Saturday, 25 May 2013

Brazil Police Arrest 9 for Abusing Indian Girls

36 Hours in Auckland, New Zealand Changing the World, Step by Step ‘The Art of Controversy’ by Victor Navasky Modular building, a design approach that once focused on single-family homes, is becoming increasingly popular for multi-unit residences.

European Soccer’s Biggest Star May Be a Song Op-Ed: Seaside’s Last Summer? Let’s help the opposition with secure Internet connections.

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Friday, 24 May 2013

Venezuela Prosecutor to Open Probe Over Leaked Recording

Opposition deputies on Monday broadcast the recording of a conversation they said was between powerful state television commentator Mario Silva and a Cuban intelligence agent and later requested an investigation of it.

The man identified as Silva in the recording accused Diosdado Cabello, Congress chief and vice president of the ruling Socialist Party, of conspiring against President Nicolas Maduro and of illegally appropriating dollars through the country's currency control system.

"I have requested that an investigation be opened over the alleged recording of Mario Silva," chief state prosecutor Luisa Ortega said via her Twitter account.

Ortega could not immediately be reached for comment to confirm her remarks or to explain the extent of the planned investigation.

Her announcement came hours after opposition deputies asked state prosecutors to investigate the accusations made in the recording.

Silva - whose close relationship with late President Hugo Chavez led many to see him as more powerful than some cabinet ministers - denies having made the accusations, saying U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies manipulated recordings of his voice.

In the recording, the man identified as Silva says he received rifles from the ministry of defense for his own protection. He also questioned the results of last April's election, suggesting hackers had infiltrated the voting system to lower Maduro's margin of victory.

The person in the recording leveled accusations against a range of top officials, including First Lady Cilia Flores, Defense Minister Diego Molero, and Vice President Jorge Arreaza.

Opposition leaders called the recording evidence both of corruption and of a fierce power struggle at the top echelons of the ruling party following the death of Chavez in March.

(Reporting by Diego Ore; Editing by Brian Ellsworth and David Brunnstrom)

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Guantanamo Prisoners Tune In for Obama's Speech on Their Fate

"Detainees follow all coverage of Guantanamo closely, including today's speech, and the post-speech commentary, analysis and editorials," said Navy Captain Robert Durand, a spokesman for the Guantanamo detention operation.

"There is interest and discussion, but no discernible reaction," he said.

The camp holds 166 prisoners, most of whom have been held without charges for more than a decade. About 100 prisoners are on a hunger strike and dozens are being force-fed to keep them alive.

In a speech televised from Washington, Obama announced some steps toward meeting his goal of closing the detention camp. He lifted a moratorium on prisoner transfers to Yemen and called on Congress to end restrictions on other transfers.

Durand did not specify how many detainees had watched the speech. He said about two dozen had unrestricted access to television in communal settings and many others held in single cells were allowed to watch live TV during certain hours, including programming in Arabic, Farsi, English, Russian, Spanish and other languages.

They also read about Guantanamo in newspapers, which usually arrive at the remote camp in eastern Cuba within a week of publication, Durand said.

In March, a U.S. Marine Corps general said Obama's failure to mention Guantanamo during his January inaugural speech or his February State of the Union speech had contributed to a sense of abandonment fueling a hunger strike at the base.

(Editing by Alistair Bell and Lisa Shumaker)

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Cayman Islands Ex-Premier Denies New Allegations

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Factbox: Obama Outlines Steps Toward Closing Guantanamo Prison

Following are some facts about the detention operation at the U.S. Naval base in eastern Cuba:

* The United States set up the prison after U.S.-led forces invaded Afghanistan in pursuit the al Qaeda network behind the hijacked plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.

* Upon taking office in 2009, Obama ordered the detention operation at Guantanamo Bay closed by January 2010 but missed the deadline, partly because Congress imposed tough restrictions on where prisoners could be transferred. Repatriation of prisoners was not a policy viewed sympathetically by many Americans, even though the vast majority of the 166 inmates still at the prison have been held for more than a decade without charge.

* The first 20 prisoners arrived on January 11, 2002. They and other early arrivals were held at "Camp X-Ray," in chain-link wire cages that have long since been replaced by modern prison buildings. The prison has held a total of 779 foreign captives. Those who remain are from 23 nations and range in age from about 26 to 65.

* They include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 plot, and Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who is accused of orchestrating a bombing that killed 17 U.S. sailors aboard the USS Cole off Yemen in 2000. They also include low-level foot soldiers cleared for release by U.S. military and intelligence officials, and members of China's Uighur minority who were cleared years ago by a U.S. federal court.

* The ongoing tribunals at Guantanamo were authorized by President George W. Bush under rules that were later revised by the Obama administration. But only seven cases have been completed in 11 years, and convictions in two of those were overturned on appeal.

* Almost two-thirds of the Guantanamo prisoners - 103 of them - are taking part in a hunger strike to protest the failure to resolve their fate. With the fast now in its fourth month, 32 captives have lost so much weight that medics are keeping them alive by force-feeding them liquid nutrients through tubes inserted in their noses and down into their stomachs.

* Obama said on Thursday he had lifted a moratorium on repatriating prisoners to Yemen. He suspended transfers there in 2010 due to reports that an al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen was behind a failed attempt to blow up a U.S. airplane on Christmas Day 2009. A total of 86 Guantanamo prisoners have been cleared for release or transfer, 56 of them from Yemen, but Obama did not indicate when those Yemenis would go home.

* Obama also urged Congress to lift a ban on transferring Guantanamo prisoners to the United States and asked the Defense Department to designate a U.S. site to hold military tribunals for those facing charges.

* Nine prisoners have so far died at Guantanamo. Seven deaths were classified as suicides, mainly by hanging, and two were attributed to natural causes, namely colon cancer and heart attack.

* Many detainees have said they were tortured at Guantanamo. The U.S. government has acknowledged that interrogators used now-banned techniques that included sleep deprivation, extreme temperatures and loud music. Prisoners were also chained in painful "stress positions." The CIA admitted using the simulated drowning technique known as "waterboarding" on three of the captives who were held at secret prisons and then transferred to Guantanamo.

* The United States spends $150 million a year to run the Guantanamo prison, or about $900,000 a year per prisoner, and the Defense Department has asked for some $200 million more to replace worn-out buildings that were meant to be temporary. By comparison, super-maximum security prisons in the United States spend $60,000 to $70,000 a year to house each inmate. Guantanamo costs are high in part because of the U.S. economic embargo against Cuba, which forces the military to import food, fuel and supplies to the base from the United States.

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; Editing by David Brunnstrom)

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Americas Coalition Puts Marijuana Legalization Up for Discussion

The report, released by the Organization of American States walked a careful line in not recommending any single approach to the drug problem and encouraging “flexibility.”

Prompted by President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia at the Summit of the Americas last year to answer growing dissatisfaction and calls for new strategies in the drug war, the report’s 400 pages mainly summarize and distill previous research and debate on the subject.

But the fact that it gave weight to exploring legalizing or de-penalizing marijuana was seized on by advocates of more liberal drug use laws as a landmark and a potential catalyst for less restrictive laws in a number of countries.

“This takes the debate to a whole other level,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates more liberal drug use laws. “It effectively breaks the taboo on considering alternatives to the current prohibitionist approach.”

The report said “the drug problem requires a flexible approach,” and “it would be worthwhile to assess existing signals and trends that lean toward the decriminalization or legalization of the production, sale and use of marijuana.

“Sooner or later decisions in this area will need to be taken,” it said. “On the other hand, our report finds no significant support, in any country, for the decriminalization or legalization of the trafficking of other illicit drugs.”

Some analysts interpreted the inclusion of decriminalization as a thumb in the eye to the United States, the country with the heaviest drug consumption and one that has spent several billion dollars on drug interdiction in the Americas, only to find that marijuana and cocaine continue to flow heavily and that violence has surged in Mexico and Central America as the drugs move north.

The report comes two weeks before an O.A.S. meeting in Guatemala, whose president has been open to legalizing marijuana and where the central topic is drug policy in the hemisphere. Uruguay’s president has put forward a plan for the government to legalize and regulate the sale of marijuana.

“The region’s leaders expressed their frustration with the limits and exorbitant costs of current policies and their hunger for a fuller, more creative debate,” said John Walsh, a drug policy analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, a human rights group.

But the United States has so far rejected legalization as a solution to drug violence.

A State Department spokesman, William Ostick, said the report would be carefully reviewed and discussed with fellow O.A.S. members in Guatemala.

“We look forward to sharing our latest research and experiences on drug prevention and treatment, and to strengthening operational law enforcement cooperation with our partners around the globe in support of our common and shared responsibility for the world drug problem,” he said. “We know other leaders will similarly bring their own data, and anticipate a productive and useful dialogue.”

Kevin Sabet, director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida, said advocates of drug liberalization were overplaying the significance of the report, which he said contained a lot the Obama administration would agree with.

He said a discussion of legalization was only natural, particularly since two American states, Washington and Colorado, have moved in that direction.

But the report, he said, also suggested that countries in the hemisphere needed to redouble their efforts to fight the impunity of drug gangs, something often overlooked or played down in the debate on the war on drugs. The report notes that drug organizations have atomized into a range of gangs carrying out kidnapping, extortion and other crimes.

“Institutions in the drug-producing nations are going to have to change the way they do business,” Mr. Sabet said. “You cannot only rely on reducing demand and ignore deep-seated institutional problems.”

Mr. Santos, in accepting the report in Bogota, said more study was needed. “Let it be clear that no one here is defending any position, neither legalization, nor regulation, nor war at any cost,” he said. “What we have to do is use serious and well-considered studies like the one the O.A.S. has presented us with today to seek better solutions.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 18, 2013

A headline on an earlier version of this article misstated the scope of the O.A.S. report’s recommendations. It suggested discussing the legalization of marijuana; it did not suggest that marijuana be legalized.

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Monday, 20 May 2013

Sea Turtle Comeback in a Corner of the Caribbean

In years past, poachers from Grande Riviere and nearby towns would ransack the turtles' buried eggs and hack the critically threatened reptiles to death with machetes to sell their meat in the market. Now, the turtles are the focus of a thriving tourist trade, with people so devoted to them that they shoo birds away when the turtles first start out as tiny hatchlings scurrying to sea.

The number of leatherbacks on this tropical beach has rebounded in spectacular fashion, with some 500 females nesting each night during the peak season in May and June, along the 800-meter-long (875-yard) beach. Researchers now consider the beach at Grand Riviere, alongside a river that flows into the Atlantic, the most densely nested site for leatherbacks in the world. 

"It's sometimes hard remembering that leatherbacks are actually endangered," said tour guide Nicholas Alexander as he watched more emerge from the surf.

With instincts honed over 100 million years, these mighty leatherbacks have migrated from cold North Atlantic waters in Canada and northern Europe to nest. The air-breathing reptiles can dive to ocean depths of more than 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) and remain underwater for an hour. They are bigger, stronger, and tolerate colder temperatures than any other marine turtle.

On a recent night, the protected beach was so busy that female leatherback turtles bumped into each other as they trudged up the sloping beach. Occasionally grunting from the effort, the big reptiles swept away powdery sand with their front flippers and then painstakingly dug holes with their rear flippers, laying dozens of white eggs before heading back to the ocean. These same females will be back in about 10 days to deposit more eggs.

The resurgence of leatherbacks in Trinidad is touted by many as a major achievement, with more than half of all adult leatherbacks on the planet having been lost since 1980, mostly in the Eastern Pacific and Asia.

When local conservation efforts started here in the early 1990s, locals say a maximum of 30 turtles emerged from the surf overnight during the peak of the six-month nesting season. Now, at Grande Riviere and in the eastern community of Matura, where another major leatherback colony has grown, locals say more than 700 of the turtles appear overnight at the very height of the season, in May and June.

Flourishing turtle tourism is providing good livelihoods for people in formerly dead-end farming towns, with the Trinidad-based group Turtle Village Trust saying it brings in some $8.2 million annually. The inflow of visitors, both domestic and foreign, to Trinidad's northeast coast jumped from 6,500 in 2000 to over 60,000 in 2012. Officials with the U.S.-based Sea Turtle Conservancy say Trinidad is now likely the world's leading tourist destination for people to see leatherbacks.

Hopes are high that tourism boom can help the creatures survive a slew of pressures. In a 2009 global study on the economics of marine turtle tourism, researchers from the environmental group World Wildlife Fund found turtle tourism earned nearly three times as much money as the sale of turtle meat, leather and eggs.

While Trinidad supports some 80 percent of total leatherback nesting in the Caribbean, with a population of some 15,000 females laying eggs every two years, the turtles are also flourishing in other spots around the region.

In northern Guyana, leatherbacks have become the most abundant marine turtle species instead of the rarest one as it was in recent decades. In neighboring Suriname, the creatures' numbers have jumped tenfold, according to a 2007 assessment by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Reporter Remembers Fear in Videla's Argentina

I had trekked out to isolated Neuquen province looking for Maria Estela Martinez de Peron, the constitutionally elected leader that Videla and his military cohorts had just toppled. Working for The Associated Press, I wanted to talk to her, her captors or anyone else to get the story.

As it turns out, I could have been one of the military junta's first victims that sunny afternoon.

The waters of the giant Nahuel Huapi lake, protected by the Andean mountain range, were rough and troubled, as I walked along its shores toward El Messidor castle, where de Peron was rumored to be held.

I was literally on top of the world. The sunlight reflected off the eternal snows capping the towering peaks around me.

Then a gruff, martial voice brought me back to earth, piercing me like a frozen blade: "What are you doing here? Who are you?"

An enormous officer headed a patrol of about a dozen angry-looking soldiers, all dressed in olive green, approaching from the castle.

I responded uneasily, "I'm a journalist."

The officer's response was quick and menacing: "We don't want journalists or Peronists; give me your documents."

On one side were the soldiers, on the other the castle.

Just hours after the coup, an iron lid of silence had already clamped shut on the whereabouts and condition of de Peron, and I knew trying to find her would be risky. Even before the coup, people were being killed or going missing during the back-and-forth between the military and leftist militants.

I was the only reporter anywhere near that lake, and in that era before cellphones, my only defense was my pen and notepad.

About 9,000 people were ultimately killed or disappeared during Argentina's 1976-1983 dictatorship, according to an official accounting after democracy returned. Human rights activists believe the real number was as high as 30,000. The dead were not only those who had been involved in armed conflict, but journalists, dissidents, unionists and citizens caught in the crossfire.

My life during the dictatorship quickly became a surreal and dangerous search for the truth in a country convulsed by violence.

At one point, I had to tour all the public restrooms in central Buenos Aires because the Montoneros and People's Revolutionary Army urban guerrillas left their communiques behind toilets, mirrors or inside spouts or pipes. A spokesman for the guerrillas would call the office and let us know which bathroom they had written their missive in, and I'd rush there to check.

At the center of it all was the lanky, mustached Videla, whom many dubbed "Panther," because his gait resembled that of the "Pink Panther" in the popular movies and cartoons. With Videla's death Friday at age 87, many Argentines are remembering those dark days.

We watched the "panther," surrounded by his fellow junta leaders, jumping in celebration and shouting "goal!" at River Plate stadium as Argentina beat Holland during the 1978 World Cup final. To improve his image, Videla was portrayed as playing a role in helping Argentina win the title.

Less than a kilometer (about half a mile) away from the stadium was the Navy Mechanics' School, the largest clandestine detention and torture center during Argentina's "dirty war." Thousands of people were taken there, never to be seen again.

I passed the school every time I went to the stadium, which seemed so placid and well-maintained, at least from the outside. I never suspected what was going on inside.

Among the people who were killed or disappeared after entering its doors were French nuns Alice Domon and Leonie Duquet, Argentine journalist and writer Rodolfo Walsh and Azucena Villaflor, one of the founds of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group.

My AP colleague at the time, Oscar J. Serrat, was abducted for a day by soldiers and only released following intense lobbying.

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Syria's Assad: Little Chance Peace Talks Would Succeed-Newspaper

Speaking in Syria with the newspaper Clarin, Assad said he was doubtful that mediation the United States and Russia have proposed could settle a deadly conflict that has convulsed the country for two years.

"There is confusion in the world between a political solution and terrorism. They think a political conference will halt terrorists in the country. That is unrealistic," he said in reference to insurgent groups seeking to unseat him.

Rebels demanding Assad's resignation have also voiced skepticism about the proposed peace talks.

Assad reiterated he would not resign and said peace talks would not make sense because the opposition was too fragmented to negotiate an agreement.

"No dialogue with terrorists," he said. Videotaped excerpts of the interview were posted on Clarin's website.

The Syrian conflict started with mainly peaceful demonstrations against Assad, but turned into a civil war in which the United Nations says tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Islamist militants have emerged as the most potent of the anti-Assad rebels.

On Friday, the outlook for talks appeared to hit snags.

The United States chided Russia for sending missiles to the Syrian government, while France made clear it would oppose any meeting if Assad's regional ally Iran were invited.

Russia's position is that Tehran should be part of any solution.

(Reporting by Maximiliano Rizzi; Editing by Terry Wade and Peter Cooney)

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Brazil Beefs Up Security for Confederations Cup

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Church Must Help the Poorest, Not Dissect Theology, Pope Says

Francis, who has made straight talk and simplicity a hallmark of his papacy, made his unscripted comments in answers to questions by four people at a huge international gathering of Catholic associations in St. Peter's Square.

But he outdid himself in passionately discussing everything from the memory of his grandmother to his decision to become a priest, from political corruption to his worries about a Church that too often closes in on itself instead of looking outward.

"If we step outside of ourselves, we will find poverty," he said, repeating his call for Catholics to do more to seek out those on the fringes of society who need help the most," he said from the steps of St. Peter's Basilica

"Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don't have food - that's not news. This is grave. We can't rest easy while things are this way."

The crowd, most of whom are already involved in charity work, interrupted him often with applause.

"We cannot become starched Christians, too polite, who speak of theology calmly over tea. We have to become courageous Christians and seek out those (who need help most)," he said.

To laughter from the crowd, he described how he prays each day before an altar before going to bed.

"Sometimes I doze off, the fatigue of the day makes you fall asleep, but he (God) understands," he said.


Francis, the former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, said the world was going through not just an economic crisis but a crisis of values.

"This is happening today. If investments in banks fall, it is a tragedy and people say 'what are we going to do?' but if people die of hunger, have nothing to eat or suffer from poor health, that's nothing. This is our crisis today. A Church that is poor and for the poor has to fight this mentality," he said.

Many in the crowd planned to stay in the square overnight to pray and prepare for Francis' Mass on Sunday, when the Catholic Church marks Pentecost, the day it teaches that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles.

On Saturday morning, Francis met German Chancellor Angela Merkel and discussed Europe's economic crisis.

Apparently responding to his criticism of a heartless "dictatorship of the economy" earlier in the week, Merkel, who is up for re-election in September, later called for stronger regulation of financial markets.

On Thursday, Francis appealed in a speech for world financial reform, saying the global economic crisis had made life worse for millions in rich and poor countries.

(Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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Sunday, 19 May 2013

3 Killed, 3 Injured in Puerto Rico Shooting

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Daft Punk Gets Human With a New Album Exposures: Prisoners Onstage Readers discuss how to adapt to a changing job market.

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Mexico Judge Orders Prison for Suspects in Killing

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The Health Toll of Immigration

BROWNSVILLE, Tex. — Becoming an American can be bad for your health.

A growing body of mortality research on immigrants has shown that the longer they live in this country, the worse their rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. And while their American-born children may have more money, they tend to live shorter lives than the parents.

The pattern goes against any notion that moving to America improves every aspect of life. It also demonstrates that at least in terms of health, worries about assimilation for the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants are mistaken. In fact, it is happening all too quickly.

“There’s something about life in the United States that is not conducive to good health across generations,” said Robert A. Hummer, a social demographer at the University of Texas at Austin.

For Hispanics, now the nation’s largest immigrant group, the foreign-born live about three years longer than their American-born counterparts, several studies have found.

Why does life in the United States — despite its sophisticated health care system and high per capita wages — lead to worse health? New research is showing that the immigrant advantage wears off with the adoption of American behaviors — smoking, drinking, high-calorie diets and sedentary lifestyles.

Here in Brownsville, a worn border city studded with fast-food restaurants, immigrants say that happens slowly, almost imperceptibly. In America, foods like ham and bread that are not supposed to be sweet are. And children lose their taste for traditional Mexican foods like cactus and beans.

For the recently arrived, the quantity and accessibility of food speaks to the boundless promise of the United States. Esther Angeles remembers being amazed at the size of hamburgers — as big as dinner plates — when she first came to the United States from Mexico 15 years ago.

“I thought, this is really a country of opportunity,” she said. “Look at the size of the food!”

Fast-food fare not only tasted good, but was also a sign of success, a family treat that new earnings put in reach.

“The crispiness was delicious,” said Juan Muniz, 62, recalling his first visit to Church’s Chicken with his family in the late 1970s. “I was proud and excited to eat out. I’d tell them: ‘Let’s go eat. We can afford it now.’ ”

For others, supersize deals appealed.

“You work so hard, you want to use your money in a smart way,” said Aris Ramirez, a community health worker in Brownsville, explaining the thinking. “So when they hear ‘twice the fries for an extra 49 cents,’ people think, ‘That’s economical.’ ”

For Ms. Angeles, the excitement of big food eventually wore off, and the frantic pace of the modern American workplace took over. She found herself eating hamburgers more because they were convenient and she was busy in her 78-hour-a-week job as a housekeeper. What is more, she lost control over her daughter’s diet because, as a single mother, she was rarely with her at mealtimes.

Robert O. Valdez, a professor of family and community medicine and economics at the University of New Mexico, said, “All the things we tell people to do from a clinical perspective today — a lot of fiber and less meat — were exactly the lifestyle habits that immigrants were normally keeping.”

As early as the 1970s, researchers found that immigrants lived several years longer than American-born whites even though they tended to have less education and lower income, factors usually associated with worse health. That gap has grown since 1980. Less clear, however, was what happened to immigrants and their American-born offspring after a lifetime in the United States.

Evidence is mounting that the second generation does worse. Elizabeth Arias, a demographer at the National Center for Health Statistics, has made exploratory estimates based on data from 2007 to 2009, which show that Hispanic immigrants live 2.9 years longer than American-born Hispanics. The finding, which has not yet been published, is similar to those in earlier studies.

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Two Men Charged With Killing Malcolm X Grandson

David Hernandez and Manuel Perez, waiters at the Palace nightclub near Mexico City's popular Garibaldi Square, face charges of murder and robbery, the official said.

Malcolm Shabazz, who police have said was 29, died May 9 at the Palace after a dispute over a $1,200 bill. Hernandez and Perez were arrested on Monday.

Shabazz, who was convicted of manslaughter as a 12-year-old for setting a fire that killed his grandmother and went to prison as an adult for attempted robbery, was in Mexico City to visit Miguel Suarez, an immigration activist who was recently deported from the United States. Shabazz

On the night of May 8 Shabazz and Suarez visited the run-down area around Plaza Garibaldi, a popular tourist area where Mariachi music groups play on the streets amid seedy strip clubs, dive bars and bordellos.

Despite its proximity to the city's grand colonial center, the area is infamous for petty crime.

Malcolm X was a civil rights activist and leader of the black Muslim movement in the United States. He was shot to death before a speaking appearance in New York City in 1965.

(Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Dissident Ex-General Released in Venezuela

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Upmarket Pakistan District Votes Again as Imran Khan Decries Killing

It was not immediately clear who killed Zara Shahid Hussain, a senior member of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party of former cricket hero Imran Khan, who accused the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) party, which has a stranglehold on the city.

MQM leaders denied responsibility and demanded a retraction from Khan.

The attack in the upscale Defence area, the family neighbourhood of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, capped a bloody election campaign in which around 150 people were killed nationwide.

Last Saturday's elections handed a landslide victory to opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

But results from a handful of constituencies across the country are still uncertain amid accusations of vote-rigging. There is repolling in a few others where security issues prevented voting.

Last week's election gave the MQM 18 of 19 national assembly seats in Karachi. The constituency where Sunday's repoll was taking place, known blandly as NA-250, is thought to be a stronghold of the PTI.

Whatever the results, Sharif's national landslide win is assured. But as Pakistan's financial centre, Karachi generates around half of government revenues and stability in the city is key to stability of the whole country.

Sunday's voting took place at 43 polling stations across the constituency and, for the first time, each ballot box was guarded by a ranger and a soldier inside the booth instead of outside.

Police said that two gunmen shot Hussain outside her home in Defence.

"Her death has sent shockwaves across the rank and file of the party," Khan said in a statement.

"I hold (MQM leader) Altaf Hussain directly responsible for the murder as he openly threatened PTI workers and leaders through public broadcasts," Khan, recovering in hospital from a fall during campaigning, added in a tweet.

"I also hold the British government responsible as I had warned them about British citizen Altaf Hussain after his open threats."

Altaf Hussain is accused of murder in Pakistan and leads his party remotely from exile in England. His party is designated a terrorist organization by Canada, a charge it strongly denies.

In recent days he gave a speech which many Pakistanis felt was an incitement to attack political rivals. British police are investigating whether or not it constituted a hate speech.

The MQM, a secular party, is locked in a battle with various rival contenders for influence in Karachi, including Pakistan's Taliban movement, which has sought to gain a foothold in various districts on the outskirts of the city in recent years.

Khan's election campaign electrified many Pakistanis, pushing the PTI from a marginal party to Pakistan's third largest.

Karachi, the nuclear-armed country's key port, is home to 18 million people. It typically sees about a dozen murders a day, a combination of political killings, attacks by the Pakistan Taliban and sectarian militant groups, and street crime.

(Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing)

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