Cuban dissident ends hunger strike


Cuban dissident Jorge Cervantes, who has been in police custody since Aug. 22, ended the hunger strike he has been pursuing for 13 days to demand his release, his mother told Efe.

"The family asked him for the favor of suspending the (hunger) strike because he would be one more casualty," Alba Verdecia said by telephone from her house in Las Tunas, 690 kilometers (428 miles) east of Havana.

Verdecia said she and Jorge's wife, Kenia Leguen, met with her son on Tuesday morning at the provincial hospital in Las Tunas, where he was admitted last Wednesday.

"As a mother, I was very disturbed and nervous. He has done several (hunger) strikes and his organs are deteriorating. At our request, we insisted so much, and so he stopped it, although he didn't want to do so," she added.

Cervantes, 42, was arrested while participating in activities undertaken by the Patriotic Union of Cuba dissident group.




Federal judge nixes higher college tuition for kids of undocumented


A federal judge in Miami ruled that Florida's state-supported colleges and universities cannot require U.S.-born Florida residents whose parents are undocumented immigrants to pay tuition at the higher out-of-state rate.

The state's policy violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause, U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore found.

"The state regulations deny a benefit and create unique obstacles to attain public post-secondary public education for U.S. citizen children who would otherwise qualify for in-state tuition," he wrote.

Moore ruled on a lawsuit filed by attorneys of the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2011 in the name of five university students against the Florida Department of Education and the state university system.




Mexico's Peña Nieto names transition team


Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto introduced the 46 members of the transition team that will work with the outgoing government of Felipe Calderon to prepare for the transfer of power.

Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, named his erstwhile campaign manager, Luis Videgaray, to oversee the administrative aspects of the transition.

The policy element of the team will be led by Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, former governor of Hidalgo state.

"The electoral process has concluded and today I am working on the actions, programs and policies of the government of the republic that will take shape beginning Dec. 1," the president-elect told reporters at a Mexico City hotel.




Griselda Blanco, Colombia's 1970s "queen of cocaine," murdered


Griselda Blanco, Colombia's infamous "queen of cocaine" of the 1970s, was murdered in the northwestern city of Medellin, police said.

Blanco, who spent two decades behind bars in the United States, was gunned down on Monday as she left a butcher shop in the western section of Medellin, the capital of Antioquia province.

The 69-year-old Blanco was shot twice in the head outside the shop in the Belen neighborhood by a hitman who sped away on a motorcycle.

Blanco came up with the idea of "exporting cocaine" to the United States and was known for not hesitating to kill anyone, including one of her husbands, who got in her way.




Colombian gov't, rebels to begin peace talks next month


Representatives of the Colombian government and the Andean nation's largest guerrilla group, the FARC, will sit down next month in Oslo for talks aimed at ending their decades-long conflict.

The agreement to begin negotiations emerged from six months of exploratory discussions in Havana under the auspices of the Cuban and Norwegian governments, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Tuesday in a nationally broadcast address.

Venezuela and Chile will join Cuba and Norway in accompanying the nascent peace process, Santos said.

He said the preliminary conversations in Havana arose "from some channels the previous (Colombian) administration had established" with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

The exploratory talks produced consensus on "the goal, the agenda and the rules of the game" for achieving peace, the president said.




William Levy once again People en Español's sexiest man


William Levy, who once again this year has been named sexiest man by People en Español, told the magazine there is no basis to rumors that he plans to wed girlfriend Elizabeth Gutierrez, the mother of his two children.

Levy thus retains his position on the coveted list of Latino artists, which includes other well-known personalities such as Mexican actor David Zepeda and his countryman Fernando Colunga, Dominican singer Prince Royce and Colombian actor Fabian Rios.

The Cuban-born actor, who starred on the popular soap opera "El triunfo del amor," in a special issue of People en Español speaks about his relationship with Gutierrez, with whom he reconciled in the middle of last year after a brief separation.




Remittances to Mexico rise nearly 5 pct


Remittances sent by Mexicans living abroad rose 4.81 percent to $13.71 billion in the January-July period, compared to the same period in 2011, the Bank of Mexico said.

Mexico received $1.86 billion in remittances in July, a figure that was down 10.8 percent from the same month last year, the central bank said.

Most of the remittances are sent from the United States, where an estimated 12 million Mexicans live, with about half of them being illegal immigrants.

Some 97.5 percent of the remittances received during the first seven months of the year came in the form of electronic transfers, with the rest being received via money orders and in cash.




Spain removes immigrants from islet off Morocco


Spain's Civil Guard evacuated the 81 undocumented immigrants camping on Isla de Tierra, a Spanish islet off the Morocco coast, Interior Ministry officials told Efe.

Most of the migrants were handed over to Moroccan authorities after the pre-dawn operation, the officials said.

Spain had meanwhile accepted 10 immigrants in line with the accord reached Monday night between Madrid and Rabat for the evacuation of Isla de Tierra and the sharing of its occupants, who arrived there in two groups last week.