

One of the four Mexicans detained in the Spanish capital was Jesus Gutierrez Guzman, a cousin of cartel boss Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman.

El Chapo, who escaped from a maximum-security prison in January 2001 and remains at large, appears on Forbes magazine's list of global billionaires.




32 Mexico coal mines shuttered for safety reasons


Mexico's government said 32 small coal mines in the northern state of Coahuila have been closed due to safety concerns, a move taken after 13 miners were killed in that region in less than a month.

Labor and Social Welfare Secretary Rosalinda Velez announced the suspension of work - effective immediately - at 32 mines in Coahuila, citing violations of safety regulations.

The measure, which comes after 13 mine workers were killed in Coahuila in two recent accidents, permanently shutters 14 mines and temporarily closes 18 others.

Velez said her secretariat and the economy portfolio will work jointly on revoking licenses at mines where "serious violations of regulations" have been detected.




Mexico extradites "Queen of the Pacific" to U.S.


Mexican authorities have extradited Sandra Avila Beltran, a.k.a. the "Queen of the Pacific," to the United States, where she is wanted on drug-trafficking and criminal conspiracy charges.

The suspect was handed over to personnel from the U.S. Marshals Service after a two-year process in which she had used up all her appeals, the federal Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

The AG's office said Avila will be tried in a federal court in Miami on charges of participating - along with Juan Carlos Lopez Correa and Juan Diego Espinosa - in a group dedicated to trafficking cocaine and other drugs from Colombia to the United States.

The AG's office said the U.S. indictment states that Avila Beltran coordinated, stored and moved cocaine shipments in Mexico for eventual shipment to the United States.