- - Monday, August 15, 2011

MEXICO

Drug gangs kidnap four naval personnel

MEXICO CITY — Three marines and one naval academy cadet apparently have been kidnapped by drug cartels in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, the Mexican navy said Monday. It is the first time in recent memory that such abductions have occurred.

Marines and other navy personnel have taken on an increasing role in Mexico’s ongoing battle against drug traffickers. Drug gangs have captured Mexican military personnel previously, but the victims have usually quickly turned up dead.

No bodies have been found in connection with the latest abductions. The naval cadet has been missing since Aug. 8 and the marines since Aug. 1, possibly indicating that they are being held as prisoners in an unusual practice even for Mexico’s bloody drug war.

ARGENTINA

Kirchner trounces rivals in primary election

BUENOS AIRES — Buoyed by a strong economy, President Cristina Kirchner got a boost for her re-election bid by trouncing her rivals in an open primary election.

With more than 95 percent of results tallied, Mrs. Kirchner was leading with 57 percent, way ahead of Ricardo Alfonsin, son of the late former President Raul Alfonsin, and former President Eduardo Duhalde. Both won a little more than 12 percent.

The commanding lead for the 58-year-old widow of former President Nestor Kirchner sets her clearly on track to clinch a second term in the Oct. 23 presidential election.

Hermes Binner, the socialist governor of Santa Fe province, was in fourth with 10.29 percent of votes.

CANADA

Woman swept over Niagara Falls presumed dead

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — Authorities said Monday that a woman is presumed to have drowned after being swept over Niagara Falls when she fell from a railing along the Canadian side of the Niagara River.

Niagara Parks Police in Ontario said two female students in their 20s from the Toronto area were visiting the falls Sunday night when one of them climbed onto a railing near the river’s edge and sat on a block pillar, with her legs straddling the railing.

Police said the woman stood up and apparently lost her footing, falling into the river about 80 feet upstream from the brink of the falls. Officials said the river’s swift current swept her over the falls.

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Crews hoist ferry off rocky reef

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Salvage crews unlodged a passenger ferry that ran aground on a rocky reef in the U.S. Virgin Islands last month.

The Royal Miss Belmar ferry struck a reef off the northeastern tip of Great St. James Island on the night of July 4, injuring five people.

The U.S. Coast Guard rescued all 98 passengers and four crew members aboard.

Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad said Sunday that a tugboat and a 400-ton barge crane were able to hoist and remove the ferry.

The Coast Guard is helping investigate what caused the ferry to go aground.

MEXICO

Police find 11 killed in Acapulco coastal resort

ACAPULCO — Police discovered the bodies of 11 people who were slain over the weekend in the Pacific coastal resort of Acapulco.

Eight of the victims were killed Sunday and three on Saturday, Guerrero state police said.

In one of Sunday’s shootings, authorities said, assailants firing from two passing cars gunned down four men. A 36-year-old man was injured.

Also Sunday, authorities discovered the bodies of a 23-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man who had been shot to death. In a separate section of the city, two men estimated to be in their 20s also had been shot to death.

On Saturday, the body of a man who had been beaten in several places was found half-buried in the ground wrapped in a bedspread, while two men who had been shot were found in a graveyard. One of them died of a gunshot wound to the back of the neck and the other died of bullet wounds on the way to a hospital.

Acapulco has experienced a spike of drug-related violence in recent months.


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