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Ritualistic slayings blamed on family

Fri., Dec. 16, 2005

Mexico City A judge committed eight relatives to the psychiatric ward of a prison Thursday for the ritualistic slayings of two young family members that shocked Mexico with their brutality.

Officials said the parents, grandparents and aunts of a 7-month-old and 13-year-old hacked the baby to death and fatally stoned the teenager earlier this month after they became convinced the girls were demons or possessed by the devil.

Judge Ana Maria Raya Razo, who committed each family member for 40 years, told the Associated Press they had acknowledged killing the girls to save themselves from demons. The slayings were accompanied by prayers, candle-lighting and the sacrifice of farm animals, officials said.

The killings – in the township of Penjamo in remote western Mexico – were prompted by a visit to a faith healer, authorities said.

Explosion reported at Russian nuke plant

St. Petersburg, Russia An explosion ripped through a smelter at a Russian nuclear power plant outside the northern city of St. Petersburg, but radiation levels were normal, Russia’s nuclear agency said today.

Rosenergoatom said three people were badly burned in the blast Thursday at the nuclear power plant. The smelter was located in the second unit, which had been shut down for major repairs in July, the agency said. A unit generally contains a reactor.

“There were no violations of safety levels and operating conditions of the energy units of the Leningrad nuclear plant,” Rosenergoatom said.

The RIA-Novosti news agency quoted the Emergency Situations Ministry as saying that the blast occurred in an industrial zone in the city of Sosnovy Bor. The ministry said that two of the three people injured had burns over 90 percent of their bodies.

U.N. peacekeepers pulled out of Eritrea

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia The United Nations reluctantly withdrew American and other peacekeeping staff from Eritrea on Thursday and said it faced a crisis in its monitoring of the country’s fragile peace with Ethiopia.

Amid fears of a new war, the U.N. Security Council bowed to Eritrean demands that all Americans, Canadians and Europeans leave. “The situation on the ground is that it is totally unacceptable,” said Undersecretary-General Jean-Marie Guehenno. “We don’t want to have the authorities of Eritrea tell us which nationalities we are going to relocate.”


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