EFE News Briefs for Wednesday, Sept. 12

Published September 12, 2012


U.S. envoy to Libya slain by militants


Some 50 Marines were sent to Libya to reinforce security at U.S. diplomatic missions after Washington's envoy to the North African nation was killed in an attack in Benghazi, CNN reported Wednesday.

The Marines departed from the U.S. base in Rota, Spain, the network said.

Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi by Muslim militants angry over an anti-Islam video produced by an Israeli filmmaker based in the United States.

President Barack Obama said Wednesday in a joint appearance at the White House with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he had ordered security measures in Libya stepped up after the attacks.




Mexican navy captures a Gulf cartel boss


Mexico's navy announced the capture of the reputed head of the Gulf cartel in an area of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

The arrest occurred Tuesday in Guadalajara, capital of the western state of Jalisco, that institution said in a statement.

The detainee, Juan Gabriel Montes Sermeño, said he was the Gulf cartel's boss in the southern part of the drug violence-wracked state of Tamaulipas and worked for Mario Cardenas Guillen, who was recently detained by navy personnel.

Cardenas Guillen, thought to have headed one of that cartel's two main branches, was captured last week by navy personnel in Tamaulipas.




Chilean teen arrested in killing of cop during coup protests


An adolescent male was arrested on suspicion he fired the shot that killed a Chilean police officer during violent protests marking the 39th anniversary of Gen. Augusto Pinochet's coup.

The 16-year-old suspect, identified only by the nickname "El Rata" (The Rat), was arrested in the Santiago suburb of Quilicura, where police Cpl. Cristian Martinez Badilla, 27, was shot while trying to prevent the looting of a supermarket, capital daily El Mercurio said on its Web site.

The suspect was arrested after a number of witnesses said El Rata was the only person to fire shots during the confrontation at the supermarket.

Police confiscated a .38-caliber handgun from the suspect, who had an outstanding arrest warrant, El Mercurio said.




Cuba says Alan Gross' health still "normal"


The health of U.S. contractor Alan Gross, who is serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for subversion, "continues to be normal," the island's Communist government said, a day after the prisoner's wife expressed concern about his well-being.

Gross regularly engages in "intense physical exercise," the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"Cuba reiterates its willingness for dialogue with the United States Government to find a solution to the case of Mr. Gross and continues awaiting a response," the statement added, noting that Cuban authorities enabled Judy Gross to visit her husband several times last week at a detention center in Havana.

"I am devastated by his appearance," Judy Gross said in a statement released Tuesday after her return from Cuba.




Mexico's Calderon prefers yes-men, party colleague says


A senator from Mexican President Felipe Calderon's National Action Party, or PAN, says the outgoing head of state is short-tempered and prefers to be surrounded by sycophants.

In an open letter to the president published Wednesday in Reforma newspaper, Sen. Javier Corral seeks to saddle Calderon with much of the blame for the conservative PAN's third-place finish in the July 1 presidential election.




Romney, Obama to appeal to Hispanics in back-to-back broadcasts


President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will participate for the first time in history in election television programs specially directed at the Hispanic audience.

Spanish-language network Univision will broadcast the forums "to discuss education and the future of the Hispanic community."

Both of the "Meet the Candidates" events - Sept. 19 with Romney and Sept. 20 with Obama - will be held in front of a live audience at the University of Miami BankUnited Center, the network said.

Both of the sessions will be moderated by Jorge Ramos and Maria Elena Salinas, the anchors of Univision's main nightly newscast.




Mexican-born journalist wins prestigious Chancellor award


Mexican-born journalist Maria Hinojosa is the winner of the 2012 John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism, Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism announced.

Hinojosa, who has already won three Emmys for her work in television news, is one of the most prominent members of the Hispanic journalistic community in the United States, after her stint on CNN and her current work for PBS and National Public Radio.

The award was created in honor of long-time NBC News anchor John Chancellor.

Hinojosa was chosen "in recognition of the courage and independence she has shown over the course of her career reporting on those whose stories might not otherwise make it into the mainstream media," the journalism school said.

Born in Mexico City and raised in Chicago, Hinojosa hosts the programs "Latino USA" on NPR and "Need to Know" on PBS.




Brazilian police kill 9 drug traffickers in shootout


An elite police unit killed nine people during an operation targeting drug traffickers in Varzea Paulista, a city about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from Sao Paulo, Brazilian officials said.

Six of the nine suspects killed in Tuesday's operation have been identified and all had lengthy criminal records, the Sao Paulo Security Secretariat said.

Forty officers from two squads of the ROTA special operations battalion took part in the operation, which also resulted in the arrests of eight other suspects.




4 Die in shootout with soldiers in northeast Mexico


Four people died in shootouts with army troops in Reynosa, a border city in the northeastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, state officials said.

The first shootout occurred around 1:50 p.m. in the Mil Cumbres section of Reynosa, located across the border from McAllen, Texas, the Tamaulipas Public Safety Secretariat and the Attorney General's Office said.

State police and crime scene investigators confirmed that a man from the southern state of Chiapas died in the shootout, officials said.

The second shootout happened a few hours later in a field in the Lomas del Real de Jarachina Sur district, where three people died in a firefight with army troops.




Mexico extradites Zetas founder to U.S.


One of the founders of the Los Zetas criminal organization has been extradited to the United States, where he was wanted on drug trafficking and other charges, the Mexican Attorney General's Office said.

Jesus Enrique Rejon Aguilar faces criminal conspiracy and drug charges in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the AG's office said.

U.S. prosecutors began an investigation of Rejon Aguilar's involvement in drug trafficking in the United States in 2006.

Investigators learned that a criminal organization called La Compañia smuggled large quantities of cocaine and marijuana into the United States.