Mexican president confirms drug lord's killing


Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, the top boss of the Los Zetas drug cartel, was killed in a shootout with marines in Coahuila state, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said.

The government has now captured or killed 25 of Mexico's 37 most dangerous criminals, the president said.

Information provided by the marines corps shows that Lazcano was "killed while resisting the authorities in an operation" in Progreso, a city in northeast Mexico, Calderon said during the inauguration of a prison in Guanajuato.

The Navy Secretariat has not yet confirmed that the man killed in Sunday's shootout was the Zetas boss, but it said the body fit the description of the drug lord and matched information available about him.




Puerto Rico gov't acknowledges dengue fever epidemic


Puerto Rico's health secretary acknowledged that an epidemic of dengue fever exists on the Caribbean island, where six people have died of the virus so far this year.

Lorenzo Gonzalez told WQK radio that a dengue epidemic was declared in Puerto Rico based on the latest figures provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC's latest dengue report for the week of Sept. 9-15 said that 342 cases have been reported, a number above the epidemic threshold, the health secretary said.

He said that so far this year six deaths have been reported out of 21 cases of dengue hemorrhagic fever, the most severe form of the illness.




Brazil deploys 7,500 troops on borders with Bolivia, Peru


The Brazilian government announced the launch of a vast operation along its borders with Bolivia and Peru, in which 7,500 soldiers will carry out combat missions for two weeks against drug trafficking and other criminal activities.

Peruvian and Bolivian authorities were previously notified about the operation and were invited to send observers as part of border cooperation plans that exist with both countries, Defense Minister Celso Amorim said in a statement.

The troops in Operation Agata 6 will have the support of fighter-bombers, combat helicopters, patrol boats and armored cars deployed along the 4,216 kilometers (2,620 miles) of the country's Amazon region borders with Peru and Bolivia.

Besides carrying out border security duties, the troops will also perform a number of social missions, above all in the field of health care.




Brazilian political heavyweight found guilty of corruption


The man who spent two decades as the political right arm of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was found guilty here in a corruption case dubbed Brazil's "trial of the century."

Six of the 10 Supreme Court justices voted to convict Jose Dirceu, Lula's chief of staff, and former Workers Party, or PT, chairman Jose Genoino in connection with bribes paid to lawmakers in 2003-2005.

While Dirceu has been out of public life for several years, Genoino is currently an adviser to the Defense Ministry.

At Lula's side from the founding of the PT in the early 1980s, Dirceu managed the former union leader's successful 2002 presidential campaign and became his top aide in office.

Dirceu, once seen as the natural successor to Lula, was forced to resign as chief of staff in the summer of 2005 after lawmaker Roberto Jefferson accused the PT of having bribed legislators of other parties to build the congressional majority that the government failed to obtain at the polls in 2002.




Guatemalan seeks charges against pres. for protesters' deaths


A Guatemalan opposition party filed a formal criminal complaint against President Otto Perez Molina and other top officials for the deaths of eight protesters at the hands of the army.

Last Thursday's killings in the western province of Totonicapan amounted to extrajudicial executions, Democratic Liberty party lawmaker Edgar Ajcip said.

He said that his party, which assembled witness accounts of the incident, wants the people who ordered troops to the scene held accountable, not just the soldiers who fired the fatal shots.

Hundreds of people mobilized early last Thursday to block the Interamerican highway at six different points in Totonicapan province.




Man carrying explosives and bomb manual arrested in Spanish capital


A Spanish man carrying potentially explosive substances and a bomb-making manual was arrested in Madrid, police said.

Maps and plans for different sites in the capital were found in the suspect's possession, police said.

The 48-year-old man, identified only as Alberto R. M., was staying at a downtown Madrid hostel, whose manager notified authorities that he was acting suspiciously.

Officers found documents about explosives and various quantities of potassium nitrate, sulfur and coal powder, with some of the substances mixed in a 1.5-liter bottle.

The establishment was placed under surveillance and officers spotted an individual "who may have his mental faculties altered," police said.




Pope dismisses Chile bishop accused of sexually abusing minor


Pope Benedict XVI has dismissed the bishop of the Chilean diocese of Iquique, under investigated because of his reported sexual abuse of a minor, the Vatican said.

"The Holy Father has accepted the resignation of the pastoral government of Iquique diocese, presented by Msgr. Marco Antonio Ordenes Fernandez, on the basis of Article 401/2 of Canon Law," the Vatican said in a communique.

This is the formula used by the Holy See when it requests a prelate to hand in his resignation.

Article 401/2 says that a bishop offers his resignation to the pope "if his ability to fulfill his duties is diminished by illness or any other grave cause."

Ordenes Fernandez, 47, is Chile's youngest bishop. Iquique is a city of 180,000 people nearly 1,800 kilometers (1,120 miles) north de Santiago.

A man reported having sexual relations with the bishop when he was a minor. The prelate acknowledged those relations to a Chilean newspaper, but said the youth was not underage.




Judge clears former Colombian beauty queen in corruption case


A Colombian judge declared the country's former beauty queen and actress Valerie Dominguez innocent of involvement in the embezzling of millions in agricultural subsidies.

The judge said the beauty was "used" by her ex-boyfriend Juan Manuel Davila, a member of a family in the northern part of the country plunged in a corruption scandal involving the illicit awarding of substantial, non-refundable agricultural subsidies.

Valerie "knows nothing about farming" while her ex-boyfriend was "an expert" on the subject, the judge said.

"Ingenuous...unsuspecting...enamored," the one-time beauty queen "knew nothing while he knew everything," the judge said.

"He didn't want to lose the subsidy," and to keep his hands on it he "used his ingenuous, unsuspecting and enamored girlfriend," the judge said.