Belarus: U.S. lawyer sentenced

MINSK — An American lawyer has been sentenced to three years in prison in Belarus in a case that raised already high tensions between Washington and the authoritarian ex-Soviet republic.

Emmanuel Zeltser's sentencing Monday comes after being convicted at a closed trial for commercial espionage and using false documents. He is an expert on organized crime and money laundering.

The United States raised protests over his detention and raised concerns about his health in custody. His attorney says he is not getting proper medication for diabetes.

Bolivia: Morales courts rivals

LA PAZ — Bolivian President Evo Morales said Monday that he's ready to sit down and talk to his bitter rivals in the country's pro-capitalist east once all results are in from a recall vote that strongly reaffirmed his mandate.

But this Andean nation's first indigenous president also cautioned that he represents "the entire Bolivian family" and won't bow to narrow selfish interests.

The more prosperous east, home to most of Bolivia's natural gas deposits, has resisted Morales' insistence that the central government control and distribute energy profits.

Brazil: Amazon dam OK'd

BRASILIA — Brazil's environment minister said Monday he granted a license for an Amazon hydroelectric dam but attached stringent conditions to protect Indian reservations and nature preserves.

But at least two environmental groups criticized the government's approval of a project that they say fails to safeguard either people or the environment.

The license for the Santo Antonio dam is contingent upon millions of dollars of investments in equipment for firefighters, environmental police and sewage treatment for the state capital, Porto Velho, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said. The dam is one of two planned for the Madeira river in the Amazon state of Rondonia.

Mauritania: Leader freed

NOUAKCHOTT — Mauritania's prime minister was released Monday as junta leaders bowed to international pressure after a coup that prompted the U.S. to cut off more than $20 million in aid.

But the junta was still holding the country's president and said it had no immediate plans to release him, indicating that although the military is willing to make some conciliatory gestures, power remains firmly in their hands.

Monday's announcement said the army-led "state council" had freed Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waqef and three other key allies of President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

Mexico: Hernan loses steam

MEXICO CITY — Hurricane Hernan has weakened to a tropical storm far out in the Pacific.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami says Hernan's winds have fallen to about 70 mph and the storm is expected to continue weakening as it moves westward and even farther out to sea.

By Monday afternoon, Hernan was located about 1,400 miles west of the tip of the Baja California peninsula. It was moving west-southwest.