Wed, Oct 19, 2016 - Page 7 News List

World News Quick Take



Gang mutilates six people

Five men and a woman on Monday were found alive on a road with their hands amputated and their foreheads marked with the words: “I’m a thief.” The victims were mutilated by a criminal group linked to drug trafficking, which also left a dead man on the road and two bags with the severed hands in Tlaquepaque, near Guadalajara, the nation’s second-biggest city, police said. “They’re in a delicate state of health,” local police commander Roberto Larios told reporters. “Their stumps were wrapped in plastic.” Drug cartels often leave the dismembered bodies of victims on roadsides, making the discovery of six mutilated people alive all the more unusual. The dead man, 39, was apparently beaten to death and his hands were not cut off. He was married to the woman, who is 44. The other men are aged between 25 and 43. Authorities suspect that the gruesome crime is linked to drug dealing. Two of the victims have rap sheets. Witnesses said the victims were driven to the site in two vehicles and abandoned there with a note that said: “This happened to us for being thieves.” The message, signed “anti-thief elite group,” also threatens thieves and those who abuse women or children.


Noriega given hospital leave

A court has ordered that imprisoned former president Manuel Noriega be allowed to prepare for and recuperate from a surgery at a public hospital rather than prison. In a statement on Monday, the judiciary said the decision was based on a report from the country’s medical institute. The 82-year-old former strongman needs to have a benign brain tumor removed. He was scheduled to have the procedure in July, but apparently backed out, because he feared contracting an infection. Noriega’s lawyer, Ezra Angel, said that the court’s order, which he had not yet received formally, was in response to his petition that Noriega be allowed to recuperate at home.


Former judge accused

Federal prosecutors said a former Arkansas judge accused of giving lighter sentences to defendants in exchange for nude photographs and sexual acts tried to bribe witnesses and had an accomplice threaten to make one of them “disappear.” Joseph Boeckmann on Monday appeared disheveled as the accusations were levied during his arraignment hearing in District Court in Little Rock. The 70-year-old Boeckmann pleaded not guilty to bribery, fraud and other federal charges just hours after prosecutors unsealed a 21-count indictment.


Opposition faces new hurdle

The government-stacked courts have dealt another blow to the opposition’s attempts to unseat President Nicolas Maduro. In a decision on Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that opponents must collect signatures from 20 percent of registered voters in each of the country’s 24 states to force a recall referendum. The opposition had argued it needed to garner only 20 percent nationally to trigger the vote. The ruling will make it harder for opponents to mobilize support, especially in rural states dominated by the government, when it attempts next week to collect and electronically verify 4 million signatures over three days allotted for the petition drive. Polls show the public overwhelmingly wants to cut short Maduro’s term. However, the embattled socialist still has control over key institutions, including courts and the electoral council.

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