Police find 8 bodies in central Mexico


Eight bodies, six of them naked and "with signs of torture," were found by municipal police officers in Ecatepec, a city in Mexico state, prosecutors said.

"Around 2:00 a.m. local time, the discovery of the bodies of two males was reported in the streets of the San Andres de la Cañada neighborhood," the Mexico state Attorney General's Office said.

Six more bodies were found at 6:30 a.m. between Petroleos Mexicanos avenue and John F. Kennedy street in the Obrera Jajalpa district.

Investigators presume that the killings are linked to organized crime because of the way the victims were murdered, but no messages were left with the bodies, city officials said.




Sandy causes "terrible" damage in Cuba


Cuban authorities vowed to repair all the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy as it passed over the eastern provinces of Santiago de Cuba and Holguin.

The Category 2 storm made landfall in Cuba in the wee hours of Thursday with maximum sustained winds of 175 kph (109 mph) and gusts of up to 190 kph (118 mph).

Sandy is blamed for one death each in Haiti and Jamaica, but no storm-related fatalities have been reported so far in Cuba, though the island's official media described the material damage as "terrible."

"The destruction is enormous in Santiago de Cuba, many homes knocked down, there are hundreds; many trees on the ground, parks destroyed," pro-government blogger Yohandry Fontana said on Twitter.




Ford to accelerate European restructuring


U.S. automaker Ford said it will accelerate its European restructuring process, outlining plans to shut down three facilities and cut jobs.

In a statement from its European headquarters in Cologne, Germany, Ford said its new strategy will focus on new products, a strong brand and increased cost efficiencies "to achieve profitable growth in its European operations."

The new restructuring measures include the planned closure in 2013 of two factories in England - an assembly plant in Southampton and stamping and tooling operations in Dagenham.

Ford also plans to cease production at an assembly plant in Genk, Belgium, by the end of 2014, "pending confirmation following completion of a consultation process" with the unions.

Those three facilities currently employ 5,700 people, it said.




Mexican federal judge removed from bench over cartel ties


A federal judge whose rulings were questioned for favoring drug traffickers has been removed from the bench by Mexico's judicial oversight agency, officials said.

Judge Efrain Cazares Lopez was removed from his post on Wednesday "for having committed serious mistakes in his judicial work," the Federal Judiciary Council, or CJF, said.

Cazares was a federal district judge in the western state of Michoacan and lived in the city of Morelia. The decision to remove him is not final "because given the nature of the punishment, it can be appealed to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation," the CJF said in a statement.




Mexican activist's son names his mother's killer


Juan Frayre Escobedo, the son of slain Mexican human rights activist Marisela Escobedo, said his mother was murdered by Antonio Barraza, brother of Sergio Barraza, who is accused of murdering Frayre Escobedo's sister, Rubi.

"My mother's killer is the brother of the man who murdered Rubi, and we have told the authorities again and again. We do not know why they prefer to present a scapegoat instead of arresting the real killer," Frayre Escobedo said in a press conference Wednesday in El Paso, Texas.

Marisela Escobedo was murdered on Dec. 16, 2010, in front of the Governor's Palace in Chihuahua city, the capital of the like-named northern Mexican state.

The Barraza brothers are members of Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent drug cartel, Frayre Escobedo said, adding that he was threatened by Antonio Barraza outside an El Paso shopping center.




Sandoval, Zito lead Giants to Game 1 victory


Third baseman Pablo Sandoval tied a World Series record with three home runs and Barry Zito outpitched Justin Verlander to lead the San Francisco Giants to an 8-3 win here over the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of the World Series.

Sandoval, affectionately known as "Kung Fu Panda," belted a solo homer to center field in the first inning and a two-run shot to left field in the bottom of the third in Wednesday night's game to stun Verlander, who exited after four innings and had his first poor outing of the 2012 postseason.

He later drove a pitch by reliever Al Alburquerque over the wall in center field in the bottom of the fifth.

His historic performance made him just the fourth player in baseball history to hit three home runs in a World Series game, joining Hall of Famers Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson and three-time MVP Albert Pujols.