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Relatives criticize Mexico's new number on missing

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 06:22 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Relatives of people missing in Mexico blasted authorities Wednesday as seemingly more interested in manipulating the data on the disappeared than on conducting thorough investigations.

The government last week revised the number of people believed to have disappeared since Mexico launched a war against drug traffickers in 2006, reporting that 22,322 had been reported missing. That was significantly higher than earlier estimates. In May, the government had said 8,000 people were missing.

Ecuadoran police sentenced for attack on president

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 05:44 PM

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) — An Ecuadoran court has sentenced six police officers to prison for attempting to kill President Rafael Correa during a protest in 2010.

A sentencing tribunal on Tuesday found the six officers were responsible for the attack, which forced Correa to seek refuge in a Quito hospital while soldiers fought against the rebellious police. Prosecutors based their case on witness testimony, documents and photos from the scene.

The officers were sentenced to 12 years in prison, the maximum allowed under Ecuador's penal code.

New police force sent to Mexican town near capital

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 05:14 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The first assignment for members of a new police force created to combat crimes affecting industry, farms and businesses is Valle de Bravo, a chic resort town near Mexico City that has seen a recent spate of kidnappings, an official said Tuesday.

Hundreds of members of the new force, known as the gendarmerie, have traveled to the town alongside a pine-rimmed lake.

Uruguayans can now sign up to grow pot at home

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 05:06 PM

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — People in Uruguay who want to grow marijuana legally can now register with the government to do so.

The government opened the registration period Wednesday as the South American country rolls out its marijuana legalization program in stages.

The rules for growing at home come with some restrictions. It can only be for personal use and there is a limit of six female plants, with an annual harvest of up to 480 grams.

UN panel: Crimes against humanity spread in Syria

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 04:44 PM

GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. panel is finding evidence of crimes by both the Syrian government and by the Islamic State group that is fighting against government troops there.

The independent commission says the government has likely used chlorine gas to attack civilians. And it says the Islamic State group has committed crimes against humanity with attacks on civilians in two provinces.

It's the first time the U.N. has assigned blame for use of the chemical agent.

Labor protest disrupts Argentine capital

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 04:03 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A labor organization opposed to Argentine President Cristina Fernandez caused traffic jams and disrupted life for many in the capital Wednesday at the start of a 36-hour strike.

Members of the Central Workers Union, which includes many public-sector employees, joined demonstrations that blocked major thoroughfares in Buenos Aires in a protest over taxes, wages and the overall cost of living in the country. Union members also called on the government to halt a wave of private-sector layoffs.

Banksy artwork sale gives youth club lifeline

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 03:57 PM

LONDON (AP) — A cash-strapped youth group in Bristol has sold a Banksy artwork to a private collector for 403,000 British pounds ($668,000) — securing the future of the club.

The work, "Mobile Lovers," shows a couple embracing while checking their mobile phones, their faces illuminated by the glow of the display. It first appeared on a doorway near the club, Broad Plain Working With Young People.

EU to beef up border agency to deal with migrants

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 02:11 PM

ROME (AP) — The European Commission agreed Wednesday to Italian demands to replace Rome's politically unpopular emergency operation for rescuing would-be refugees crossing the Mediterranean with an EU-wide project.

The European commissioner for home affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom, announced plans to beef up the European border patrol agency at a news conference in Brussels alongside Italy's interior minister. She urged all EU member states to contribute planes, ships and personnel to the "Frontex Plus" operation she hopes to launch by November.

Cypriots protest proposed bank loan legislation

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 02:09 PM

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Hundreds of Cypriots have staged a protest outside the presidential palace against proposed legislation aimed at helping the bailed-out country's beleaguered banks collect on bad loans.

Wednesday's protest by mostly left-wing groups comes ahead of a parliamentary vote on the legislation, which would allow banks to go after debtor's properties faster if they don't pay their mortgage costs.

Cyprus currently has a very lengthy foreclosures process and many bad loans.

Kenya rangers murder ivory poachers: report

POSTED BY: Associated Press
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 01:44 PM

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Corrupt Kenyan wildlife rangers are killing poachers to cover up the officers' collusion with the criminals slaughtering the country's elephants, a rights group alleges.

The disappearances of 18 suspected poachers were documented by Muslims for Human Rights over the last three years around Kenya's Tsavo National Park, a huge wildlife sanctuary that hosted 25,000 elephants in the 1970s but which has only 11,000 today.

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