Gunmen kill 25 police officers, general in Egypt's North Sinai


At least 25 police officers and a police general were killed in Egypt's North Sinai governorate, while three other officers were wounded, police spokesmen told Efe.

Six armed men fired mortar rounds at two microbuses carrying nearly 30 officers on the highway that links the city of Rafah to el-Arish, the capital of North Sinai.

The mortar rounds missed the buses, but the gunmen forced the officers to get out of the vehicles and killed 24 of them, el-Arish police spokesmen said.

A sniper, meanwhile, killed police Gen. Ahmed Galal as he was getting into an armored vehicle in el-Arish, the official Mena news agency reported.




European Commission to send delegation to Gibraltar


European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy made plans for an EC delegation to visit the Spain-Gibraltar border amid controversy over new controls instituted by Madrid, the commission said.

Barroso and Rajoy "agreed that a Commission fact finding mission should as soon as possible examine in loco the border control/movement of people and goods questions," the EC said in a statement.

The EC president and the Spanish prime minister discussed the Gibraltar situation in a telephone call on Monday.

As he did in a similar conversation last week with British Premier David Cameron, Barroso, according to the EC statement, "expressed his hope that Spain and the UK will address these matters in a way that is in line with their common membership in the EU."




Over 100 women take up arms in Mexico to defend community


More than 100 women in the southern Mexican town of Xaltianguis have taken up arms to protect their community from organized crime groups, a local self-defense force official said.

The women signed up over the past four days with the Union of Peoples and Organizations of Guerrero State, or UPOEG, Xaltianguis community self-defense force commander Miguel Angel Jimenez told reporters.

"We have an average of nine groups" of community police, with each one made up of 12 women who will work in the daytime in the neighborhoods of Xaltianguis, located about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the resort city of Acapulco, Jimenez said.

The women will be trained in the use of firearms and carry the same weapons as men, Jimenez said.




Green Party MP among 25 arrested for protesting fracking in Britain


Green Party Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas was among 25 people arrested for staging an anti-fracking protest in Balcombe, a town in southern England.

Police made the arrests while clearing a group of about 200 demonstrators who had blocked the entrance to the drilling site operated by energy company Cuadrilla Resources.

Two other protests were staged Monday in Britain against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method that involves pumping a pressurized fluid - usually composed of water, sand and chemicals - into a shale formation to create a fracture in the rock layer and release trapped petroleum or natural gas.

About 20 protesters blocked the entrance to Cuadrilla's headquarters in Lichfield, a city in central England, while half a dozen people superglued themselves to the doors of the London offices of public relations company Bell Pottinger, which works for Cuadrilla.




Poll: Most Mexicans oppose opening oil sector to private firms


While accepting the need for reform of the energy sector, most Mexicans oppose opening state oil monopoly Pemex to private investment, a poll published by capital daily El Universal shows.

Only 20 percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed by pollster Buendia & Laredo over the period Aug. 8-13 expressed support for the idea, which is a key element of the energy plans put forward by centrist President Enrique Peña Nieto and the main opposition conservative PAN party.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said "no" to allowing private participation in the oil sector, though the same proportion agreed that Pemex, the world's fifth-leading crude producer, needs an overhaul.




Analysts keep Brazil growth forecasts at 2.21 pct


Financial analysts are keeping their 2013 growth forecasts for the Brazilian economy at 2.21 percent, the same level as last week, the Central Bank said.

The gross domestic product forecast for 2014 remains at 2.5 percent, the Central Bank said in its Boletin Focus, a weekly survey of analysts from about 100 private financial institutions on the state of the national economy.

Private forecasters see GDP growing at a slower pace than the government, which has cut its estimates but still expects the economy to expand at a 3 percent rate in 2013.