EU begins 2nd day of summit with focus on banking union, Serbia


The heads of state and government of the European Union began the second day of their summit here, a session focused on efforts to coordinate economic policy and the decision to launch talks on bringing Serbia into the regional bloc.

The member states concluded the first session early Friday satisfied by a political deal reached on a long-term budget to spur economic growth and create jobs.

As an initial step, they decided to move up to 2014 and 2015 the timetable for a 6-billion-euro ($7.8 billion) outlay to spur youth employment, of which Spain could receive roughly 1.9 billion euros over those two years.




Missing Mexican politician found murdered


The leader of the Oaxaca state branch of Mexico's Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, was found fatally shot nearly two weeks after he went missing, authorities said.

Nicolas Estrada Merino's body was discovered on a country road in Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, which sits on the border with neighboring Veracruz state. He was last seen alive on June 15.

Police found Estrada thanks to an anonymous telephone tip, the Oaxaca state Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

Oaxaca is one of several Mexican states holding mayoral and legislative elections on July 7. Estrada's burned-out vehicle was found on June 17, two days after he left his home in Tuxtepec to attend a rally for PRD legislative candidate Karina Bolaños.




37 Dead in Iraq violence


Bombings and shooting attacks across Iraq have left 37 people dead, sources in the security forces told Efe.

Ten people died and 20 others were wounded by two bombs in Ramadi, capital of the western province of al-Anbar.

A limpet mine attached to the car of a senior member of the pro-government Sahwa Sunni militias exploded and a second device was detonated after other militiamen and civilians gathered at the scene, the source said.

The Sahwa militias arose in 2006 to battle al-Qaeda elements. Though most Sunnis supported that mission, some within the community have turned against the militias because of their loyalty to Iraq's Shi'ite-led government.




Spain raises taxes on alcohol, tobacco


Spain's government announced tax hikes on alcohol and tobacco and limits on corporate tax deductions, saying the measures would boost revenue by 4.7 billion euros ($6.1 billion) annually.

Speaking at the end of a weekly Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister Cristobal Montoro said 3.65 billion euros per year would be raised by limiting the amount large companies can deduct for securities portfolio losses, while another 700 million euros would come from higher taxes on alcohol and tobacco and 340 million euros from a new tax on fluorinated gases.

The tax hikes will be enacted by decree and take effect Saturday after their publication in the official gazette.

A 10 percent tax increase will levied on alcoholic beverages, although wine and beer will be exempt, while the levy on tobacco will be "reconfigured" so that it is no longer directly tied to the final price of the tobacco product.




Murray reaches Wimbledon round of 16


Scotland's Andy Murray moved one step closer to ending Britain's 77-year drought without a Wimbledon men's singles champion, cruising past Spain's Tommy Robredo 6-2, 6-4, 7-5 to advance to the round of 16.

Playing under the roof on Centre Court, where Murray defeated Roger Federer last summer to win Olympic men's singles gold for Britain, the second-seeded Scot used his powerful serve and all-court game to outclass his 31-year-old opponent.

Murray, who possesses one of the best return games on the ATP Tour, constantly threatened Robredo's service games and ended up with five breaks of serve for the match.




Honduran leads march marking anniversary of coup that ousted him


Former President Manuel Zelaya led a march in the Honduran capital to mark the fourth anniversary of the coup that ousted him.

Thousands took part in the procession, many under the red-and-black banners of the National Popular Resistance Front, which formed almost immediately after the military forced Zelaya from office on June 28, 2009.

Missing from the scene was Zelaya's wife, Xiomara Castro, the Libre Party's candidate for president in the Nov. 24 election, who is abroad for treatment of a knee problem.

Soldiers dragged Zelaya from his home and put him on a plane to Costa Rica just hours before Hondurans were set to vote in a non-binding referendum on overhauling the constitution the armed forces imposed on the country in 1982.