Obama urges Congress to pass immigration reform

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President Barack Obama urged Congress to approve immigration reform that will allow a path to the legalization of undocumented migrants' status.

"We need to seize the moment," he said at his first press conference since winning reelection, thanks in part to 70 percent support among Hispanic voters.

Obama said that immigration reform must include strengthening border security, fines for companies that hire undocumented foreigners and the legalization of those who have no criminal records and fulfill other requirements.

The president said that he hopes to see an immigration reform bill introduced in Congress "very soon" after his second inauguration in January.

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Majority in U.S. support legalization of undocumented immigrants, poll shows

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Americans support a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States by 57 percent to 39 percent, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released.

Approval for the idea among Hispanics was 82 percent, compared with 51 percent among non-Latino whites.

More than seven out of every 10 Democrats agree with the measures, along with 69 percent of young adults.

The telephone survey was conducted between Nov. 7-11 among 1,023 adults nationwide and it has an error margin of plus/minus 3.5 percentage points.

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Brazilian economy showing signs of weakness

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The Brazilian economy shrank by 0.52 percent in September compared with August, the biggest one-month decline in almost a year, the central bank said.

The central bank's IBC-Br index of economic activity, seen as a reliable predictor of GDP movement, fell for the first time since March, from 143.34 points to 142.59.

September's IBC-Br reading cast doubt on the government's forecast that GDP will grow 2 percent this year despite a gain of only 0.6 percent in the first quarter.

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Spaniards stage anti-austerity strike

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A general strike was held in Spain to protest austerity measures implemented by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government.

Labor unions described the turnout for the second general strike since Rajoy took office last December as "massive," while government spokespersons said roughly three dozen people were injured.

The labor federations behind the protests - the CCOO, UGT and USO - said more than 80 percent of workers had heeded the strike during the night shift and in the early hours of Wednesday.

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Mexico's incoming president proposes anti-corruption commission

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President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto announced that he will soon send to Mexico's Congress a pair of bills to create a National Anti-corruption Commission and to shift responsibility for public safety back to the interior ministry.

Peña Nieto said that both proposals seek to improve the effectiveness of the public administration and fight corruption "at all levels of government."

The president-elect, who will take office on Dec. 1, said that his aim is to reduce from 18 to 16 the number of Cabinet-level departments.

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6 Dead in shooting at Mexico wedding

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At least six people were killed and two others were wounded by gunfire during and after a wedding party in the western Mexican town of Salvador Escalante, officials said.

The sons of the town's police chief have been detained in the killings, according to local media, while officials said three people wounded at the scene were finished off while being taken to a hospital.

The government secretary of Michoacan state, Jesus Reyna, told reporters there is no sign the killings were the work of organized crime.

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10 Die in helicopter crash in Iran

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Ten people were killed when an Iranian air force helicopter crashed while on a rescue mission in the northeastern city of Mashhad, the Isna news agency said.

The chopper was on its way back to Mashhad, Iran's second-largest city, after a trip to the Malek Abad area to pick up people injured in a van accident.

Flying in dense fog at around 7:00 a.m., the aircraft collided with a high-tension wire and plunged to the ground near a shopping center in Mashhad's Gein Arab neighborhood.

The helicopter was carrying five accident victims, a paramedic and a crew of four.

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Mexican actress Lucero selected Star of the Year by People en Español

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Mexican actress Lucero was selected Star of the Year by People en Español magazine, which devotes the cover of its special 2012 "Best and Worst" edition to her.

A smiling Lucero, who is also a singer, was photographed in a striking purple outfit for the December-January edition of the magazine, to which she confessed that she is in love.

People en Español also selected Puerto Rican journalist Maria Celeste Arraras as Newscaster of the Year, Mexican actor Eugenio Siller, the star of "A Maid in Manhattan," as Actor of the Year and Galilea Montijo, also from Mexico, as Host of 2012.

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EFE