Soldiers kill 11 gunmen in northeast Mexico


Army troops killed 11 suspected gunmen in two shootouts in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, officials said.

The first shootout occurred around 8:00 a.m. Monday in Francisco I. Madero and Cruz y Carmen, two farming communities outside the city of Padilla, and left five suspected cartel gunmen dead, a Tamaulipas Attorney General's Office spokesman told Efe.

Six gunmen were killed a few hours later in a shootout with soldiers in the farming community of El Brasil, which is also located within the city limits of Padilla.




Cuba sends former top officials to jail for corruption


Three former deputy industry ministers were among 13 people sentenced to prison for "offenses associated with corruption," Cuban Communist Party daily Granma said.

The defendants were convicted by a court in the eastern city of Holguin for misconduct surrounding the expansion of a nickel- and cobalt-processing complex.

The crimes were committed at every stage of the project at the Pedro Soto Alba facility in Holguin province, Granma said.

Alfredo Rafael Zayas Lopez, Ricardo Gonzalez Sanchez and Antonio Orizon de los Reyes Bermudez - all of whom occupied the post of deputy minister of Basic Industries at various times between 1980 and 2010 - were sentenced to 12, 10 and eight years, respectively.

A former executive of state-owned Cubaniquel, Cristobal de la Caridad Saavedra Montero, received a six-year sentence.

Prison terms ranging from four to eight years were handed down to nine other erstwhile officials, Granma said, insisting that all 13 defendants were provided with due process.




Texas couple charged with supplying ammo to Mexican cartels


Federal authorities arrested a couple who own a firearms store in Laredo, Texas, for allegedly selling large quantities ammunition that were destined for Mexican drug cartels.

The special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in San Antonio, Jerry Robinette, said that the arrests were part of the commitment of U.S. authorities to halt the illegal flow of weapons and ammunition to organized criminal groups in Mexico.

Robert Jacaman Sr. and his wife, Veronica Jacaman, are accused of selling ammunition to undocumented immigrants, among other charges.

The couple are facing 11 federal charges for crimes related to weapons and ammunition trafficking, said Robinette, who added that the prosecution will ask the judge to deny bail.

The charges against the couple include conspiring to provide ammunition and ammo clips to undocumented immigrants, as well as ammunition and an assault rifle to convicted criminals.




Man in Colombia caught trying to board plane with grenade


A man was arrested when a grenade was found in his carry-on luggage as he tried to board a commercial flight in the southwestern Colombian city of Guapi, authorities said.

The incident remains under investigation, police sources told Efe.

Authorities have yet to determine whether the suspect is part of an armed group, where he obtained the grenade or what he intended to do with it, the sources said.




Officials exhume bodies in search for migrants missing in Mexico


Investigators have started exhuming unidentified bodies at two burial grounds in the southern state of Chiapas in an effort to determine if they are those of migrants who disappeared in Mexico while trying to reach the United States, the State Human Rights Council, or CEDH, said.

The cases of 429 migrants from different countries who disappeared in Mexico have been documented, the CEDH said.

The exhumations, which started on Monday and will continue until Sept. 16, are being done at the Tapachula and Ciudad Hidalgo cemeteries near the border with Guatemala, the council said.




Madrid hasn't forgotten Spaniard held in Cuba for deadly crash


Spain's foreign ministry continues in close contact with the Spanish political activist who faces charges in Cuba for the car crash that killed prominent Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya and a colleague, and is taking all possible steps to secure his release.

The ministry told Efe Tuesday that Spanish authorities are undertaking the necessary procedures and that the consul general in Havana has often visited Angel Carromero, leader of a youth group in Spain's governing Popular Party.

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 on July 22 when the accident happened.




Diana Nyad gives up Cuba to Florida swim


U.S. endurance swimmer Diana Nyad gave up on her latest attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage.

The swimmer, who on Wednesday will be 63, had completed more than half the 160-kilometer (103-mile) journey.

"Diana has been pulled from the water," her team said in a brief announcement around 8:00 a.m. EDT on the blog it has continually updated with news about Nyad's crossing.

If she had completed the feat, Nyad would have become the first person to swim across the Florida Strait without a shark cage.

She was not entirely unprotected, however - her team used an apparatus emitting electromagnetic waves to frighten the predators away.




Disturbances break out in Mexican religious community


Outbreaks of violence have been reported once again in La Nueva Jerusalen, a religious community in the western Mexican state of Michoacan, leading the governor to threaten to use force to restore order.

The rival factions vying to run the community resorted to violence on July 5, when seven classrooms were destroyed by followers of a priest who calls himself "Saint Martin of Tours" and controls the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary.

The priest inherited power from the late Nabor Cardenas, a former Catholic priest and founder of La Nueva Jerusalen.

He has ordered more than 500 of his followers to prevent the start of the 2012-2013 school year, which was supposed to start on Monday, with classes being held in the houses of some of the parents of the community's more than 280 schoolchildren.

The order set off clashes between followers of the priest and dissidents who want the schools open, prompting Michoacan Gov. Fausto Vallejo to issue an ultimatum on Monday.