10 Die in attack on bar in northern Mexico


Gunmen who identified themselves as members of the Gulf drug cartel attacked a bar in Monterrey, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, and killed 10 people, a spokesman for the state security council said.

The gunmen arrived at the Matehuala bar in downtown Monterrey around 11:00 p.m. Monday and opened fire on the people inside, Nuevo Leon Security Council spokesman Jorge Domene told Efe.

The gunmen told the bar's patrons and employees that they belonged to the Gulf cartel, one of Mexico's largest criminal organizations.

Four people were pronounced dead at the scene and four others died while being treated at a hospital in Monterrey, Mexico's largest industrial city, Domene said.

Investigators later found the bodies of two more people in the bar's air ducts, where they had apparently tried to hide, Domene said.




U.S. receives notification of American arrested in Venezuela


The U.S. State Department announced that the Venezuelan government had notified it about the arrest of a U.S. citizen in the Andean nation, but Caracas has not responded to official requests that this country's consulate be allowed access to the man.

"(T)he Venezuelans did confirm to us here in Washington yesterday after the briefing that they do have an American citizen under custody," department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in her daily press conference.

"They did not follow usual channels and notify our Embassy in capital, nor have they responded to our requests for consular access to him," she said, without specifying the channels through which the State Department received confirmation from Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said last Friday that the arrested man had said that he had served in the U.S. Marines and that he was refusing to cooperate with the police investigation.




Spain's Rajoy extends supplementary jobless benefits


The Spanish government will extend the monthly payments of 400 euros ($490) given to jobless workers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits.

The supplementary aid was announced Tuesday by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in an appearance before the press following a meeting in Palma de Mallorca with King Juan Carlos.

Rajoy said that the Cabinet will approve the extension of this aid at its next meeting, scheduled for Aug. 24.

He also said that his administration will try to make the program more efficient and achieve the purpose for which it was created by getting the unemployed back to work.




Marines kill 4 suspected gunmen in Mexico


At least four suspected gunmen died in a shootout with marines in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, where a wave of drug-related violence has claimed the lives of nearly 30 people in the past few days, officials said.

The shootout occurred Monday morning on a highway in the city of Fresnillo when a group of heavily armed men tried to evade marines who were on patrol in the area, officials told Efe.

The bodies of the four dead gunmen were found inside an SUV after the shootout.




Police mount security operation in western Mexico


The Federal Police has deployed an additional 600 officers in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, where several shootouts involving drug gangs and the security forces have occurred in recent days, a Public Safety Secretariat official told Efe.

The officers' mission is to bolster security in the area and allow the agency to rotate personnel around Mexico, the official said.

The Federal Police units deployed in Michoacan have 20 armored vehicles, 30 all-terrain SUVs, two Black Hawk helicopters and a communications support vehicle.

The officers arrived in Morelia, the capital of Michoacan, just after 4:30 p.m. on Monday and went immediately to the Federal Police's operations base.




Colombian rebels bomb oil depot


Leftist FARC guerrillas mounted bomb attacks on an oil depot and an electric pylon in the northeastern province of Norte de Santander, Colombian authorities said.

Both strikes occurred in rural areas near the town of Tibu.

The rebels targeted a power line that supplies electricity to a community of some 10,000 people and a storage facility belonging to state oil company Ecopetrol, provincial police commander Eliecer Camacho Jimenez told Efe.

"In the first case, the explosives did not topple the pylon, so the service was not interrupted," Col. Camacho said by telephone from Cucuta, capital of Norte de Santander.

The blast at the oil depot caused a minor spill, he said.




Former Cuban political prisoner back in custody


Former political prisoner Angel Moya has been back in police custody since the weekend and authorities refuse to provide any information on his whereabouts, his wife told Efe.

Berta Soler, spokeswoman for the dissident group Ladies in White, said that Moya was arrested by State Security agents together with other members of the opposition Sunday in Pedro Betancourt, a town in Matanzas province.

"I consider him missing because no representative of the police or State Security has informed his sister or me of his whereabouts," Soler said.

Moya's wife believes the dissident is being held at a police station where he has been taken on other occasions in Matanzas city, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Havana.

Soler said the arrest took place when her husband and other dissidents gathered to witness a police search of the home of a member of the Democratic Freedom for Cuba Movement, of which Moya is the leader.