U.S. Senate approves biggest immigration reform since 1986


The U.S. Senate voted 68-32 to approve the biggest immigration reform since 1986, opening the way for legalization and possible citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Although the reform faces resistance in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the wide margin of approval in the Senate enormously increases the pressure in favor of an accord.

Fourteen Republican senators voted for the bill, including Florida Cuban-American Marco Rubio, seen as a possible 2016 presidential hopeful.

All the Senate Democrats, who hold a majority in the upper house, supported the proposed bill.




White House preparing list of candidates to replace Bernanke, WSJ reports


The White House has begun preparing a list of possible candidates to replace Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chief given his possible exit when his current term concludes in January 2014, the Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the financial daily, citing some of those involved in the process, the people tasked with compiling the list of candidates include Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and a small group of White House officials.

Among the names being considered for the list are current Fed vice chairman Janet Yellen and former Clinton administration Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who is also a former advisor to President Barack Obama.

Other possible candidates are former Fed vice chairmen Alan Blinder and Roger Ferguson.




Dzhokhar Tsarnaev indicted on 30 counts


A federal grand jury handed down a 30-count indictment against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is suspected of being the co-author of the April 15 bombings at the Boston Marathon.

The 19-year-old stands accused of three murders for the two bombs he planted along with his late brother, Tamerlan, at the race finish line and for the shooting death of an MIT campus police officer on the night they began their flight from law enforcement, three days later.

Seventeen of the charges levied against the surviving suspect, including those involving the "use of a weapon of mass destruction," could result in the death penalty or life in prison.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's arraignment is set for July 10 in a federal district court in Boston.




Mandela in "critical but stable" condition, S. African gov't says


Former President Nelson Mandela is in "critical but stable" condition, South Africa's current head of state said.

Jacob Zuma said doctors had informed him that the 94-year-old father of the nation's health had "improved during the course of the night."

"He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night," Zuma said after visiting Mandela at the Pretoria hospital where he was admitted on June 8 for treatment for a recurring lung infection.

"I canceled my visit to Mozambique today so that I can see him and confer with the doctors," the South African president added.




Spain tops Italy on penalties in Confederations semifinal


Spain moved within reach of the Confederations Cup - the only international laurel missing from their trophy case - with a penalty shootout win over Italy here that sent the Iberian side to the final.

The match had echoes of the 2008 European Cup quarterfinal clash that inaugurated the golden age of Spanish soccer.

Just as five years ago, the two sides held each other scoreless through regulation and the overtime and Thursday's contest came down to penalty kicks.

Neither goalkeeper was a factor in the shootout, which might have gone on even longer had Italy's Bonucci not sent the ball sailing far over the net on his team's seventh shot.

Navas made no mistake when his turn came, giving Spain the win 7-6.




Djokovic coasts into Wimbledon 3rd round with straight-set win


Serbian world No. 1 Novak Djokovic refused to join the list of Wimbledon favorites upset by opponents ranked outside the top 100, defeating qualifier Bobby Reynolds 7-6 (7-2), 6-3, 6-1 in workman-like fashion to advance to the third round.

Playing under the Centre Court roof on a rainy day at the All England Club, Djokovic struggled early on to break the 156th-ranked American's serve but he found his groove on his return game in the second set and the contest turned into a rout.

For the match, Djokovic struck 12 aces and won a whopping 91 percent of his first-serve points. His domination of the baseline, meanwhile, was reflected in a much higher winning percentage on second-serve points: 73 percent compared with 38 percent for Reynolds.




Chile's tallest building catches fire


The Costanera Center real estate megaproject, including South America's tallest skyscraper, experienced a fire that forced authorities to evacuate more than 1,000 people.

Emergency personnel told reporters that the fire alarm went off just after noon due to the presence of smoke at all levels of the commercial center, especially in the underground parking garage.

The incident forced security officials to order the building's immediate evacuation and allow people to leave in their cars without paying their parking fees, while firefighters were en route.

Santiago's fire chief, Cristobal Goñi, said that the fire originated in the fifth underground level of the center resulting from an accumulation of trash and debris and burned for about an hour.




Student becomes 5th fatality in Brazil protests


A young Brazilian who fell from a viaduct during a protest to demand better public services died Thursday at a hospital here, police said.

Douglas Henrique de Oliveira, 21, became the fifth fatality in the social protests that began June 10 in Sao Paulo and have spread nationwide.

He fell on Wednesday from a viaduct over which demonstrators were passing during a protest by some 50,000 people in Belo Horizonte, suffering multiple broken bones and severe head injuries.

The Belo Horizonte protest was the largest of those registered on Wednesday and coincided with the Confederations Cup soccer match in that city in which Brazil defeated Uruguay 2-1 and qualified for the final.




EU reaches agreement on bank bailout rules with focus on protecting deposits


The European Union has reached an agreement on the rules governing future bank bailouts, with the 27-member bloc shifting the burden for covering the tab away from taxpayers and to financial institutions and creditors while protecting deposits.

"We have reached an agreement that is positive with three messages: very high protection for deposits, a common model for the resolution of banks and for how to deal with losses, and protection for the taxpayer's money," Spanish Economy and Competitiveness Minister Luis de Guindos said.

"This is a step in the right direction in terms of what has to happen for banking union," the Spanish minister said.