- - Monday, March 7, 2011


Van der Sloot to plead temporary insanity

LIMA | Joran van der Sloot’s attorney said Monday that his client will plead guilty to killing a young Peruvian woman he met while gambling but will argue temporary insanity in a bid for a shorter sentence.

Mr. Van der Sloot remains the key suspect in the 2005 disappearance of U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

Lawyer Maximo Altez says his client became enraged and killed Stephany Flores in May because she learned of his relation to Miss Holloway by looking in his laptop.

If the plea is accepted, Mr. Van der Sloot would be sentenced to a three- to five-year term. He is charged with first-degree murder, which carries a 15- to 35-year sentence.


Mayor fires 20-year-old female police chief

CIUDAD JUAREZ | A 20-year-old female student who became the police chief in one of Mexico’s most dangerous drug war towns was fired by the mayor Monday for not showing up to work after Mexican media reported that she had received death threats.

Marisol Valles, a criminology student in Ciudad Juarez, took charge of the police force in the neighboring municipality of Guerrero near El Paso, Texas, in October, sparking intense media attention after few candidates dared to apply for the dangerous job.

Mrs. Valles, the mother of an infant son, was due back at her post this week after taking personal leave on March 2, but Ciudad Juarez daily El Diario reported that she had fled Mexico after threats from drug gangs.

Meanwhile, Acapulco police announced the capture of a suspected drug gang leader linked to kidnappings, extortion, bribery and local drug distribution.


Ethics questions boost election talk

OTTAWA | Charges that senior officials broke campaign financing rules are causing headaches for Canada’s minority Conservative government as speculation about an imminent election grows.

The Conservatives, who took office in 2006 after a major scandal about kickbacks brought down the Liberal government, are trying to dismiss the affair as a difference of opinion over accounting.

Charges that top Conservatives broke spending limits during the 2006 election campaign are an embarrassment for a party that came to power on a promise to clean up Ottawa.


Carnival ends stops at resort port

MEXICO CITY | Carnival Cruise Lines on Monday become the latest ship operator to suspend stops in Mazatlan, citing violence in the Pacific coast resort city.

Carnival called the decision a precautionary measure, noting that “there have been no incidents involving cruise passengers.”

“We are working closely with the Mexican government and local officials to review their plans to improve security in all of the main tourist areas,” Carnival said in a statement. “Once we are comfortable with their plans and implementation, we expect to return to Mazatlan.”

The Carnival Splendor and Carnival Spirit ships will replace Mazatlan with additional calls in Cabo San Lucas and Manzanillo, the statement said.

Disney Wonder and Holland America also have recently canceled Mazatlan stops.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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