25 Killed in armed brawl at Venezuelan prison


A battle between heavily armed inmate gangs at the Yare I prison near Caracas left 25 people dead and 43 others injured, Venezuela's minister of penitentiaries said.

Among those killed in Sunday's confrontation was an inmate's relative present for visiting day, while the toll of the injured includes 14 other visiting family members, Iris Varela said.

Authorities suspect the fight began when someone fired a shot as leaders of the rival gangs were holding a discussion, the minister told reporters.

The initial investigation also points to culpability on the part of both uniformed and civilian prison personnel and some inmates' relatives, Varela said.

"Those who put the guns here in the prison are just as responsible for the deaths as the people who pulled the triggers," she said, promising a "good investigation."




Over 40 die in wave of violence in Mexico


More than 40 people died in a wave of violence over the weekend in Mexico, officials said.

The Pacific resort city of Acapulco was one of the worst-hit areas, registering at least 12 murders.

State and federal officials responded to the violence by launching a security operation in Acapulco's tourist districts, allowing municipal police officers to focus on peripheral areas.

In the northern state of Coahuila, meanwhile, six people were murdered in the city of Torreon, the state Attorney General's Office said.

In Morelos, a state in central Mexico, the bullet-riddled bodies of two men were found inside a vehicle, state prosecutors said.

Northern Mexico was not spared from the violence, with a man and a woman gunned down in Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo Leon state, on Saturday afternoon, the State Investigations Agency, or AEI, said.

These 22 killings come on top of another 22 murders reported earlier in the weekend, bringing the death toll so far to at least 44 people.




Gov't reassigns cops at Mexico City airport


The 348 Federal Police officers at the Mexico City airport have been reassigned in response to the killings two months ago of three officers when they tried to arrest fellow members of the force who were allegedly involved in drug trafficking, the Public Safety Secretariat said.

"In an effort to strengthen the security plan at the AICM (Mexico City International Airport), the Federal Police has executed a rotation with respect to the personnel ... assigned to that station," the secretariat said in a statement.

Three Federal Police officers were murdered on June 25 at the Mexico City airport by fellow officers.

The shooting in Terminal 2 occurred during an operation to arrest three officers being investigated for having links to drug traffickers and the officers killed were going to make the arrests, the Federal Police said.




Puerto Ricans reject constitutional changes


Puerto Ricans surprised pollsters and political observers by voting against amending their constituition to limit the right of bail in certain homicide cases and also against reducing the size of the legislature.

Predictions pointing to majority support for Gov. Luis Fortuño's initiative went unfulfilled and undermined his possibilities of winning a second term in the Nov. 6 elections.

Fortuño called for the referendum on grounds that giving judges the discretion to refuse bail in certain cases was the only way to deter criminals, while cutting the legislature by 30 percent would bring significant savings.

Soon after 50 percent of the vote had been counted, Fortuño appeared before the media to say that voting down the bail amendment was an opportunity lost, though he said he would respect citizens' wishes in the matter.

Fortuño is consequently blocked from proceeding any further with one of his emblematic projects at a time when violent crime has become the worst problem facing this U.S. commonwealth in the Caribbean.

Critics said that limiting bail would do nothing to attack the root of the problem and was only a strategy to portray the governor as tough on crime.




Mexican president says he received death threat at start of term


President Felipe Calderon told a gathering of journalists and celebrities over the weekend that a threat was made against the presidential aircraft early in his term and he took it so seriously that he recorded a message for his children in case he was killed, Mexican media outlets reported.

The president said he decided to go ahead with a trip shortly after being inaugurated in December 2006 even though intelligence reports indicated a potential threat to the presidential aircraft.

Security officials uncovered a plot to attack the presidential aircraft during the first year of the administration, Calderon said, without providing details on who was behind the threats or how they planned to carry it out.

Dimas Diaz Ramos, a suspected Sinaloa drug cartel money man who allegedly planned an attack on the president, was paraded before reporters in August 2009.

The Sinaloa cartel is led by Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman, Mexico's most-wanted man.




D.R. city asks gov't to stop entry of Haitians


Leaders in this northern city asked the new Dominican government to establish rules and regulations to halt the "massive" flow of undocumented Haitians across the countries' common border.

The Development Council for the Strategic Plan of Santiago, which represents 65 business, professional, community and civic institutions, said that the moment had arrived to halt the traffic and trade of people from Haiti to the Dominican Republic.

"We have a very strong invasion of Haitians that is affecting us. We need them to regulate the immigration a little, so that they take some of that burden off of us," council president Carlos Fondeur told Efe.

The group is complaining because the "uncontrolled Haitian migration" is creating social problems.




NASCAR, Fox Deportes announce deal


NASCAR and FOX Deportes television said they have struck a deal to offer sports content in Spanish that will include 15 races during the 2013 season.

FOX Deportes, which reaches 6 million Hispanic households via cable and satellite, will air six races live of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, including for the first time in Spanish the Daytona 500.

At the same time it will produce a series of programs on NASCAR that includes daily news segments as well as 30-minute pre-race shows with background facts, rules of the sport and further details to attract the Latino fan base.

In 2011, NASCAR launched a 5-year plan aimed at reaching a younger, more diverse viewer segment while penetrating the Hispanic market, which now makes up 10 percent of the audience.