BP to pay $4.5 billion for Gulf oil spill


BP Plc announced that it reached agreement with the U.S. government to pay $4.5 billion for the explosion of an oil drilling platform and the subsequent spilling 4.9 million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010.

The Britain-based oil giant will also plead guilty to several criminal charges for the deaths of 11 workers in the blast aboard the Deepwater Horizon.

"All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf coast region," Bob Dudley, BP's Group Chief Executive, said in a statement.

BP also said that it will add $3.85 billion to the reserve it had created with $38.1 billion to handle civil claims resulting from the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.




Marco Rubio pushes for legal immigration system


GOP Sen. Marco Rubio pushed for legal immigrantion to this country, called for prudence in the possible regularization of the status of millions of undocumented foreigners already living here and urged a permanent solution for people brought here illegally as children.

The Cuban American from Florida, a rising figure in the Republican Party, emphasized that "the issue of kids that are in this country undocumented is not an immigration issue, it's a humanitarian one."

The young immigrants in that situation are commonly referred to as "DREAMers," because the long-stalled DREAM Act is aimed at providing them with a path toward legalization.




Xi Jinping is new leader of China's ruling Communists


The Central Committee of China's Communist Party designated Xi Jinping its new general secretary, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The decision means that Xi, 59, will assume the presidency of China in March 2013, succeeding Hu Jintao, who on Thursday leaves his party leadership posts, the first step in the transition from the fourth generation of communist rulers to the fifth.

The naming of Xi as the party's new president has been expected for months, and on Thursday it was announced that he will also be president of the Central Military Commission, the entity that oversees the armed forces of the Asian giant.




Spain calls in British envoy over Gibraltar incidents


Spain's foreign ministry summoned Britain's ambassador in Madrid to register a formal complaint about recent frictions in the waters around Gibraltar, the British Crown Colony at the southern tip of the Iberian peninsula.

Giles Paxman was called in before the British Foreign Office's summons to the Spanish envoy in London, officials here told Efe.

The British government expressed displeasure about "incursions" by Spanish vessels boats in Gibraltarian waters.

Paxman was told in Madrid, meanwhile, that "Spanish fishermen will continue fishing in Spanish waters," the foreign ministry said.




Pele leaves hospital following hip surgery


Soccer icon Pele was discharged from a hospital here in Brazil's largest city five days after undergoing hip surgery.

The 72-year-old Edson Arantes do Nascimento emerged from Sao Paulo's Albert Einstein Hospital to tell reporters, with tears in his eyes, that he "did not imagine" the Brazilian people would be so concerned about him.

Surgeons performed an arthroplasty procedure on Pele's right hip last weekend.




Mexico drops corruption case against former governor


Former Chiapas state Gov. Pablo Salazar Mendiguchia said that a Mexican federal judge threw out corruption charges against him and 54 other people who served in his 2000-2006 administration.

"We are completely free," he said in a statement.

Salazar Mendiguchia was arrested in June 2011 on suspicion that he and dozens of aides misappropriated 104 million pesos ($8.6 million) from the coffers of the impoverished southern state.

The former governor, who was living in the resort city of Cancun at the time of his detention, spent 15 months in several different jails before being granted house arrest in September on health grounds.




Suspect nabbed in massacre of 10 farmworkers in Colombia


Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said the regional chief of the Los Rastrojos drug gang was captured in connection with the massacre earlier this month of 10 farmworkers in northwestern Colombia.

Oscar Dario Barrientos, 27, was arrested along with two of his associates in a rural area of Santa Rosa de Osos, the municipality where the massacre was carried out on Nov. 7.

"This individual was the head of that criminal structure that went and killed these 10 peasants, and directly participated in this massacre," Pinzon said in a press conference in Bogota.

The victims, including a woman, were fruit-pickers at a tamarillo farm who were killed after the owner refused to pay protection money, according to investigators.




12 Killed in violence in southeast Brazil


At least 12 people were killed and 15 others shot and wounded in recent hours in the southeastern Brazilian state of Sao Paulo, while the recent uptick of violence in the southern state of Santa Catarina continued with the torching of eight buses.

Seven of the homicides occurred in Greater Sao Paulo, according to police reports cited Thursday by local media.

The other five killings occurred in Araraquara, a city 270 kilometers (170 miles) from Sao Paulo, in two separate attacks Wednesday night targeting a group of people walking on the street and customers at a bar.

In metropolitan Sao Paulo, at least three police also were shot and wounded, two in attacks on off-duty officers in their respective vehicles and the third in a robbery at a bar.




Strong earthquake rattles Mexico


A magnitude 6.1 earthquake shook southern Mexico and was felt strongly in this capital, although there were no immediate reports of casualties or serious damage, officials said.

The epicenter of the temblor, which struck at 3:20 a.m., was located in a sparsely populated, mountainous area southeast of the town of Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero state, the National Seismological Service, or SSN, said.

Twenty minutes after the initial temblor, which occurred at a depth of 40 kilometers (25 miles), the SSN detected a magnitude 4.1 aftershock.