Archive for Saturday, July 24, 2004

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July 24, 2004

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WASHINGTON, D.C.

Mexico seeks historic arrest of ex-president for genocide

The Mexican government sought Friday to charge former president Luis Echeverria with genocide in connection with a massacre in 1971 in which security forces killed at least 30 young protesters in Mexico City, officials said. The pending arrest breaks with Mexico's long history of impunity for its political leaders and marks the first time a former president has faced the possibility of criminal charges.

Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo Prieto asked a judge late Thursday to issue an arrest warrant for the 82-year-old former president, who governed from 1970 to 1976 during the most violent period of Mexico's campaign against anti-government activists, known as the "dirty war."

WASHINGTON, D.C.

Pentagon finds, releases Bush's Guard records

The Pentagon on Friday released newly discovered payroll records from President Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, though the records shed no new light on the president's activities that summer.

An official said the contention that the records were destroyed was an "inadvertent oversight."

Like records released earlier by the White House, these computerized payroll records show no indication Bush drilled with the Alabama unit during July, August and September of 1972. Pay records covering all of 1972, released previously, also indicated no guard service for Bush during those three months.

Saudi Arabia

Amnesty for militants ends; deal sought for al-Qaida chief

An amnesty period for Saudi militants ended with no major figures netted, but a cleric said Friday that negotiations were under way to try to get the purported al-Qaida chief in the Arabian Peninsula to surrender.

The Saudi Interior Ministry, seeking to encourage last-minute surrenders, said those who contacted authorities before the amnesty expired at midnight Thursday could still benefit from the offer, even if they don't turn themselves in until later. There was no word Friday if any militants made such an arrangement.

Sheik Safar al-Hawaly told The Associated Press that an intermediary was sent to al-Qaida chief Saleh Mohammed al-Aoofi on Thursday.

LOS ANGELES

Amid fires, officials weigh closure of national forests

Facing another potentially disastrous fire season, authorities in Southern California are contemplating drastic steps to keep flames at bay, including closing popular national forests to visitors.

In the past week, fires have destroyed more than 48,000 acres of dry brush and trees. Thousands of residents were evacuated, but only a handful of structures were lost.

If the hot, dry weather continues, forest officials "may be faced with some very tough decisions" to restrict use of national forests or close them, Angeles National Forest supervisor Jody Noiron said.

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