2 Missing, no confirmed dead in U.S. oil rig blast


Two people remained missing after an explosion on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

The Coast Guard's initial report mentioned two fatalities, but officials said later that there were no confirmed deaths from the disaster on the platform, which lies in shallow water around 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Grande Isle, Louisiana.

Fifteen of the 22 workers present at the time of the blast suffered injuries, including four who were critically hurt and had to be taken by helicopter to a hospital in Louisiana.

The officer directing the Coast Guard response, Ed Cubanski, said the search for the two missing workers continues with three helicopters and two rescue boats.




Mexican left wants answers on top prosecutor's resignation


The government needs to provide a more detailed explanation of the sudden resignation of the head of the organized-crime division of the Attorney General's Office, the leader of Mexico's main leftist party said.

The AG's office announced Thursday that Jose Cuitlahuac Salinas was stepping down for "reasons of a strictly personal nature."

Salinas spent a year in the post, which plays a key role in the Mexican government's battle with powerful drug cartels. "It is worrisome that this departure occurs" just two weeks from the end of President Felipe Calderon's six-year term, PRD party chairman Jesus Zambrano said Friday.

Complaining of the lack of "sufficient information" about Salinas' resignation, Zambrano cited "extraofficial" accounts that the now-former deputy attorney general was being investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.




Gangland violence continues in southeast Brazil


Violence blamed on a powerful organized crime outfit claimed five more lives in and around this Brazilian megalopolis, authorities said.

The most heinous incident involved two gunmen on a motorcycle who fired indiscriminately at pedestrians in Sao Paulo, striking a woman and her 1-year-old son. The boy died and his mother remains hospitalized, police said.

Four other people perished in similar attacks in three different Sao Paulo neighborhoods and suburban Guarulhos.

More than 250 murders have been committed since the start of October in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city and financial capital, according to media tallies based on police records.




Argentine oil firm to invest $3.1 bn in southern province


Argentine oil company YPF, under state control after a 51 percent stake was expropriated from Spain's Repsol, said it plans to invest $3.1 billion over the next five years in the southern province of Santa Cruz.

The company pledged that level of investment after reaching a deal with the provincial government to extend concession periods in some areas.

"The accord guarantees a longer-term horizon with record investment and lasting sources of employment, as well as increased tax revenue for the province," YPF said in a statement Thursday.

The agreement stipulates that the company's investment outlay in Santa Cruz, one of Argentina's leading oil-producing provinces, will exceed "$3.1 billion over the next five years, thereby doubling YPF's average (annual) investment in the province during the past five years," the statement said.




Posey, Cabrera win MVP awards


San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey and Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera captured Most Valuable Player honors in the National League and American League, respectively.

Posey, 25, became the eighth National League catcher to win the award and the first since Cincinnati Reds star Johnnie Bench in 1972.

The 29-year-old Cabrera, a Venezuelan-born slugger, won the MVP after becoming the first player since the Boston Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to win baseball's elusive Triple Crown, leading the league in batting average, home runs and RBI.

For the season, Cabrera hit .330, smacked 44 home runs and had 139 RBI and was a big part of the Tigers' run to the World Series.




Jesse & Joy the big winners at Latin Grammys


Mexican brother-sister duo Jesse & Joy were the big winners in the 13th edition of the Latin Grammy Awards, taking home four prizes, while Colombian pop star Juanes came away with album of the year.

Jesse & Joy won in the record of the year and song of the year categories with their hit "Corre!" (Run!) and their CD "Con quien se queda el perro?" (Who's the Dog Staying With?) captured best contemporary pop vocal album.

The Mexico City duo, who won their first Latin Grammy in 2007 as best new artist, also won a trophy for best short form music video for "Me voy" (I'm going).

Juanes, meanwhile, came up short most of the night but he grabbed album of the year for "MTV Unplugged" as Thursday night's awards ceremony at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center was drawing to a close.