CARACAS, Venezuela

Police, troops break up student protester camps

Hundreds of Venezuelan police and troops broke up four makeshift camps maintained by student protesters, arresting 243 people Thursday in pre-dawn raids.

The tent cities were installed more than a month ago in front of the offices of the United Nations and in better-off neighborhoods in the capital to protest against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government.

Interior Minister Miguel Rodriguez Torres presented homemade mortars, guns and Molotov cocktails that he said were seized at the camps and used to carry out “terrorist” acts against security forces. He said an “impressive” amount of drugs were also found.

ACAPULCO, Mexico

Strong earthquake shakes Pacific coast of Mexico

A strong earthquake shook the southern Pacific coast of Mexico as well as the capital and several inland states Thursday, sending frightened people into unseasonal torrential rains that were also bearing down on the coast.

The 6.4-magnitude quake in southern Guerrero state was centered about 9 miles north of Tecpan de Galeana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, and was felt about 171 miles away in Mexico City, where office workers streamed into the streets away from high-rise buildings.

There were no reports of injuries or major damage, although a section of highway collapsed in Tecpan, near the epicenter.

The town shook ferociously, causing a “wave of panic” and some roofs to cave in, Mayor Crisoforo Otero Heredia said. But there were no injuries.

FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta

Worker at oil sands site mauled by black bear

A union official says workers used air horns to scare away a black bear who appeared at an oil sands work site but they were unable to prevent him from dragging away a female employee and killing her.

Unifor spokesman Scott Doherty said Thursday that seven people were working in a group area when the attack occurred Wednesday.

The 36-year-old Suncor employee was an instrument technician, who was doing electrical work at a job site near Fort McMurray, Doherty said.

Barrie Harrison, a spokesman with Alberta Occupational Health and Safety, said the woman was mauled by a mature male black bear that has been put down by police.

Black bears are common in Alberta at this time of year when they come out of hibernation and look for food.

LONDON

Defense minister: Women should be in combat units

Britain’s defense minister says women should be allowed to serve in front-line army combat units.

Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said Thursday the army should be open “to all who can meet the standards required.”

He said tough fitness rules meant “some roles will have limited numbers of women who can meet those criteria.”

Hammond announced an immediate review of the policy barring female troops from the infantry and armored corps, to be led by the head of the army.

He said since countries including the United States, Canada, Australia and Israel allowed women in combat roles, “this is something we have to look at again.”

In Britain, women can serve in most military posts, from fighter pilots to submariners, but not in units whose primary role is close-quarters combat.

WASHINGTON

Bill would allow airlines to promote base prices

Airlines tried and failed to block a federal rule making them tell passengers up front the full cost of airfare, including government taxes and fees. So they’re trying another route, asking Congress to do what the Obama administration and the courts refused to do: roll back the law.

A bill in Congress would allow airlines to return to their old way of doing things, which was to emphasize in ads the base airfare – the amount airlines charge passengers to fly – but reveal the full price including taxes and fees separately. It’s backed by a bipartisan group of 33 lawmakers led by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa.

The bill, supported both by the airline industry and by its pilot and flight-attendant unions, is moving through the House at Mach speed. It was introduced in March and approved by the transportation committee a month later without a hearing and by a voice vote, which means there is no record of who voted for or against it.

The bill is “a gift to the airlines,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., a transportation committee member who said he voted against it. “What you’re going to see is $200 for the airfare, and then you’re going to be shocked when it turns out to really be $250,” he said. “It’s misleading to the consumer. It’s just dishonest.”

OKLAHOMA CITY

Execution stalled as botched lethal injection is investigated

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals agreed Thursday to a six-month stay of execution for a death row inmate while an investigation is conducted into last week’s botched lethal injection.

The court reset the execution date of inmate Charles Warner to Nov. 13. Warner’s attorneys requested the delay, and state Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a court filing Thursday he wouldn’t object.

– From news service reports