4 Tortured, slain in western Mexico


Organized crime is suspected in the torture and murder of four people in the western Mexican town of Buenavista Tomatlan, a source in the Michoacan state Attorney General's Office told Efe.

Each of the victims - identified only as two men and two women in their early 20s - was blindfolded and finished off with a gunshot to the head, the source said.

The bodies were found hanging from a metal archway at the entrance to El Limon de la Luna, a community in Buenavista Tomatlan, one of five Michoacan municipalities where residents have organized militias to defend themselves from a criminal outfit known as Los Caballeros Templarios (The Knights Templar).

The source suggested Los Caballeros killed the people found Friday in an effort to intimidate the community self-defense groups.




Illness forces Vilanova to step down as coach of Barça


Tito Vilanova has resigned as coach of FC Barcelona to continue treatment for the throat cancer he has battled for the past 18 months, club president Sandro Rosell said during a hastily arranged press conference at the team's practice facility.

"I'm here to tell you some news I wish I'd never have to report," Rosell said.

"Life goes on. It's a very heavy blow for Barça, but Barcelona has suffered many blows and has always recovered. This will not be the exception," the club president said.

Vilanova's replacement will be announced next week, Rosell said.




Large gold deposit discovered in China


Local authorities in the northwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang announced the discovery of a gold deposit that could contain some 50 tons of that precious metal.

The deposit was found inside an already existing iron-ore mine in Hejing County after six years of exploration, the region's director of geology and mineral resources, Zeng Xiaogang, told the Xinhua official news agency.

The discovery raised the potential economic value of the mine, which also contains 187 million tons of iron ore and 1.5 million tons of zinc, to 100 million yuan ($16.3 million)

China, which extracted a record 403.05 tons of gold last year, according to the China Gold Association, leapfrogged South Africa in 2007 to become the world's largest gold producer.




Some 2,000 Fukushima workers face increased cancer risk


Around 10 percent of the nearly 20,000 workers who have taken part in the clean-up of the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant were exposed to enough radiation to increase their risk of developing thyroid cancer, Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun reported.

The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power, or TEPCO, conducted tests of the 19,592 people who have worked at the Fukushima Daiichi facility since the March 2011 disaster.

A little more than 10 percent of the emergency workers - 1,973 people - appeared to have been exposed to a minimum of 100 millisieverts of radiation, a level considered dangerous by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

Fukushima suffered a partial meltdown in the wake of the devastating magnitude-9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan on March 11, 2011.




Brazil's Batista regrets taking his companies public


Brazilian magnate Eike Batista wrote in an article that he regretted taking his companies public without allowing sufficient time to develop them.

"If I could go back in time, I wouldn't opt for the stock market," Batista, once the world's seventh-wealthiest person, said in the op-ed published in Brazilian financial daily Valor Economico.

The business leader's net worth has fallen fast due to a sharp drop in the share price of his publicly listed companies, a turn of events triggered by a crisis in credibility surrounding his EBX conglomerate and disappointing results at that group's OGX oil and gas unit.

Early this month, OGX acknowledged that output would likely cease next year at its only oil field currently in production due to complicated geological conditions.




Costa wins a 2nd stage; Froome still in command of Tour


Portugal's Rui Costa attacked on the final climb of a 204-kilometer (127-mile) trek through the Alps to garner his second stage win of the centennial Tour de France.

Leading his closest competitors by more than 5 minutes, British cyclist Chris Froome remained secure in the yellow jersey with just two more stages left in the race.

Costa, 26, employed the same tactics that he used to win Tuesday's stage: join an early break-away and then rely on a combination of tactics and sheer power to grab the victory.

His Movistar teammate Nairo Quintana continues to sit in third place after Friday's stage, just 21 seconds behind two-time Tour winner Alberto Contador of Spain.