3 Dead in shooting near university in Texas


At least three people - including the shooter - were killed in a shootout near the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, police said.

The three people killed were a police officer, the shooter and a male civilian, according to Rhonda Seaton, a spokeswoman with the College Station police department.

Three other people were also shot, including a civilian woman who reportedly later underwent surgery at College Station Medical Center and two law enforcement officers with non-life-threatening injuries.

Initial reports were that the gunman opened fire when officers went to his residence to serve him with an eviction notice.




Latin American athletes shine at London Olympics


Brazilian gymnast Artur Nabarrete Zanetti, the last gymnast to compete, pulled off an almost perfect high-flying routine on the men's rings, then held his breath until the judges announced his winning score.

It was the 500th medal that Latin America has racked up in the history of the Olympics, having played a particularly stellar role in the London Games with medal-winning performances by nine countries of the region led by Cuba with five gold medals, three silver and six bronze.

Though they didn't come close to their greatest exploits, the Cubans won three more Olympic medals than in the 2008 Beijing Games, and best of all, they did it in four different sports - boxing with flyweight Robeisy Ramirez and light welterweight Roniel Iglesias, Mijain Lopez in wrestling, Idalis Ortiz in judo and Leuris Pupo in rapid fire pistol.

It was enough to outshine a Brazil that won three medals more than the Cubans but faltered in the men's soccer and volleyball finals, and in doing so ceded its Latin American leadership. Besides Nabarrete Zanetti's gold, Brazil was at its best in the gold-medal performances of judoka Sarah Meneses and the women's volleyball team.




Official Cuban media commemorate Fidel Castro's 86th birthday


The government-controlled Cuban media devoted significant coverage to former President Fidel Castro on his 86th birthday.

Granma, the official daily of the ruling Communist Party, dedicated its entire back page to an article entitled "Asi es Fidel" (That's how Fidel is) in which it gathers opinions - all of them laudatory - from assorted Cubans about the ex-president but never mentions that Monday is his birthday.

One of those commentaries was from the grande dame of Cuban ballet, Alicia Alonso, who said that each time she has met Castro she has become nervous.

State news agencies AIN and Prensa Latina on Monday also collected various congratulatory wishes received by the leader of the Cuban Revolution, among them those of Bolivian President Evo Morales and Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega.

On Twitter, several pro-government Cuban bloggers congratulated the former president, and - also on Twitter - dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez asked if Castro had transformed himself into a virtual figure "who doesn't appear but tells us he's still alive!!"




Venezuela boosts oil sales to China


Venezuela has increased oil sales to China to 640,000 barrels a day, the Andean nation's energy minister said.

"Before, we never sold a single barrel of petroleum to China and now we sell them 640,000 (bpd) ... at a better price than ... in the U.S. market," Rafael Ramirez said in an interview with El Correo del Orinoco newspaper.

Venezuela produces around 3 million bpd and exports more than two-thirds of its output, mainly to the United States and China, the minister said.

Until 1999, when leftist Hugo Chavez became president, practically all of Venezuela's oil exports went to the United States, but the new government took steps to diversify through sales of crude to China, India, Japan and other nations, Ramirez pointed out.

Thanks to that approach, he said, "we are not subject to the problems of the U.S. and European economy, nor to the devaluation of the dollar."




7 Members of family found dead in eastern Mexico


The bodies of seven members of a family were found over the weekend inside a house in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz, police said.

The bodies were discovered Sunday at the house in Manlio Fabio Altamirano, a city in the southern part of Veracruz.

Several women and children were among the victims, whose throats were cut.

Police went to the house after neighbors reported smelling a foul odor coming from the property, the Veracruz Attorney General's Office said.

The bodies were decomposing, indicating that the victims had been dead for at least 72 hours, the AG's office said.

Investigators do not have any leads or a motive for the killings, the AG's office said.

Veracruz 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.




Lawmakers sue U.S. AG to get Fast and Furious docs


A U.S. congressional committee filed a civil suit against Attorney General Eric Holder demanding that he hand over additional documents concerning Operation Fast and Furious, a federal undercover sting that allegedly allowed some 2,000 weapons to be smuggled into Mexico.

The chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), filed the suit asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to require Holder to turn over the documents subpoenaed by the congressional panel in October 2011.

Fast and Furious was a federal undercover sting that allegedly allowed some 2,000 weapons to be smuggled into Mexico by straw purchasers thought to be working for drug cartels, a tactic known as "gun-walking."

The operation was launched in 2009 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives' Phoenix office and shut down in late 2010 after guns traced to the program were linked to the killing in Arizona of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.




Colombia rebels free kidnapped pipeline employees


Colombia's ELN guerrillas released two pipeline company employees kidnapped last month in the oil-rich northeastern province of Arauca, a source with the International Committee of the Red Cross told Efe.

The two female captives were handed over to a delegation of the ICRC and the Catholic Church in a rural area near Fortul, Arauca, the source said.

Journalist Elida Parra Alfonso and environmental engineer Gina Paola Uribe are in good health and have already been taken back to Saravena, the city where they were abducted on July 25.

The women were delivered to the humanitarian delegation by members of the Eastern War Front of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, which is the smaller of Colombia's two main rebel groups.

Monday's handover brings to 28 the number of captives freed this year in Colombia in operations involving the ICRC, the source said.