Federal Reserve to pump more liquidity into U.S. economy


The U.S. Federal Reserve announced further steps to stimulate a struggling economy and pledged to keep short-term interest rates at near zero until 2015.

At the end of its two-day policy meeting, the Fed said in a statement that it plans to purchase $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities per month indefinitely until the nation's employment outlook improves.

The institution headed by Ben Bernanke said this third, open-ended round of quantitative easing, combined with its Operation Twist initiative - which involves swapping short-term debt for holdings with longer maturities - means the Fed will be purchasing nearly $85 billion in long-term bonds monthly.

The Federal Reserve also pledged to keep the federal funds rate - the interest rate on overnight interbank loans - at between zero percent and 0.25 percent until at least mid-2015.

The Fed had said in January of this year that it would keep that key interest rate low until the end of 2014 in a bid to encourage borrowing and risk-taking and lower the unemployment rate, which has stood at more than 8 percent since early 2009, the height of the global financial crisis.




Obama denies neglecting Latin America, says he expects to return there


U.S. President Barack Obama denied - contrary to what many of his critics contend - that he has neglected Latin America and said that his administration has been "very aggressive" in trying to broaden relations with the region.

"(W)e have (not) only not neglected it, we've actually been very aggressive in trying to expand those relationships. Trade is significantly up between the U.S. and Latin America since I took on the presidency," Mr. Obama said in an exclusive interview with Agencia Efe, Spain's international news agency, adding that he expects to "travel there again."

"In very concrete terms, we have partnered on security issues, to dealing with (the) transnational drug trade, to energy issues focused on how we can develop greater energy efficiency and more clean energy," the president said.

Mr. Obama also mentioned, as signs of his commitment to Latin America, that since taking office in January 2009 his administration had worked on "expanding trade by signing free trade deals with Colombia and Panama and really emphasizing exchanges between young people which create such a strong bond between the U.S. and the region."




Obama: I didn't promise to complete immigration reform in my first term


U.S. President Barack Obama said here in an exclusive interview with Agencia Efe, Spain's international news agency, that he had not promised to complete his entire 2008 campaign agenda, including immigration reform, during his first term but rather had said that he would begin working on it.

When asked if he regretted not having been able to deliver on immigration reform, the president responded: "No, because what a president does, or what a candidate for president does is you lay out an agenda of where you want to take your country, a vision for how we would strengthen the country and, in my case, my vision has always been how do we create a strong middle class, ladders of opportunity into the middle class."

"And the agenda that I put forward," he said, "is one that is designed to make sure that anybody who works hard in this country can make it."




Sicilia to take break from Mexico peace movement


Mexican poet Javier Sicilia, who just wrapped up a tour of the United States with other members of his Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, said he will take a break for a couple of months to return to his academic pursuits and privately mourn the violent death of his son in 2011.

Sicilia told reporters here after an appearance before the U.S. Senate on Wednesday that he will not participate for the time being in the activities of the MPJD, made up of dozens of relatives of victims of drug-related violence in Mexico.

"I'm going away for a couple of months and then I'll come back, and I'll be a part of the movement in another way, but I'll be there," Sicilia said at the conclusion of his movement's peace caravan in the United States.

The poet said he is "very tired" after a very difficult year and a half in which he has had to confront the pain caused by the death of his son in March 2011 and the "inefficiency of the Mexican state, which at the end of the day allowed and brought about that death with its policy of war" on drug cartels.




Mexican marines capture Gulf cartel's top boss


Jorge Eduardo Costilla Sanchez, the Gulf drug cartel's top boss and one of the most-wanted men in Mexico and the United States, was captured by marines with no resistance, the Navy Secretariat said.

Costilla Sanchez, known as "El Coss," was arrested Wednesday at a house in Tampico, a port city in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, thanks to naval intelligence work and information obtained from two Gulf cartel members arrested recently, navy spokesman Rear Adm. Jose Luis Vergara said.

The suspect "headed the Gulf cartel, considered the country's second most powerful criminal organization," Vergara said.




10 Injured in fight at Puerto Rican prison


At least 10 inmates were injured in a fight at the Bayamon Regional Prison in the San Juan metropolitan area, Puerto Rican Department of Corrections spokeswoman Damarisse Martinez said.

The inmates were hurt in an incident inside Building 4 of the penitentiary, but the cause of the fight has not been determined, Martinez said.

Three of the injured prisoners were taken to the San Juan Medical Center, Martinez said, without providing details on their condition.

Established security protocols were followed and the situation was brought under control at the prison, the Department of Corrections spokeswoman said.




Army captures 3 rebels in southern Peru


Three suspected guerrillas were captured by army troops in Huancavelica, a region in southern Peru, the Armed Forces Joint Command said.

The men, who are all related, were detained early Wednesday at a house outside Tintay Puncu, a district in Tayacaja province, and had ammunition and communications gear.

The suspected rebels had 7.62 mm ammunition for FAL rifles, three hand grenades, a Motorola radio, guerrilla training materials, medicines and other equipment.

The suspects and the property seized in the raid were turned over to prosecutors, the command said in a statement.




Spain's King Juan Carlos meets with Ibero-American official


Spain's King Juan Carlos met with Ibero-American Secretary-General Enrique Iglesias to review the preparations for the Ibero-American Summit that will be held in Cadiz in mid-November.

At the summit, cooperation among the countries of the region will be adjusted to fit the new realities of the international environment.

King Juan Carlos welcomed Iglesias to the royal residence at Zarzuela Palace, calling him "my good friend," and later the pair conversed behind closed doors about the organization of the Cadiz summit and the prospects for Ibero-America.