- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 6, 2009

GUATEMALA

Mudslide kills at least 33

GUATEMALA CITY | A northern Guatemala mudslide has left at least 33 people dead and injured 15.

Guatemala’s Vice President Rafael Espada said the death toll could rise as rescuers search for the missing.

The landslide hit Sunday along a highway near the village of Aquil Grande in San Cristobal Verapaz municipality as people were heading to a weekly market.

Road work along the highway could have provoked the slide, rescue leader Angel Estrada told reporters Monday.

MEXICO

Shootouts mark New Year on border

TIJUANA | Mexico started off the New Year with a string of shootouts, killings and the kidnapping of a 12-year-old boy.

Police in Tijuana said the boy was abducted when he ran to his home to pick something up for a New Year’s Eve dinner at his grandparents house a few blocks away.

Police said they have no suspects and have not uncovered a motive for the kidnapping and threats.

Also in Tijuana, less than an hour into 2009, 26-year-old Saul Tamayo Hernandez was celebrating the New Year outside his house with his family when gunmen arrived and killed him. Shootings also occurred in the western town of La Huerta and the northern city of Monterrey.

Officials estimate that more than 5,300 people died across Mexico in organized crime-related slayings in the first 11 months of 2008

BRAZIL

Suspect detained in motorboat death

SAO PAULO | A man suspected of piloting a motorboat that struck and killed a New York winery owner as he swam off Brazil’s coast was briefly detained Sunday, police said.

Seventy-year-old Christian Wolffer, owner of the Wolffer Estate winery, bled to death after suffering two deep cuts on his back while swimming on New Year’s Eve near the colonial town of Paraty, about 100 miles west of Rio de Janeiro, police inspector Marcos Cerqueira said.

He said the cuts were caused by the propeller of a passing motorboat, and police have detained the man thought to be piloting the boat for questioning.

Mr. Cerqueira said the detained man, who was released after several hours of questioning, claimed that on New Year’s Eve he was nowhere near the site of the accident.

MEXICO

Warlock predictions have spotty record

MEXICO CITY | Mexico’s self-proclaimed “Grand Warlock” says the United States will pull troops out of Iraq in 2009 and send them to the border with Mexico in an attempt to expand its territory.

The prediction from Antonio Vazquez comes with a word of warning though: his record of projecting the future is spotty at best.

Mr. Vazquez has been making predictions since 1980 on events ranging from international events to the private lives of celebrities, based on his reading of tarot cards.

Mr. Vazquez erroneously predicted last year that oil prices would be stable and that Cuba’s Fidel Castro and singer Britney Spears would die.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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