Mexican singer Chavela Vargas died last Sunday from respiratory failure after her health took a marked turn for the worse earlier in the morning, her doctor said. She was 93.
"She was quite conscious up until the last moment and expressed her best wishes for Mexico, which is in great confusion, to improve and she said that she has the best memories ... of her public," said her physician, José Manuel Núñez.
The Costa-Rican-born artist died at 12:55 p.m. local time from acute respiratory insufficiency, chronic bronchial pneumonia and kidney failure, the doctor said.
He also said that she was very serene and calm just before her passing, recalling "her México" and her fans in her last moments, and in particular she expressed her thanks to the communications media and everyone for their support.
Vargas -- whose real name was Isabel Vargas Lizano -- had been cared for since last Sunday by a medical team led by Núñez at the Inovamed Hospital in Cuernavaca, capital of the central Mexican state of Morelos.
Before dawn on Saturday morning a group of admirers serenaded Chavela Vargas far enough away to avoid annoying the other patients.
The head of her medical team said that Vargas had refused to allow artificial or invasive measures to be used to prolong her life.
Vargas had wished to be cremated and her relatives and friends intend to scatter her ashes on Chalchi Hill, near her house in Tepoztlán, in the state of Morelos.
The singer arrived in México on July 26 after almost a month in Spain, where she went to give a recital of songs from the disc she dedicated to the poet Federico García Lorca entitled 'La Luna Grande' (Great Moon), and to present her memoirs.
The effort took its toll and on July 12 she was admitted to hospital in the Spanish capital, where she stayed until July 21.
From that day she rested in the Madrid Students Residence, looked after by her nurses, friends and the institution's personnel until she returned to the Mexican town of Tepoztlán, where she has lived in recent years.
6 miners dead
MÉXICO CITY -- A rescue team found and recovered the bodies of six workers trapped inside a coal mine in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, officials said.
State Public Safety Secretary Jorge Luis Morán Delgado said initial reports indicated five miners were trapped but that that number later rose to six, while another worker, Armando Robles Piña, was rescued alive.
Coahuila's deputy emergency management chief, Francisco Martínez, also confirmed Friday afternoon that a rescue crew had recovered the bodies of the six miners who perished in the accident.
"The most recent report is that we now have the bodies of the six people and all that's left is to officially identify them," the official said.
Martinez said some 75 rescue workers using special equipment took part in the search operation at the mine, which is located in the town of San Juan Sabinas and operated by the Mimosa unit of Minera del Norte, a subsidiary of steelmaker Altos Hornos de México.
Mexican left says PRI used state funds
MÉXICO CITY -- México's political left accused President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto's campaign manager of using a state government's bank account to divert funds to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, in the lead-up to the July 1 election.
"The gathered evidence shows illegal diversion of funds" involving a figure close to Peña Nieto, the campaign manager of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, standard-bearer of a leftist coalition led by his Party of the Democratic Revolution, or PRD, said.
In a press conference in which he showed bank statements and other documents, Ricardo Monreal said the name of Luis Videgaray, Peña Nieto's campaign manager and former México state finance secretary, appeared on a Scotiabank account held by that state government.
Scotiabank, however, released a statement Thursday night saying that Videgaray was the not holder of the account mentioned by Monreal.
The PRI's Peña Nieto, who won the election with 38.21 percent of the vote compared with 31.59 percent for López Obrador, based on the final official results released by the Federal Electoral Institute, or IFE, served as governor of the central state of México from 2005 to 2011.
Mexican remittances climb 6.2 pct
MÉXICO CITY -- Mexicans living and working abroad sent home $11.85 billion in the first six months of the year, an increase of 6.2 percent from the same period in 2011, the country's central bank said Wednesday.
The figure for June was $2.09 billion, up 3.5 percent from a year ago, the Banco de México said.
Transactions totaled 36.4 million in the first half of 2012, a gain of 6.4 percent over last year, and more than 98 percent took the form of wire transfers.
The average payment in the January-June period was $331, compared with $326.51 during the first six months of 2011, according to the Banco de México report.
Remittances from expatriates are México's second-largest source of foreign exchange after oil exports and help cover living expenses for millions of households. Most of the money is sent from the United States, where an estimated 12 million Mexicans live, about half of them undocumented migrants.
Agents destroy cigarettes
MÉXICO CITY -- More than 82.8 million confiscated cigarettes are being destroyed in the northwestern port city of Mazatlán, marking the largest seizure of this type of tobacco product in México's history, officials said.
The cigarettes were seized by customs agents in Mazatlán, the customs service said.
"The cigarettes, which arrived in eight containers, did not comply with applicable non-tariff regulations and restrictions, and they could not be transferred to the Goods Disposal and Administration Service because they were foreign trade merchandise, so they had to be destroyed," the customs service said in a statement.
The seizure was the biggest in México's history and "places us among the top four countries in the world in the current (fiscal) year," the customs service said, citing tobacco industry experts.
México extradites 3 to U.S.
MÉXICO CITY -- Three suspects -- two Mexicans and a U.S. citizen -- wanted on sexual abuse and murder charges were extradited to the United States, the Mexican Attorney General's Office said.
Gabino Vidal Jr. and Alejandro Madrigal, both Mexican citizens, and George Martínez, a U.S. citizen, were handed over by federal law enforcement agents to the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI, the AG's office said.
Vidal is wanted by a Kansas court for allegedly sodomizing his 12-year-old stepdaughter on May 19, 2001, the AG's office said.
He was arrested on Jan. 4 and was held at a México City prison pending extradition to the United States.
Madrigal is wanted for sexual assault in Santa Clara County, California.
He was arrested on March 9 and was held at a México City prison until being cleared for extradition.
Martínez is wanted for first degree murder in Kane County, Illinois.
He was allegedly involved in a gang fight on Oct. 31, 2008, that led to the shooting death of a member of a rival gang.
Martínez was arrested on June 22, 2011, and held at a prison in the Gulf state of Veracruz, the AG's office said.
Tequila country to remain World Heritage Site
GUADALAJARA, Jalisco -- The U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is maintaining its designation of the area of México where tequila originated as a World Heritage Site.
"We're convinced this was a decision well taken," UNESCO official Nuria Sanz told a a press conference.
The agave crops and old industrial plants where the traditional drink was made, located in the western Mexican states of Jalisco, Guanajuato and Nayarit, were named a World Heritage Site in 2006, but UNESCO said earlier this year that the region's status was threatened by pollution and mismanagement.
Sanz made a tour of the region to see what was being done or had been done by the authorities to promote cultural projects and a growth of tourism.