Brazil's Petrobras makes new offshore oil find


Brazilian state-controlled energy giant Petrobras said it struck light oil at a well in ultra-deep waters of the Sergipe-Alagoas basin.

The new find was made at the BM-SEAL-11 block, a concession in which Petrobras is the operator with a 60 percent stake and partner IBV Brasil holds the remaining 40 percent.

The discovery was made at the Farfan well, which was drilled 109 kilometers (68 miles) off the coast of Aracaju, capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Sergipe, in an area of the Atlantic where the water depth is 2,720 meters (8,920 feet).

Petrobras, which operates in 28 countries on five continents, produces an average of roughly 2.6 million barrels per day of oil and natural gas equivalent at its domestic and foreign fields.




Managua blasts Colombia for intercepting Nicaraguan boat


Colombia has assumed a "hostile posture" toward a Nicaraguan civilian boat carrying out scientific research in Caribbean waters claimed by both nations, Nicaragua said.

"Nicaragua denounces this violation of national sovereignty as well as these kinds of unfriendly attitudes that violate the principles of international coexistence," foreign ministry legal adviser Cesar Vega said, reading from a prepared statement.

The government in Managua reacted to a claim by the Colombian navy that the Nicaraguan vessel, the MedePesca III, had entered Colombia's territorial waters and was refusing to withdraw.

The MedePesca III was operating around the islet of Quitasueño, one of six keys claimed by both Colombia and Nicaragua.




Mexico to evaluate its non-conventional oil and gas potential


Mexico plans to invest 3.13 billion pesos (some $242 million) in a project that will use state-of-the-art technology to assess the nation's prospective non-conventional oil and gas resources, the Energy Secretariat said.

The Mexican Petroleum Institute will carry out the project with the active participation of state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, at the Galaxia block in the Burgos basin and the Limonaria block in the Tampico-Misantla basin, both located in northeastern Mexico, the secretariat said in a statement.

The project will enable Mexico, one of the world's largest crude producers, to "organize areas with potential resources into a hierarchy and determine if these are oil or gas formations."

It also will involve "the conceptual design of well drilling and termination" with a view to causing the least possible environmental and social impact and achieving the highest profitability, as well as the training of specialized human resources in the field.




Mexican church, pres.-elect drafting plan to protest migrants


Members of Mexico's Catholic hierarchy are working with President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto's transition team on a plan to protect Central American migrants who pass through the country en route to the United States, a prominent activist priest said.

"The transition team demonstrated a great interest and determination" to ease the plight of migrants, the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde told Efe.

The priest, who runs a shelter for migrants in the southern state of Oaxaca, traveled to Mexico City to talk to federal officials and lawmakers about last week's abduction of 40 Central American migrants in the southern Gulf coast state of Veracruz.

An estimated 140,000 Central Americans undertake the hazardous journey across Mexico each year on their way to the United States. The already arduous journey is made more dangerous by the depredations of criminals and corrupt Mexican officials who prey on the migrants.




Death toll in Miami parking garage collapse rises to 3


Firefightersfound the body of one man underneath the rubble of the parking garage that collapsed in the Miami suburb of Doral, raising to three the number of known fatalities.

One worker still remains buried under tons of cement and rescue efforts are continuing.

"The chances that that person is alive are minimal, due to the amount of rubble," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesperson Griselle Marino told Efe.

A team of Fire Rescue specialists on Wednesday managed to extract one of the construction workers who had been trapped in the rubble, although to do so they had to amputate both his legs.




Son of slain Mexican activist says detained suspect "scapegoat"


The son of rights activist Marisela Escobedo, who was shot and killed in northern Mexico in 2010 while demanding justice for the murder of her daughter, said a suspect arrested in his mother's slaying is a "scapegoat."

Juan Frayre Escobedo, who fled to the U.S. city of El Paso after receiving death threats, said in a press conference Wednesday that the "real killer" is a U.S. citizen.

"My mother's brother was a witness to the murder and denounced him to the Attorney General's Office. We know he's an American," the activist's son said, although he did not reveal the identity of the purported killer and only added that he may be living in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez or in El Paso, Texas.

Referring to Jose Enrique Jimenez Zavala, who was presented last weekend by Chihuahua state authorities as Escobedo's suspected murderer, Frayre said he is a "scapegoat" and that he "may have been pressured into confessing to something that isn't true and solve the case."