Hurricane Isaac batters Louisiana


Hurricane Isaac has practically halted southeast of New Orleans and continues to dump heavy rain in Louisiana, a situation that is predicted to last all day and one that threatens to cause more flooding throughout the area, which marked the 7th anniversary of deadly and devastating Hurricane Katrina.

Isaac made landfall around 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday near the mouth of the Mississippi River, but it was heading directly for New Orleans, some 145 km (90 miles) northwest.

The center of the huge storm, which has a radius of some 320 km (200 mi.), was about 73 km (45 mi.) southeast of New Orleans and moving northwest at about 9 kph (6 mph) at 11 a.m. (1500 GMT) on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center, or NHC, said in its latest bulletin.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph), the NHC said.




Colombians learn first details on how peace dialogue will go


Colombians learned the first details about how the peace dialogue between the national government and the FARC guerrillas may go, a process that has sparked great expectations but also fear and rejection.

Amid the government's caution at engaging in such a dialogue with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC - and Bogota has only confirmed having "exploratory" contacts with the leftist rebels - RCN radio station released on Wednesday the text of the agreement to "begin direct and uninterrupted talks" with a commitment to "put an end to the conflict as an essential condition for the building of a stable and durable peace."

The document, consisting of four pages and six general points, establishes that the delegates of the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the FARC initially will hold the talks in Oslo and later move them to Havana, which will be their permanent seat.

The governments of Cuba and Norway, as guarantors, and those of Venezuela and Chile, as co-guarantors, will support the talks, according to the RCN report.




Father of Arizona's SB1070 will not be back in legislature


Republican Russell Pearce, the architect of controversial state law SB1070 and other regulations against undocumented immigration in Arizona, has failed in his attempt to return to the state legislature.

Pearce was defeated Tuesday at the polls by businessman Bob Worsley in the primary election to represent District 25 of Mesa for the Republican Party.

Worsley obtained 55.9 percent of the votes, compared with 44.1 percent for Pearce.

During the 11 years that he was in the state legislature, Pearce became known for his hard line against undocumented immigration and for promoting laws that make the lives of immigrants in the state more difficult.




Arrest warrant issued for former Mexican state governor


Mexican authorities are looking for the former governor of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Tomas Yarrington, with the help of Interpol, Attorney General Marisela Morales said.

So far "we have no information about where he could be, but the order (for his arrest on drug trafficking charges) is already in effect," Morales told reporters.

Mexican media on Wednesday reported that a federal judge in the western state of Jalisco had ordered Yarrington's arrest, and this was confirmed by Morales.

Morales said that Yarrington, who governed Tamaulipas from 1999 to 2004, is charged with "fomenting drug trafficking and drug consumption."




Arizona sheriff: I deserve medal for keeping out illegals


The sheriff of Arizona's Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio, said in Tampa that the Obama administration should give him a "medal" for apprehending undocumented immigrants rather than investigating him for his methods.

"I should be getting a medal. The president should invite me to the White House ... and thank me for helping the government fight illegal immigration and the drug cartels," Arpaio told members of the foreign press covering the Republican National Convention.

Arpaio, who has supported the presidential candidacy of Republican Mitt Romney, said that if the former Massachusetts governor wins the presidency in November, Congress should work with him to legislatively solve the problem of illegal immigration.




Spanish paratrooper wounded in Afghanistan


An attack on Spanish troops outside the northwestern Afghan town of Ludina left one paratrooper wounded, the Defense Ministry said.

The legionnaire paratrooper, identified as J.F.F., suffered wounds in both legs and was initially treated at the Spanish base hospital in Qala i Naw, although his life is not in danger, the ministry said.

The wounded man was later transferred to Herat, where the Spanish medical team will determine over the next few days whether to fly him back to Spain for medical care.




Mexican officials punished in lottery case


Eight officials implicated in a corruption scandal involving a lottery agency have been punished, with four of them being slapped with fines totaling 182 million pesos (about $13.7 million) and a ban on holding public office for 20 years, the Mexican Public Administration Secretariat said.

The officials worked for Pronosticos para la Asistencia Publica, a public company organized to run the Melate and Revancha lotteries.

The officials were punished for trying to "defraud this institution," the secretariat said.

An investigation conducted by the secretariat found that a private company hired to videotape the lottery drawings and broadcast them live pre-recorded a drawing ahead of time with the complicity of the officials.