1 Dead in earthquake in Costa Rica


The magnitude-7.6 earthquake that struck near Costa Rica's Pacific coast left one person dead and two others missing, authorities said.

The quake's epicenter was located beneath the ocean floor about 220 kilometers (137 miles) northwest of this capital, the Ovsicori seismological observatory said.

After initially estimating the strength of the temblor at 6.7, Ovsicori revised the reading upward to magnitude-7.6, consistent with the adjusted figure from the U.S. Geological Survey, which originally reported a magnitude-7.9 event.

The U.S. government's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issued an alert for the Pacific coast from Mexico southward to Peru.

The PTWC subsequently narrowed the scope of the warning to Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama and then canceled the alert altogether.

Officials in Costa Rica and Panama, relying on advice from their own experts, quickly ruled out the chance of a tsunami.




Mexico arrests a top Gulf cartel boss


One of the Gulf drug cartel's top bosses has been arrested, dealing a blow to the powerful Mexican criminal organization less than three months before President Felipe Calderon leaves office, officials said.

Mario Cardenas Guillen, known as "El Gordo" (The Fat Guy) and "M1," was captured Monday by marines in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, one of the areas most affected by drug-related violence in recent years.

He is the brother of former Gulf cartel top capos Osiel Cardenas Guillen, who was extradited to the United States on Jan. 20, 2007, and Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, who died in a shootout with marines nearly two years ago.




Colombia's Santos names team to negotiate with rebels


The peace process between the Colombian government and the country's largest rebel group won more support as the names of those who will be sitting around the table began to emerge.

President Juan Manuel Santos presented the government's negotiating team and it is expected that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, will make its team known on Thursday in Havana.

Former Vice President Humberto de la Calle will head the team comprised of retired Gens. Jorge Enrique Mora and Oscar Naranjo, erstwhile commanders of the army and police, respectively; business leader Luis Carlos Villegas, security advisor Sergio Jaramillo and former presidential peace commissioner Frank Pearl.

The government negotiators "have very broad experience" and are committed to ensuring that the peace process "moves forward, in a serious way, in a dignified way, in a realistic way and in an effective way," Santos said.




Michelle Obama praises Hispanics' "critical role"


First lady Michelle Obama praised the "critical role" of the Latino community in helping achieve her husband's vision for the country and she promised to fight for approval of the DREAM Act, which would provide a path to legalization for qualified undocumented young people.

"So we don't have a single minute to waste," she said in a meeting with the Hispanic Caucus at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, where President Barack Obama will be formally nominated to seek a second term.

She called on Hispanic delegates to keep doing "that hard work on the ground" to encourage all possible voters to go to the polls on Nov. 6.

The Hispanic vote represented about 9 percent of the national total in the 2008 election and it is expected that it could amount to 11 percent this year.




Julian Castro evokes immigrant roots in convention keynote speech


San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro evoked the experience of his immigrant family and their belief "that opportunity created today would lead to prosperity tomorrow" in the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention here in Charlotte.

Castro talked about his Mexican-born grandmother, Victoria, who worked as a maid, cook and babysitter in the United States and taught herself to read and write in English and Spanish.

Castro, a rising star in the Democratic Party, mentioned the Republican Party convention held last week in Tampa, where he said that he heard "a few stories of individual success."

"But the question is, how do we multiply that success?" he asked rhetorically.

"The answer is President Barack Obama," he stated to a huge ovation from the crowd gathered in the Time Warner Cable Arena.




Venezuela confirms start-up of oil exploration off Cuba


State-owned oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, has started exploring for oil in deepwater areas off Cuba, Oil and Mining Minister Rafael Ramirez said.

"It started and when we have the results, we'll tell the country," Ramirez said, without providing further details.

State-owned Cubapetroleo, or CUPET, said in early August that PDVSA would continue drilling in deepwater areas despite the fact that other foreign oil companies hit two dry holes.




Guerrilla commander killed in Peru


A Shining Path guerrilla commander was killed in a firefight with the army and police in the jungles of Peru's Valley of the Apurimac and Ene rivers, or VRAE, region, President Ollanta Humala said.

"We have been able to confirm the death of the so-called Comrade Williams, the number four in the party organization of (Shining) Path in the VRAE, he was the number two military commander," Humala told Radio Programas del Peru, or RPP.

The rebel commander died in a clash with the security forces around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday in Llochegua, an area in Huanta province, which is in the southern region of Ayacucho, the president said.