2 Sheriff's deputies gunned down in Louisiana


Two sheriff's deputies died and two others were wounded in a shootout near New Orleans, and so far five suspects have been arrested.

The two deputies were "ambushed" by an armed man with an assault rifle as they were walking across a parking lot in an industrial part of the town of Laplace to investigate an earlier shooting, the sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish, Michael Tregre, said.

One of wounded deputies was badly hurt, but authorities say they are not in mortal danger.




Ecuador grants asylum to Julian Assange


Ecuador granted asylum to Julian Assange, holed up since late June at the Andean nation's embassy in London, and said it expected the British government to allow the WikiLeaks founder to travel to Quito.

The Australian citizen sought refuge at the Ecuadorian mission after losing a long battle in the British courts to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on allegations of sexual misconduct.

Assange, who denies the accusations, fears that once he is in Swedish custody, U.S. prosecutors will indict him for espionage and Washington will pressure Stockholm into handing him over.

Ecuador's decision rests on international law and was motivated by fear that Assange's life would be at risk if he were ultimately sent to the United States, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño told a press conference in Quito.

Politicians and pundits in the United States called for Assange to be prosecuted - or even assassinated - after WikiLeaks disseminated thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables as well as a video that showed an American military helicopter crew killing a Reuters photographer and several other civilians in Iraq.

Evidence available to the Ecuadorian government indicates that if Assange were extradited to the United States, "he would not receive a fair trial, he could be tried by special or military courts," Patiño said Thursday.




Cuba charges Spaniard for dissidents' deaths in crash


Cuban prosecutors are asking for seven years in prison for negligent homicide for the visiting Spaniard who was behind the wheel for the car crash that killed prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya and a colleague, sources closes to the case told Efe.

Angel Carromero, leader of a youth group in Spain's governing Popular Party, has been in custody since the July 22 accident.

The next step could be setting a date for the court hearing, which probably will be held in the eastern city of Bayamo in late August or early September, the sources said.

The Spaniard, Swedish citizen Jens Aron Modig, Paya and fellow dissident Harold Cepero were on their way from the Cuban capital to the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba in a rented car when the accident happened.




Arizona blasted for denying licenses to Deferred Action recipients


Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's decision to deny driver's licenses to young undocumented immigrants who qualify for Deferred Action has drawn criticism from the ACLU, which says the move shows a failure to grasp the subtleties of immigration law.

"We think the governor is mistaken with respect to the driver's licenses. This is an example of why states shouldn't get involved in immigration law because they don't have an understanding of the complexity of these types of laws," Alessandra Soler, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, told Efe Thursday.

Brewer on Wednesday signed a directive ordering state agencies to take immediate measures to prevent Deferred Action applicants from gaining access to Arizona driver's licenses, identification cards and other public benefits.




5 Soldiers die in firefight in Peru


Five soldiers were killed and five others wounded in a firefight with an armed group near the Mazangaro base in the central Peruvian region of Junin, the Armed Forces Joint Command said.

Patrols from the 2nd Infantry Brigade encountered "terrorist criminals" on Wednesday night in Pangoa, a district in Satipo province, the joint command said in a statement.

Four sergeants and a corporal were killed, while four other sergeants and another non-commissioned officer were wounded.

This is the second attack by guerrillas in less than a week on the Mazangaro base.




Colombian president says rebels want to kill him


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos disclosed a purported internal FARC rebel group message in which a high-ranking guerrilla commander orders his comrades to kill the head of state "by whatever means."

Santos unveiled the message during a meeting with Nasa Indians on the La Maria reservation in the southwestern province of Cauca, hours after receiving the news from Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.

The message was sent in the form of an e-mail to a leader of the Northeastern Bloc of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.




Nadal's coach says goal is "full recovery"


Rafael Nadal's uncle and coach told Television Española that the Spanish tennis great is focused on making "a full recovery" from a nagging knee injury after withdrawing from the U.S. Open.

"After Wimbledon, we decided to rest a few days and then move on to strengthening the quadriceps but that's was a struggle," Toni Nadal said in explaining his nephew's decision to withdraw in succession from the London Olympics and then from two ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati.

"Later we managed to strengthen a bit, but at the end of the training sessions that pain continued and the recovery was not sufficient to deal with a competition as tough as the U.S. Open and the rest of the season," the coach said in the phone interview with TVE, alluding to that Grand Slam event's unforgiving hard-court surface.




Chilean police storm occupied schools, arrest 139


Police arrested 139 people here as they forcibly evicted students occupying several high schools to demand improvements to Chile's underfunded public education system, authorities said.

The evictions at Dario Salas, Miguel de Cervantes and Confederacion Suiza high schools were carried out on the order of Santiago Mayor Pablo Zalaquett.

A fourth school included in the mayor's order, Barros Borgoño, remained under student occupation at midday.

Riot police backed by water cannon burst into the Salas and De Cervantes schools a little after 5:00 a.m., arresting 41 students at the first school and 38 at the second.

The operation at Confederacion Suiza brought the arrest total to 139, including seven adults, police Col. Victor Tapia told reporters.

The minors will be released to their parents once police confirm their identities, the colonel said.