ST. MARTIN

U.S. issues travel advisory over virus

U.S. authorities have issued a travel advisory for the French Caribbean dependency of St. Martin because of a mosquito-borne viral disease that is apparently being spread at the start of the winter tourist season.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday it is closely following reports of the chikungunya virus among residents of the French side of a tiny island in the northeast Caribbean. It's the first time the disease has been reported in the Western Hemisphere among people who have not traveled recently, suggesting that the virus is now being carried by infected island mosquitoes.

"Microbes know no boundaries, and the appearance of the chikungunya virus in the Western Hemisphere represents another threat to health security," CDC Director Tom Frieden said. - AP
MEXICO

Gun battle hits resort

Five men were killed in a gun battle with Mexican security forces Wednesday near a luxury hotel in the popular Gulf of California resort of Puerto Penasco, also known as Rocky Point, authorities said. The resort across the border from Arizona is popular with U.S. tourists, and it boasts a large expatriate community. Shootouts are very rare at Mexican beach resorts, though they have occurred in Acapulco. - AP

ITALY

Protests in Rome

Thousands of Italian students, jobless, and tax-weary workers have moved their days-long protest against "useless politicians" to Rome. The noisy protest Wednesday afternoon was filling Piazza del Popolo, a square in the heart of the Italian capital. What started out as the so-called pitchfork protest by Sicilian farmers nearly two years ago is now a nationwide expression of citizen frustration. - AP