2 U.S. Embassy personnel wounded by cops in Mexico


Two officials at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico were wounded when federal police shot at their vehicle in the central state of Morelos, Mexican authorities said.

The wounds are not life-threatening, the federal Public Safety Office and the navy department said in a joint statement, adding that a Mexican naval officer traveling with the two Americans suffered "slight contusions" in the early morning incident.

The vehicle, a Toyota SUV, had diplomatic plates.

Police were engaged in anti-crime operations at the time of the shooting, the statement said.




Retired Colombian gen'l convicted in killing of peasant leader


Retired Colombian Gen. Rito Alejo del Rio was convicted and sentenced to nearly 26 years in prison for the 1997 murder of a peasant leader in a joint army-paramilitary operation.

A judge found Del Rio to be "co-responsible" for the killing of peasant Marino Lopez Mena during Operation Genesis, launched by the army's 17th Brigade in the conflictive northwestern region of Uraba.

Several paramilitary commanders had implicated Del Rio in the slaying.

Lopez Mena, a black peasant leader, was killed and dismembered in February 1997, in Bijao - one of 23 communities located in the Cacarica River basin - by men from the Elmer Cardenas Bloc of the now-defunct AUC federation of rightist militias.




Armstrong stripped of Tour de France titles


The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced that it has disqualified all of retired cyclist Lance Armstrong's competitive results from Aug. 1, 1998, to the present, including the record seven Tour de France titles he won in 1999-2005.

The USADA said in a statement that it made the decision after Armstrong chose not to appear before an arbitration panel to respond to doping charges.

The 40-year-old American, who retired in 2011, had until midnight Thursday to respond to the accusations.

Retired Spanish cyclist Joseba Beloki, who stands to be named winner of the 2002 Tour de France in light of the USADA decision, expressed no interest in such a designation in remarks on Friday.

"It's a very long process. I'm proud of what I did in the Tour de France and this doesn't change anything. Races are won on the road," the former road racer said.




YPF, Chevron discuss potential Vaca Muerta deal


The CEO of Argentine oil company YPF and the head of Latin American and African operations for Chevron Corp. met here Friday to discuss a potential agreement to develop the massive Vaca Muerta shale oil and gas formation.

Miguel Galuccio and Ali Moshiri discussed the "possibility of a strategic accord" to develop those reserves in southwestern Argentina, according to a press release issued by YPF, now state-controlled after the Argentine government expropriated a 51 percent stake in the firm from Spain's Repsol earlier this year.

During the meeting, Chevron's Moshiri expressed interest in partnering with YPF in developing the 30,000-sq.-kilometer (11,580-sq.-mile) Vaca Muerta formation, the world's third-largest unconventional oil and gas reserve.

According to U.S.-based auditor Ryder Scott, Vaca Muerta holds 22.8 billion barrels of oil equivalent. "Chevron is very interested in coordinating joint projects and we want partners with the heft and experience of a company of this global stature," Galuccio said.




140 Arrested, 18 police injured in Chile student protests


Protests by thousands of striking high school students demanding better public education resulted in at least 140 arrests, left 18 riot police injured and caused damage to public and private property, the government of the Santiago metropolitan region and Chile's Carabineros militarized police force said.

The national student strike followed three weeks of protests that included school occupations punctuated by police operations to evict the occupiers.

"What's clear is that it's a minority - headed by leaders who do not represent millions of students and (student) representatives - who are trying to impose their demands. That attitude isn't democratic nor does is further the goal of improving Chilean education," metro Santiago security chief Gonzalo Diaz del Rio said.

Student leader Eloisa Gonzalez, however, justified Thursday's protests, noting that the multiple simultaneous marches marked a new strategy by the high school student movement."




Mexico's Pemex ordered to clean up oil spill


Mexican environmental authorities are demanding that state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos clean up a crude spill that occurred when a loading buoy sank nearly two weeks ago and polluted six beaches.

The sinking of the buoy (used to load crude onto tankers in deep water) happened off the coast of the southern state of Oaxaca, near the Salina Cruz refinery in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.

Media outlets reported that a boat collided with the buoy because it lacked signaling lights, causing it to sink and spill the crude it was storing.

Mexico's environmental protection agency, Profepa, instructed Pemex to immediately take steps "to prevent crude from continuing to spread off the coasts of fishing communities in the state of Oaxaca."