Protest over energy reform
Tens of thousands of people marched in Mexico City on Friday to protest constitutional reforms pushed through by President Enrique Pena Nieto that open the oil and gas industry to foreign investment. An estimated 65,000 people gathered for the protest in the main square, an official at the Secretariat of Public Safety said. About 2,500 police officers were deployed, but there were no incidents of violence, the official said. The march was organized by the opposition Party of the Democratic Revolution. The reforms were approved in congress and ratified by a majority of states late last year.
Obama to visit Saudi
President Barack Obama plans to travel to Saudi Arabia next month on a mission to smooth tensions with Riyadh over policy on Iran’s nuclear program and the civil war in Syria, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Obama is preparing to meet with King Abdullah for a summit, the paper said, citing unnamed Arab officials briefed on the meetings. “This is about a deteriorating relationship” and declining trust, a senior Arab official said in discussing the need for the summit, which was pulled together in recent days, the newspaper reported. A White House spokeswoman declined to comment.
No immunity for India envoy
Federal prosecutors say an Indian diplomat who was strip-searched when arrested on charges she fraudulently obtained a work visa for her housekeeper and lied about the housekeeper’s pay is not covered by diplomatic immunity. Prosecutors say in papers filed on Friday in Manhattan federal court that since Devyani Khobragade is no longer in the country, she is not immune from prosecution. The papers also say the immunity she would have enjoyed at the consular level would not protect against the charges in this case. Khobragade was the deputy consul-general in New York City. The Department of State ordered to her to leave the country last month following her indictment.
Paper fined over cartoon
The media oversight agency fined the newspaper El Universo for a cartoon it published about prosecutors’ Dec. 27 search of the home of a journalist who has since left the country, authorities said on Friday. The agency also said Xavier Bonilla has 72 hours to “correct” his cartoon, which portrays soldiers slamming a door down onto Fernando Villavicencio and hauling computers and boxes of files from his home. Villavicencio investigates oil industry corruption and President Rafael Correa’s administration said he illegally obtained e-mails from Correa’s account. The agency said the cartoon “did not correspond to reality.” It fined El Universo 2 percent of its revenues from the past three months.
Warships off to Black Sea
Officials say the first of two warships heading into the Black Sea in advance of the Olympic Games has sailed from Italy. The USS Mount Whitney got under way on Friday from Gaeta and the frigate USS Taylor was expected to leave from Naples yesterday. The officials spoke about the warships on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to publicly disclose ship movements. The FBI also said at least two dozen agents are going to Sochi, Russia. FBI Director James Comey said Russian authorities face a serious threat and he wants the FBI to be ready to help.