Statues of Ekeko, the Bolivian god of prosperity and the central figure of the Alasitas Miniature Fair, are displayed for sale on the fair's opening day in La Paz. Following an ancient Aymara Indian tradition, Bolivians on Thursday bought miniature objects that represent their wish list.



Winning party spent $5M through cash cards

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute has confirmed that President Enrique Peña Nieto's party spent about $5.2 million through electronic cash cards during last year's presidential campaign.

Opposition parties had charged the money represented illicit campaign financing, but the institute said it found no evidence of that.

The institute's board voted 5-4 late Wednesday that it did not necessarily represent a campaign violation.

However, the institute said it will apply the amount against the candidate's $26.5 million campaign-spending limit.

Campaign overspending can result in fines, but not reversal of the results.

Peña Nieto won the July elections, but was dogged by accusations from his opponents that his campaign used cash cards and handed out prepaid gift cards to gain support.


Country signs accord to protect jaguars

The lushly forested nation of Guyana on Thursday joined a regional pact to protect jaguars, the elusive spotted cat that is the biggest land predator in the Americas but is vulnerable due to expanded agriculture and mining that carves away at its fragmented habitat.

Leaders of the government's environment ministry were signing an agreement with the New York-based conservation group Panthera, which is trying to establish a "jaguar corridor."

The corridor would be a network of pathways that would link core jaguar populations from northern Argentina to Mexico. Guyana is pledging to ensure the protection of jaguars, the national animal that is a near-threatened species.

The South American nation with some of the region's least spoiled wilderness joins Colombia and nations in Central America in recognizing the corridor and agreeing to work toward the long-term conservation of jaguars, according to Esteban Payan, regional director for Panthera's northern South America jaguar program.


Burger King drops supplier linked to horse meat

LONDON - British and Irish burger fans could face a Whopper shortage.

Burger King has stopped buying beef from an Irish meat processor whose patties were found to contain traces of horse meat.

The fast-food chain said Thursday that it had dropped Silvercrest Foods as a supplier for its U.K. and Ireland restaurants as a "voluntary and precautionary measure."

Last week Silvercrest, which is owned by ABP Food Group, shut down its production line and recalled 10 million burgers from supermarket shelves in Britain and Ireland after horse DNA was found in some beef products.

Burger King said the decision to drop the supplier "may mean that some of our products are temporarily unavailable."

It stressed that "this is not a food-safety issue."

'Hacktivists' are jailed for cyberattack spree

LONDON - A 22-year-old member of the Anonymous movement has been jailed for 18 months for taking part in high-profile cyberattacks on several major financial companies' computer systems.

Self-described "hacktivist" Christopher Weatherhead was convicted last month of conspiracy to impair the operation of computers. The attacks hit the sites of MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and several others.

Prosecutors said Weatherhead and his fellow conspirators targeted companies in the music industry involved in combating Internet piracy and companies that had stopped processing online donations to the secret-busting site WikiLeaks.

One co-defendant, 28-year-old Ashley Rhodes, was jailed for seven months. Another, 24-year-old Peter Gibson, received a suspended sentence.

The Associated Press