Top statistician resigns
The nation’s top statistician has resigned after being accused of tweaking the country’s last census and under-reporting inflation. The resignation of Francisco Labbe, who ran the National Statistics Institute, came on Friday. Interior Minister Andres Chadwick promised full and transparent investigations. Labbe quit after the Center for Investigative Journalism reported he ordered his staff to over report the last year’s census figures by half a million people. El Mercurio newspaper on Saturday quoted him as saying he does not deserve this treatment — that he has “never even bounced a check in his life.” Labbe also faced pressure to modernize the nation’s consumer price collection. Economist Jorge Selaive says if Labbe did, annual inflation would be closer to 3 percent than the 1.5 percent reported last month.
Hundreds join taichi event
Hundreds of practitioners of taichi packed the tiny Chinatown area of Old Havana for a slow-motion celebration of the Chinese martial art. Men, women and children in traditional outfits went through the movements meant to exercise both mind and body as tourists gawked and took pictures. Roberto Vargas Lee is the director of Havana’s main taichi school and he says practitioners are searching for peace, as well as seeking to maintain their health. Vargas Lee said Saturday’s session was part of global World Tai Chi Day celebrations. He said about 8,000 people practice taichi nationwide. Seventy-four-year-old retiree Magaly Delgado said taichi brings “serenity and tranquility.” And she adds it also helps “fight the stress of everyday life.”
Prison battle leaves 13 dead
A battle between groups of prisoners left 13 inmates dead and another 65 injured on Saturday, according to officials in the state of San Luis Potosi. The clash began when a group of inmates, fed up with harassment by other prisoners, used homemade knives and picks to attack their rivals at the La Pila prison, the state attorney general’s office said. Agency spokeswoman Gabriela Gonzalez Chong called the violence a “fight not an uprising” against prison authorities. San Luis Potosi Governor Fernando Toranzo told a news conference that 13 inmates had died, and that 22 of the 65 injured were in serious condition. Toranzo said officials would investigate whether prison authorities played a role in the clash. Violent disputes between rival cartels and gangs often spill over into prisons, where fights, riots and escapes are common. The National Human Rights Commission reported last year that prisoners, often linked to drug gangs, effectively run the interior of many of the nation’s prisons. The Zetas drug gang has been especially active in San Luis Potosi in recent years.
Musicians killed in crash
Police said that 10 members of the musical group La Reyna de Monterrey have been killed and five injured in a road accident. A police official says the driver of the vehicle that was carrying the band dozed off on Saturday morning, causing the vehicle to strike the side of a truck then cross over into the other lane and crash head on with a tractor-trailer. The official spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons. The official said the impact was so powerful that many band members were thrown from the vehicle onto the highway connecting Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey.