Quake strikes central state
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the center of the country early yesterday, but no casualties or major damage was reported, officials said. The quake struck just after midnight local time, east of the city of Huitzuco in Guerrero state, at a depth of about 50km, according to the National Seismological Service and the US Geological Survey. Although the quake was felt strongly in the capital, “in the preliminary report, Mexico City was not damaged,” Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera wrote on his Twitter feed. However, the power was out in some areas of the city, a local radio station reported, and the strong tremors sparked panic in some restaurants and bars, as customers hastily evacuated.
Gun control law signed
President Nicolas Maduro signed a gun control bill into law on Friday in a bid to rein in the country’s runaway violent crime. “I hereby sign into law this gun control law, for peace in our nation,” Maduro said in an address in Vargas state. The bill will allow sentences of up to 20 years in prison for any civilian convicted of illegally carrying or selling a firearm. It also restricts the sale of ammunition to civilians and bans weapons from being shown in public places. “Any arm that is confiscated will be destroyed immediately ... the sales of weapons and ammunition also ends,” National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said. There are some exceptions: People are allowed to use weapons to protect their property and themselves when in danger, and security personnel can use them when transporting valuable items. In the first quarter of this year, there were 3,400 murders. That followed another year of bloodletting that saw about 16,000 homicides nationwide last year, according to government data. There were 15 million firearms — legal and illegal — in a country of 29 million in 2009.
Capriles complains to pope
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles told Pope Francis on Saturday that the government was violating basic democratic and human rights, just two days before President Nicolas Maduro visits the Vatican. “We Venezuelans are subject to repeated human rights violations, without the government bodies in charge of guaranteeing and protecting those rights taking action, and quite often they are actually parties to the abuses,” Capriles said in a letter dated Wednesday. Maduro was proclaimed the winner of the April 14 presidential elections by a 1.5 percent margin, but Capriles has refused to concede, saying the elections were stolen. An audit of the results found no flaws in the snap vote to replace former president Hugo Chavez, the head of the National Electoral Commission reported on Tuesday.
Four men stabbed at mosque
Four men, including a police officer, were in hospital yesterday after being stabbed during an attack at a mosque in Birmingham, police said. Officers were called out to a mosque in the city’s Ward End area late on Saturday after reports that three men had been stabbed, a spokesman for West Midlands Police said. While a suspect was being arrested one of the officers was also stabbed, the spokesman added. All four of the victims were in a stable condition in hospital, he said. Police are holding a 32-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder.