Murder victims dumped on road in northern Mexico


Four people, one of them a 13-year-old boy, were found fatally shot on a road in the northern border state of Chihuahua, Mexican authorities said.

The bodies were discovered Thursday night on the road linking the city of Parral with the village of Guadalupe y Calvo, state Attorney General's Office spokesman Carlos Gonzalez told Efe.

Shell casings from more than one type of gun were found with the bodies and authorities suspect the killings were the work of organized crime.

Chihuahua, the most violent of Mexico's 32 states, has been the scene in recent years of a battle among rival drug cartels to control smuggling routes in the neighboring United States.




Spanish royals embrace inclusion in new transparency law


Spain's royal household began talks with the government two months ago to formalize its submission to the new transparency law on terms similar to those applicable to Parliament and the judiciary.

Royal household sources consulted by Efe said Friday that it was the royal family itself that asked to be included in the new transparency law.

In that regard, Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria confirmed Friday that the royal household "expressed from the very first moment its wish to find a formula to include it under that law."




U.S. trade deficit shrinks on near-record exports


The U.S. trade deficit decreased by 3.4 percent in February to $43 billion, the Commerce Department said.

Exports of goods and services rose 0.8 percent from January to $184.96 billion - close to the record level of December 2012 - and imports were practically unchanged at $228.92 billion.

The cumulative trade deficit for the first two months of 2013 was $87.42 billion, compared with $96.87 billion during the same period last year.

Besides the strength in exports, another key figure in reducing the trade deficit was a drop in the volume of oil imports to 205 million barrels, the lowest level since 1996.




Human toll in China bird-flu outbreak reaches 6


The human toll from an outbreak of a new strain of bird flu in eastern China rose to six with the deaths of a farmer in Zhejiang province and two other people in this metropolis.

Doctors have confirmed 13 other cases of infection with a variant of the H7N9 virus.

All 13 patients are being treated under quarantine at hospitals in Shanghai and neighboring regions. Only one person who was in contact with the infected people has shown any symptoms.

The World Health Organization said a pandemic is unlikely, given that there is no evidence of person-to-person transmission of the virus.




Spanish judge suspends summons for princess in corruption case


A Spanish judge suspended his summons for Princess Cristina, younger daughter of King Juan Carlos, in a corruption case after prosecutors challenged the magistrate's decision to name her as a suspect.

Judge Jose Castro said it would not be appropriate to maintain his order that Cristina appear and give a statement on April 27 in light of the motion by prosecutors.

Spain's chief anti-corruption prosecutor, Pedro Horrach, traveled to Palma on Friday to file the challenge to Castro's designation of the princess as a suspect in a corruption case involving her husband, Iñaki Urdangarin.

The judge is investigating allegations that Urdangarin embezzled more than 6 million euros ($7.7 million) after using his connections to obtain lucrative, no-bid public contracts for the Noos Institute, a non-profit foundation he headed for several years.




Mexico inaugurates memorial to drug-war victims


A memorial to the more than 70,000 people killed in drug-war violence in Mexico since December 2006 was inaugurated in this capital.

"To build a Mexico at peace, this place is a reminder that we must accelerate efforts to eliminate all room for violence and impunity," Government Secretary Miguel Angel Osorio Chong said during the ceremony.

Located in Chapultepec Park, the memorial consists of 64 large steel panels engraved with quotes from figures such as Martin Luther King Jr., Octavio Paz, Edmund Burke and Rainer Maria Rilke inviting visitors to reflect on justice, memory and the loss of loved ones.

The most prominent of the organizations representing victims, the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, repudiated the project in Chapultepec Park.