Madrid in contact with Cuba on Spaniard sentenced to jail


Spain's Foreign Ministry is in contact with Cuban authorities with the aim of quickly repatriating Spanish citizen Angel Carromero, who was sentenced to four years in jail for a car crash that claimed the lives of prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya and an associate, officials here told Efe.

Carromero, the 27-year-old leader of a youth group in Spain's governing Popular Party, was convicted of negligent homicide.

The sentence has opened a new scenario and all options will be studied with the Cuban authorities, sources in the Spanish Foreign Ministry said.

The Spanish government can seek the application of the 1998 bilateral accord that would allow Carromero to serve his sentence in Spain.

Now that the sentence is known, it is up to the governments to "hold talks so the repatriation can take place as quickly as possible," Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo said last week.




Mexican president-elect seeks to boost trade, historical ties with Spain


Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto said in Madrid that he wanted to "reinforce the historical links" with Spain, expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

Peña Nieto, who takes office on Dec. 1 and is on a tour of several European capitals, met with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Juan Carlos I.

"Spain is our second most important trade partner in the European Union, and the No. 1 investor country, with more than $45 billion, but this relationship still has much to give both peoples," Peña Nieto said.

The Mexican president-elect delivered an address to business leaders, offering Spain the support and assistance of his incoming administration in dealing with the economic crisis.




60 Hurt in crackdown on protesting students in Mexico


Around 60 people were hurt and more than 100 arrested when Mexican federal police stormed three schools in the western state of Michoacan where students were holding dozens of commandeered vehicles, authorities said.

While state interior minister Jesus Reyna Garcia told reporters that 120 students were taken into custody, unofficial accounts put the figure at more than 300.

The injured include both police and students, paramedics said.

Launched in the pre-dawn hours, the police operation was aimed at recovering the more than 50 buses and delivery trucks seized on Oct. 4 and taken to three normal schools in an area of Michoacan populated by Purepecha Indians.

Students took the vehicles as part of protests against changes to the curriculum at Mexico's normal schools. Those institutions - once common in both Europe and the Americas - prepare young people for careers in teaching.




Mexican authorities take down Zetas cartel cell


A 16-person Zetas drug cartel cell that sold 4,000 doses of cocaine a week was dismantled by authorities in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, security officials said.

The suspects sold the drugs in Monterrey, the state capital, Nuevo Leon Security Council spokesman Jorge Domene said in a press conference.

"The main drug dealing operations conducted by these suspects took place in the areas of Santa Catarina, Apodaca, San Nicolas and Garcia," all cities in the Monterrey metropolitan area, Domene said.

The suspects, who include two women and three minors, confessed that they participated in at least four murders and several kidnappings, Domene said.




2 Die in rebel bombing in Colombia


Two people were killed and four others injured when FARC guerrillas set off a bomb in the oil-rich eastern province of Arauca, the Colombian army said.

The attack was carried out Sunday night by the 10th Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the army's 18th Brigade said in a statement.

Rebels detonated "an explosive device of great power about 50 meters (164 feet) from a bridge" leading into the hamlet of Puerto Jordan, the military said.

Killed in the blast were a man and his 3-year-old son, while two other adults and two minors were hurt.




More than 420,000 people have left Spain so far this year


A total of 420,150 people moved out of Spain in the first nine months of this year, including 54,912 Spanish citizens, the National Statistics Institute, or INE, said.

The figures show that in the first nine months of this year, 37,539 more people left Spain than during the same period in 2011, that increase being primarily due to the emigration of Spanish citizens.

The number of Spaniards emigrating increased by 21.6 percent, or 54,912 people, surpassing the 45,161 people who left between January and September 2011, according to INE estimates.

A total of 137,628 more people left Spain than entered the country in the first nine months of 2012.

That figure had been positive - meaning that more people were entering the country than leaving - in 2009 and 2010, but in 2011 it turned negative, with 50,090 leaving.




13 Homicides over the weekend in Puerto Rico


A total of 13 homicides were reported in Puerto Rico over the weekend, police on the Caribbean island said.

Jose Santiago Gonzalez, 40, died in a drive-by shooting at the Panaderia Las Cumbres bakery in the San Juan suburb of Bayamon. Wounded in the attack was 22-year-old Hector Rivera, who was taken by ambulance to San Juan Medical Center in serious condition.

The most recent murder occurred Sunday night in front of a store in Toa Alta, a city in the north-central part of the island. A police report identified the victim as Jason Domenech Luna, 30, who was fatally shot.




Colombian hooker at center of Secret Service scandal writes book


Dania Londoño, the Colombian prostitute at the center of a sex scandal involving U.S. Secret Service agents, is putting the finishing touches on a book about the incident that is soon to be published in Colombia, Semana magazine reported.

"Room Service," the working title of the book, recounts the young woman's life up to the time she became a prostitute, and then gained notoriety for the scandal involving an advance team of agents preparing the way for U.S. President Barack Obama's arrival at the 6th Summit of the Americas in Cartagena last April.

After the scandal, the Colombian admitted she accepted having sex with one of the agents, whose name she said she doesn't remember, for $800, though she said that "the man slept all night."

The next day the scandal broke when Londoño complained out loud in the exclusive Cartagena hotel that her client didn't pay her the amount agreed on.




Army kills 16 in shootouts in Mexico


Army troops killed 16 suspected criminals in three shootouts in the Mexican states of Veracruz and Tamaulipas over the weekend, the Defense Secretariat said.

The first shootout occurred Saturday night in Panuco, a city in the eastern state of Veracruz, where soldiers taking part in "Operation Safe Veracruz" clashed with suspected criminals.

The soldiers, who were on patrol, spotted a group of armed individuals and engaged them in a gunfight, killing 10 of the suspects, the secretariat said in a statement.

Soldiers deployed in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, meanwhile, engaged in two shootouts that left six people dead.

Army troops patrolling the Victoria-Matamoros highway were attacked Saturday night in the city of San Fernando and returned fire, killing three assailants, the secretariat said.

Three other gunmen were killed in a shootout with soldiers early Sunday in Nuevo Laredo, located across the Rio Grande from Laredo, Texas, the secretariat said.