Brazilian who shot 3 people surrenders to police

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A mentally disturbed man who shot and wounded three people here in Brazil's largest city surrendered to police after a siege of almost nine hours.

Around 30 police officers surrounded Fernando Gouveia's home in Sao Paulo's Aclimação neighborhood as authorities continued urging the shooter to give himself up.

The 32-year-old Gouveia, who suffers from schizophrenia, shot a judicial official, psychologist and nurse who came to his home Thursday morning to enforce a court order committing him to a psychiatric hospital, police said.

The three shooting victims were listed in stable condition at a nearby hospital, the municipal health department said.

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Spain says no urgent need to tap EU rescue funds

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Spain's government said it is not in urgent need of a financial rescue from its European partners and that it will wait until the European Central Bank has clearly worked out its bond-buying scheme before making a decision.

Spanish officials delivered that message Thursday in Brussels, where Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is taking part in a meeting of the European Council, the EU's executive arm.

The country's delegation at the summit, which began Thursday, said a hypothetical sovereign bailout request is not on the agenda and that instead Spain wants to make progress toward implementing agreements reached in June with other euro-zone members, including plans for a European banking union.

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Latino Catholics favor Obama, evangelicals divided

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The Latino vote varies according to religion: while Catholics and people without religious affiliation overwhelmingly support President Barack Obama, Hispanic evangelicals are divided, according to a report released by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

That division exists also on support for same-sex marriage, with 52 percent of Hispanics in general in favor and 66 percent of Latino evangelicals opposed.

Support for the incumbent Democratic president is overwhelming among Hispanics without any religious affiliation, who back Obama over rival Republican Mitt Romney by 82 percent to 7 percent.

Among Latino Catholics, 73 percent say they support the Democratic candidate and 19 percent the Republican.

Out of every 10 evangelical Protestants surveyed by Pew, five support Obama and four favor Romney.

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Colombian peace process launched

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The Colombian government and leftist FARC guerrillas met here to formally inaugurate a peace process aimed at ending nearly five decades of internal strife.

Both parties agreed to hold another preparatory meeting in Cuba on Nov. 5 before initiating the dialogue 10 days later, Abel Garcia said on behalf of the government of Cuba, which - along with Norway - is acting as a facilitator for the process.

At the beginning of a meeting attended by five Colombian government representatives, five members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, and four Norwegian and Cuban mediators, the head of the peace and reconciliation department of Norway's foreign ministry, Tone Allers, praised the effort being made by the parties.

The head of the negotiating team for the Colombian government, former Vice President Humberto de la Calle, on Thursday invited the FARC to make a "mutual effort" to end the conflict.

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Amid rumors of health problems, Fidel Castro congratulates grads

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Fidel Castro's signature appeared once again in the Cuban press when he published a congratulatory message directed to an academic institution.

"Fidel's Message" to graduates of Havana's Victoria de Giron Institute of Basic and Preclinical Sciences appeared on the cover of the official dailies Granma and Juventud Rebelde and comes after days of rumors concerning a decline in the former president's health.

Castro's missive was also the lead story on Wednesday night's newscast on state-run television and appears on the government Web site Cubadebate.

It has been almost four months since the 86-year-old leader of the Cuban Revolution last published one of his "Reflections," the articles he began writing during his convalescence from the serious illness that forced him to hand over power to younger brother Raul Castro in 2006.

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7 Mexican federal officials arrested for cartel links

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Mexican authorities announced the arrest of seven federal government employees who allegedly aided and abetted the Sinaloa drug cartel, headed by notorious fugitive Joaquin "El Chapo" (Shorty) Guzman.

In a press conference Wednesday, the head of the Seido organized crime unit of the Attorney General's Office, Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas, said three of the detainees worked for Seido and another for the Supreme Court.

He only identified two of the suspects: Supreme Court employee Juan Carlos de la Barrera Vite and the Seido's Manuel Arroyo Hernandez, who, according to two protected witnesses, told the cartel he had a close relationship with Attorney General Marisela Morales.

"It's obvious that's a lie," Salinas said, noting that corrupt public servants often claim to have close ties with top public officials and access to privileged information.

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11 Dead, 10 missing in Peru mudslide

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Peruvian authorities recovered 11 bodies after a mudslide swept through a village in the northern Peruvian jungle region of San Martin, while 10 others remain missing.

The Indeci emergency management agency said a team of rescue personnel, including army soldiers and local residents, were searching for the other 10 people.

Another three injured people were taken to a hospital in Tarapoto, the region's largest city.

Wednesday's mudslide also destroyed 10 homes and a pedestrian bridge and caused 600 meters (1,967 feet) of water pipes to collapse.

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People smuggler linked to Mexico massacre sentenced in Ecuador

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A people smuggler convicted of organizing the trip to Mexico by Fredy Lala Pomavilla, a survivor of the 2010 massacre of 72 migrants at a ranch near the U.S. border, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in Ecuador, the Attorney General's Office said.

Jose Arcesio Vasquez Marin, who still has another court case pending for the same crime, also must pay an $8,790 fine and another still-undetermined sum for damages.

The court in the central Ecuadorian province of Cañar sentenced Vasquez Marin to 12 years for people smuggling with the aggravated circumstance of "physical and psychological injury caused" to the Ecuadorian migrant.

Lala Pomavilla, his wife, his father, a Judicial Police officer and a doctor all testified in court against Vasquez even though the Interior Ministry said some of the witnesses had received death threats from the defendant.

The massacre occurred at a ranch in the northern Mexican municipality of San Fernando in August 2010, when a large group of migrants were abducted from buses and shot execution-style.

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EFE