Eurogroup chief: Aid to Spain banks to be disbursed next week


The 39.5 billion euros ($51 billion) Spain's euro-zone partners agreed to provide for recapitalizing four nationalized Spanish banks will be disbursed next week, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker said here.

"The implementation of the program is well on track, meeting all required conditionality steps as enshrined in the memorandum of understanding," the Luxembourg prime minister said after a meeting of euro-zone officials in Brussels.

"We have also welcomed the decision by the ESM (European Stability Mechanism) board of directors to authorize the first tranche of the program of up to 39.5 billion (euros). The disbursements will be made in mid next week," Juncker said.

The four nationalized Spanish banks will receive 36.97 billion euros in European aid.




Britain's Prince William to be a father


Britain's Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, are expecting their first child, St. James Palace announced.

The 30-year-old duchess of Cambridge, who is in the first stages of her pregnancy, was admitted to London's King Edward VII Hospital on Monday and will remain there for several days.

Her child will be third in line for the throne and will be Queen Elizabeth II's third great-grandchild.

Prince William, the second in line for the crown, married Middleton on April 29, 2011, in London.




Honduran police accused of murdering scores


The chancellor of the National Autonomous University of Honduras, or Unah, reported that at least 149 people have been murdered by members of the National Police over the past 23 months.

"Some 149 people have been murdered in the last 23 months by the Police," Julieta Castellanos said during the presentation of a report by Unah's Violence Observatory.

Of the total number of people who have died at the hands of the police, 92 perished in 2011, among them the chancellor's son, Rafael Vargas Castellanos, and a friend of his, and the other 57 have died so far in 2012, she said.

"It's an alarming figure that the Police themselves are those who are murdering people in this country, Castellanos said, demanding that authorities continue the process of purging the Police begun in November 2011 after the murder of her son and his friend.




CNN Latino to debut in January


CNN increases its programming for the U.S. Hispanic audience with the launch in late January of CNN Latino, a content service designed with broadcast stations in mind.

"CNN Latino is a channel of variety shows and news programs, a channel that goes beyond just broadcasting the news," Cynthia Hudson, executive vice president and general manager of CNN en Español, told Efe.

She said CNN Latino will premier late next month on KBEH-DT Channel 63 in Los Angeles, reaching 14 million people with eight hours per day of news and other programming.

Hudson said CNN en Español and CNN Latino complement each other, since the first is a cable news channel, while the second will be an open network serving "the tremendous growth of the Latino market, especially in purchasing power."




2 Saudi warplanes crash during training flights


Two military planes crashed during training flights in eastern and northern Saudi Arabia, the Defense Ministry said.

The first plane - an F-15C - went down Sunday in Saudi Arabia's territorial waters in the Persian Gulf and searchers are still looking for the pilot, the ministry said.

The second plane was a Hawk jet trainer that crashed in the northern area of Tabuk when it experienced technical problems while landing. The pilot ejected from the plane and survived the accident.




Colombian armed forces kill dozens of rebels in bombardment of camp


Dozens of guerrillas from the Mariscal Sucre unit of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group died in the military bombardment of a camp in Nariño province, army spokesman Col. Luis Emilio Cardoso said.

At least 20 rebels died in the raid, media reports said.

Cardoso, however, said the Attorney General's Office was in charge of removing the bodies and had not yet released a body count.

The bombardment occurred on Saturday night outside Ricaurte, a city in southwestern Colombia near the border with Ecuador, Cardoso said.

The death toll from the bombardment is at least 20, army Brig. Gen. Jorge Alberto Segura told Caracol Radio.

Last week, the first round of talks in Havana between the Colombian government and the FARC ended with progress on mechanisms for incorporating civil society into the negotiating process, which is aimed at bringing an end to a decades-long armed conflict.




Prominent Spanish businessman arrested


The former president of Spain's CEOE employers association, Gerardo Diaz Ferran, was arrested in Madrid on charges of fraudulent conveyance and money laundering, officials told Efe.

The accusations are linked to the 2010 bankruptcy of Viajes Marsans, a tourism conglomerate Diaz Ferran owned with the late Gonzalo Pascual.

Hotel managers and tourism operators brought a case against Diaz Ferran and several associates in June, on grounds that they had concealed part of their assets in order to avoid paying judgments.

Spanish prosecutors accused Diaz Ferran of hiding roughly 45 million euros ($58.7 million) in assets.




Party leaders sign "Pact for Mexico" to spur reforms


President Enrique Peña Nieto and the leaders of the main political parties signed the "Pact for Mexico" over the weekend at Chapultepec Castle in an effort to spur stalled political reforms.

The document was signed on Sunday by Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, interim chairwoman Cristina Diaz, National Action Party, or PAN, chairman Gustavo Madero and Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, chairman Jesus Zambrano.

"Mexico is starting a new stage in its democratic life. The time has come to meet and agree. The time has come to take the next step in perfecting democracy, moving toward an effective and efficient government," Peña Nieto, a member of the PRI who took office on Saturday, said.

The political leaders signed "an innovative agreement, which sets precise goals and concrete timetables for achieving them," the president said.

The pact is "realistic, detailing the instances and instruments for taking it from paper to reality," Peña Nieto said.




Another Tibetan burns himself alive in China


A young Tibetan burned himself alive in the western Chinese province of Gansu, raising the number of such cases to 29 in less than a month, Phayul, the Tibetan news agency in exile, said.

Sungdue Kyab tried to immolate himself Sunday on one of the main streets of Bora city near a Buddhist monastery.

He set himself on fire to protest the oppression of communist authorities in Tibet and calling for the return of the Tibetans' exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

For now Sungdue's physical condition is unknown, though it is thought he could have survived.




Japan to inspect all highway tunnels after deadly collapse


The Japanese government ordered the inspection of dozens of highway tunnels throughout the country after the ceiling of one of them collapsed and killed nine people.

The incident, which also injured three other people, took place in the Sasago tunnel, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of Tokyo. The tunnel passed its most recent inspection in September without authorities detecting any problems or anomalies.

Dozens of cement panels or slabs weighing 1.2 tons each became detached from the tunnel's ceiling and fell onto three moving vehicles, one of which burst into flames. Five of the six people riding in that vehicle were killed.

The other four fatalities included a man and two elderly women, as well as the driver of a frozen food truck who managed to make a cell phone call for help from inside his crushed vehicle but died before help arrived.




LeBron James named "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated


Sports Illustrated magazine named the star forward of the Miami Heat, LeBron James, its "Sportsman of the Year."

Journalist Lee Jenkins presents a lengthy account of James' achievements during the year, including his first NBA championship title and the second in Heat history.

He also emphasizes James' Most Valuable Player award and the gold medal he won for being part of the U.S. basketball team at the 2012 Olympic Games.