Tourists escape Nile boat fire
A fire probably caused by a short-circuit aboard a cruise ship forced 77 tourists to be evacuated until the blaze was put out, state-run news agency MENA reported on Saturday, adding that no one was hurt. The fire broke out at near the stern of the Nile cruise ship between the pharaonic hub of Luxor and the town of Esna, also home to archeological sites, in the south of the country. MENA said that some of the 77 tourists refused to re-embark after the fire was extinguished. It did not give the nationalities of those on board. Nile cruises are a major attraction in the country where tourism is a key revenue earner.
Official faces drug charges
A police chief in the city of Rosario has been arrested for alleged ties to drug trafficking, a judicial source said on Saturday. Nestor Fernandez was arrested late on Friday on charges of alleged collusion with drug traffickers, the same charge being faced by the former police chief of Santa Fe Province, Hugo Tognoli, the source said. Tognoli was taken into custody on Monday after spending the weekend on the run and denied all allegations against him to the judge overseeing the case, said his lawyer, Eduardo Jauchen. Tognoli, who had resigned days before he was detained, is accused of protecting a drug lord and allowing the sale of cocaine to the owner of a brothel. The city of Rosario is located 310km north of the capital, Buenos Aires.
Six killed while worshipping
Six men who were holding a ceremony before a Goddess of Death altar were slain in a town in the north of the country, authorities said on Saturday. The occult figure, with its roots in indigenous culture, is also worshipped in the US. Although not part of the Christian religious tradition, it is widely seen as a sort of “patron saint” of drug traffickers and criminals. The men were holding the ceremony on Friday, a day after All Souls Day, in a town near Torreon, Coahuila state, prosecutors said. Two carloads of men rolled up, got out and opened fire, gunning down the six, prosecutors added. Mexicans celebrate the Day of the Dead (All Saints Day) by decorating the tombs of their deceased kin. The six men slain were decorating a Goddess of Death altar in similar style when they were killed, but the motive was not immediately clear. In 2003, the government recognized the Goddess of Death as a religious organization, but then under pressure from the Roman Catholic church, withdrew their recognition. The country’s drug war has claimed an estimated 60,000 lives in the past six years.
10 more killed in Sao Paulo
At least 10 people, including a suspected drug trafficker, were shot dead in the Sao Paulo metropolitan area in a 24-hour period in a worsening wave of violence in which military police have been targeted, officials said on Saturday. The latest victims were among some 20 people shot in the country’s most populous city. In the latest incident, a suspected drug trafficker was gunned down by state military police officers on Saturday after refusing an order to stop his vehicle on a Sao Paulo highway. Media reports identified him as a drug baron from Sao Paulo’s Paraisopolis slum, where 600 heavily-armed military police moved in on Monday after receiving information that a crime boss there had ordered the killing of military officers. Six other fatalities occurred in the nearby town of Sao Bernardo do Campo, including three killed in a shootout with police.