- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 22, 2006

MEXICO

Drug lords display heads of enemies

VILLA MADERO — The drug lords at war in central Mexico are no longer content with simply killing their enemies. They are putting their severed heads on public display.

In Michoacan, the home state of President-elect Felipe Calderon, 17 heads have turned up this year, many with bloodstained notes like the one found in the highlands town of Tepalcatepec in August: “See. Hear. Shut Up. If you want to stay alive.”

Many in Michoacan’s mountains and colonial cities are doing just that: They are tight-lipped, their newspapers are censoring themselves and, in one town, 18 of 32 police officers quit, saying they had received death threats from drug smugglers.

FRANCE

Five eyed in ambush on police near Paris

BOBIGNY — Five persons were placed under investigation yesterday for attempted murder in an ambush earlier this month on police in a Paris suburb, one of a string of attacks just days before France marks the first anniversary of fiery suburban riots.

In new violence targeting police, about 30 youths threw stones and two Molotov cocktails at a police car as it arrived Friday night to respond to a trash can fire in a neighborhood of Orleans, about 80 miles south of Paris, police said. No one was injured.

The more frequent targeting of police has increased tensions ahead of the first anniversary Friday of rioting by Muslim immigrants from North Africa that swept France for three weeks.

ICELAND

Fishermen defy ban on whaling

OSLO — Icelandic whalers broke a 21-year-old international ban on whaling yesterday when they harpooned the first fin whale since the moratorium was imposed in 1985, a whalers’ spokesman said.

Fin whales are rated an endangered species on a “Red List” compiled by the World Conservation Union, but Iceland says they are plentiful in the North Atlantic.

Iceland, Norway and Japan hunt whales in defiance of the international ban. Icelanders are particularly fond of whale steak.

MEXICO

Tropical storm heads for coast

MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Paul formed off Mexico’s Pacific Coast yesterday and looked set to turn into a hurricane as it headed toward luxury resorts on the Baja California Peninsula, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Charts showed Paul passing this week near the tip of the desert peninsula popular with U.S. tourists, before heading for the Mexican mainland across the narrow Sea of Cortez.

Hurricanes that enter the Sea of Cortez, bound on three sides by land, tend to fizzle out after they run aground, posing no risk to the United States.

NIGERIA

Militants release foreign oil workers

LAGOS — Militants have freed seven foreign oil workers seized during an attack earlier this month on an Exxon Mobil Corp. compound in the restive southern delta region, company officials said yesterday.

The workers — four Britons, a Romanian, an Indonesian and a Malaysian — were handed over by the Nigerian government to Exxon Mobil Corp. officials in the southern town of Eket, said a company official, Yemi Fakajjo. The seven were taken hostage in Eket during an Oct. 3 raid that killed two guards.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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