T.S. Isaac claims 19 lives in Haiti


The number of people who died when Tropical Storm Isaac swept through Haiti has risen to 19, while six people are still missing, the government said.

Until that report, Isaac was believed to have caused eight fatalities when it hit Haiti over the weekend with strong winds and heavy rains, before heading across the Gulf of Mexico on Monday to threaten Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Haiti's emergency management chief Alta Jean Baptiste said that 14,375 people had to be evacuated, of whom 13,561 are in shelters.

The two provinces hit hardest by Isaac were Ouest and Sud-Est, which together account for 11 de las 19 deaths.




McCain, Jeb Bush urge Romney to focus on Hispanic vote


Sen. John McCain and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush urged Mitt Romney to make greater efforts to capture Hispanic votes in his battle with President Barack Obama.

Romney, who will be officially nominated as his party's presidential candidate at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Thursday, must convince Hispanics and women that his self-proclaimed ability to improve the economy is "more important than other issues" McCain said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The 2008 GOP presidential nominee said that Obama is gaining ground against Romney with negative ads in which the Republican is presented as aloof and out of touch, but he predicted that the situation will change over the next two months.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush told NBC that Romney "can make inroads (among Latinos) if he focuses on how do we create a climate of job creation and economic growth."




Venezuela refinery blast death toll rises to 41


Two of the people injured in the explosion at Venezuela's Amuay refinery over the weekend have died while being treated at Coromoto Hospital in the western city of Maracaibo, raising the death toll from the industrial accident to 41, officials said.

The two victims arrived at the hospital with burns over 100 percent of their bodies, hospital spokesman Jesus Valdes said.

The blast and subsequent blaze at the refinery injured 80 other people, officials said.

The fire at the refinery is still burning, but officials expect that it will be extinguished in the next few hours, Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez said Monday.




Cuban dissident Ferrer released by authorities


Cuban dissident Jose Daniel Ferrer, former prisoner of the Group of 75, told Efe that he was freed after being detained for more than 72 hours in the southeastern province of Santiago de Cuba.

Ferrer said in a telephone call from his home in the town of Palmarito de Cauto in Santiago de Cuba province that before leaving at noon Sunday from the police station where he had been held in custody since last Thursday, a state security official read him an official warning in which he was accused of "disturbing the peace."

"We will not allow conterrevolutionary provocations," the official of the political police said, according to Ferrer.




12 Mexican cops held for attack on U.S. diplomats


A Mexican judge ordered 12 federal police officers held without bail for 40 days pending an investigation of last week's attack by cops on a U.S. Embassy vehicle, the Attorney General's Office said.

Two embassy personnel and an official of the Mexican navy department traveling with them were wounded in the incident, but none of the injuries was life-threatening.

Prosecutors sought the extended pre-charge detention "to have the time necessary to conduct an exhaustive investigation with collaboration from all levels," Attorney General Marisela Morales told reporters.

She said her office is working "with each and every national and international authority" to determine what happened last Friday.




22 Guerrillas captured in northwest Colombia


Twenty-two suspected FARC rebels were captured in a massive raid in the northwestern province of Antioquia, the Colombian Attorney General's Office said.

Those rounded up were inhabitants of two rural villages and the town of Ituango, and were part of a "support system" for the 18th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the AG's office said in a communique.

One bus, two computers and three guns were among the items seized during the operation, which was launched over the weekend in a joint operation with the army's 38th Mobile Brigade.

Seven women were among the prisoners taken.




6 Die in shootout at Brazil nightclub


Six people were killed and 14 others wounded in a gunfight at a nightclub in the southeastern Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte, police said, blaming the violence on a dispute between gangs.

Scores of people were inside the club late Sunday night when two armed men burst in as a band was playing and started firing indiscriminately.

One of the intruders was carrying a military-issue submachine gun, police said.

Several club patrons drew guns and returned fire, fatally wounding the attacker with the submachine gun, while the other assailant fled on a motorcycle.




11 Bodies dumped on highway in southern Mexico


Eleven bodies were found over the weekend on a highway in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero, state prosecutors said.

The bodies, which were discovered early Sunday, showed signs of torture and had bullet wounds, the Guerrero Attorney General's Office said.

The victims - all males - were dumped at three different spots along the Siglo XXI highway, which links Guerrero to Michoacan state.

Messages signed by the Los Caballeros Templarios drug cartel were left with the bodies, suggesting that the killings were a settling of scores between rival drug gangs, media reports said.