- - Monday, January 2, 2012


Governor killed by own gun, wife questioned

BUENOS AIRES — The ruling-party governor of Argentina’s Rio Negro province, Carlos Soria, was buried quickly in a private ceremony after authorities determined that he died of a single bullet wound to his head, fired from his own handgun in the bedroom of his home after an argument with his wife.

“We know that there was a family argument,” prosecutor Miguel Angel Fernandez Jahde told reporters on Monday.

The governor’s wife, Susana, remained sedated in a relative’s home and has yet to make a formal declaration about what happened in their bedroom early on New Year’s Day, said the judge overseeing the case, Juan Pablo Chirinos.

“There were only two people in the room, so the only suspect is her,” the judge said.

Mr. Soria was buried Sunday night as about 1,500 people marched in his honor in the provincial town of General Roca, where he had served as mayor for eight years before his inauguration as governor on Dec. 10.


Firefighters battle three forest fires; one killed

SANTIAGO — Firefighters battled three huge wildfires that burned about 90 square miles of forest, destroyed more than 100 homes and drove out thousands of tourists.

The fires also claimed their first victim: a 75-year-old man who had refused warnings to leave his home.

Chile’s normally rainy southern regions are suffering from a nationwide heat wave on top of a drought. In all, the country battled 48 fires on Sunday alone.


Gas-station attendant honored as hero

ACAPULCO — A gas-station attendant who died of burns after turning off pumps set alight during a violent protest is being honored in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero.

Gonzalo Rivas Camara will be buried in his home city of Chilpancingo following a ceremony in the city’s main square.

The Guerrero state government said Monday he died of his injuries Sunday at a hospital near Mexico City.

More attention has been focused on two protesters who were shot to death at the Dec. 12 protest. Students from a rural teachers college blocked a highway to demand more funds for the school. They battled police trying to clear the highway.

Twelve policemen are under investigation in those shootings.


Santeria priests reject doomsday Mayan prediction

HAVANA — A body of top Afro-Cuban priests is predicting a year of change and upheaval in 2012, but the priests dismiss ancient fears of the Mayan people that the world will come to an end.

The priests, who practice a combination of traditional West African religion and Catholicism, said in an annual message released Monday to look out for major problems such as earthquakes and the possibility of matrimonial discord at home.

That may not be a very cheery account, but it’s a lot better than the fire-and-brimstone prophecies some have attributed to the Maya, whose calendar cycle ends on Dec. 21, 2012.

The priests said they see a spiritual end to old things but not a physical end to the planet.


More police charged in death of Canadian man

ST. GEORGE’S — Three more police officers have been charged with manslaughter in the beating death of a Canadian man who was visiting Grenada, in the eastern Caribbean, police commanders announced this week.

A police statement said officers Edward Gibson, Shaun Ganness and Ruddy Felix were arrested and charged Sunday in the beating death of 39-year-old Oscar Bartholomew of Toronto, who was visiting the island, about 100 miles north of Venezuela, to visit family.

Relatives have accused a group of officers of beating Mr. Bartholomew into a coma on Dec. 26 after he mistook a plainclothes female police officer for a friend and lifted her for a hug in front of a police station in the island’s southeast. He died of his injuries at a local hospital a day after the beating.

The arrests brought the number of police suspects to five.


Police tortured suspects, human rights report says

MEXICO CITY — Police tortured five men into confessing to killing two federal agents and exploding a car bomb in the border town of Ciudad Juarez, a human rights group charged this week.

The National Human Rights Commission said Sunday the country must investigate six federal officers and a doctor who failed to report signs of severe beating.

Police had accused one man of being a lookout in a July 2010 car-bomb attack. They also had accused the five men of killing two police officers.

Police have dropped the accusations, but the men remain in jail on drug and weapons charges.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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