- - Monday, January 24, 2011

MEXICO

Report: Mexico let U.S. question migrants

MEXICO CITY | Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate Mexico allowed U.S. officials to question undocumented migrants detained in Mexican territory as part of anti-terror efforts.

Mexico is traditionally sensitive about its national sovereignty. But the May 2008 cable released by WikiLeaks notes that the U.S. is concerned about Mexico being used as a “potential transit point for terrorists.”

Other cables released over the weekend painted a picture of Mexico’s weaknesses in fighting drug cartels.

They said Mexico has limited intelligence-gathering capacity, and quoted President Felipe Calderon as saying there was a serious risk politicians could return to tolerating the cartels.

BRAZIL

Police, gangs fight; Rio mayor office hit

RIO DE JANEIRO | Brazilian police have been fighting with drug gangs in slums near the center of Rio de Janeiro, with shots shattering windows in the mayor’s office.

A TV network’s helicopter was hit and forced to make an emergency landing.

There were no immediate reports of deaths.

Police said about 120 officers were met with gunfire when they entered the slums early Monday to search for gang leaders.

According to a government statement, shots knocked out windows in the office of Mayor Eduardo Paes. He was in the building, but was unhurt.

Globo TV’s website said one of its helicopters was hit by three bullets. Nobody was hurt, but the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing.

CUBA

Prison time sought in hospital deaths

HAVANA | Cuban prosecutors are seeking six- to 14-year prison terms for workers at the island’s largest hospital for the mentally ill, where 26 patients died during a cold snap.

State-run newspaper Granma said the trial has concluded but no verdict has been announced.

Temperatures in normally balmy Cuba plunged below 38 degrees Fahrenheit in January 2010 in the area where Havana’s Psychiatric Hospital is located.

Human rights leaders cited negligence and a lack of resources as factors in the deaths, and the Health Ministry began an investigation.

Granma said Monday that prosecutors asked for six to 14 years for several officials, including the hospital director, and 10 to 12 years for other defendants accused of embezzlement.

MEXICO

6 killed at park in besieged border city

CIUDAD JUAREZ | Gunmen spraying automatic weapons fire killed six people at a park that had been built as an anti-violence measure in the besieged border city of Ciudad Juarez, authorities said Monday.

Chihuahua state prosecutors’ spokesman Carlos Gonzalez said the assailants arrived at the park in the Francisco I. Madero neighborhood and opened fire Sunday afternoon. Four people, including a 12-year-old girl, were hospitalized in critical condition.

Investigators found 180 bullet casings from the sort of assault weapons typically used by drug gangs, though they had not yet identified the perpetrators or a motive.

The park was inaugurated four months ago as part of a government program called Todos Somos Juarez, or We’re All Juarez, to reduce violence and improve life for the city’s 1.3 million residents.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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