March 13, 2005 in Nation/World

Police officer hurled, torched

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review
 

Mexico City Vigilantes killed a state police officer in southern Mexico, setting him on fire in revenge for the shooting of a taxi driver in a barroom brawl, authorities said Saturday.

The mob broke into a government building in Magdalena Tequisistlan, seized the officer and threw him from the third story, then doused him with gasoline and lit the fuel, according to the Oaxaca state attorney general’s office.

The officer reportedly shot a taxi driver Friday in a bar argument and was taken into custody in the town, 290 miles southeast of Mexico City.

The killing came amid heightened concerns about vigilante justice in Mexico, where people view police as inept or corrupt and say they must take security into their own hands.

The attack in Oaxaca state resembled a November killing in Mexico City when an angry crowd beat and burned alive two plainclothes federal agents and injured a third. The killings were captured on live television long before riot police arrived.

President Vicente Fox responded by firing Mexico City’s police chief and a top federal law official, blaming the capital city’s government for tolerating vigilantism. Dozens of people have been arrested in that attack.

Eleven die when train derails in Vietnam

Hanoi, Vietnam An express passenger train derailed Saturday in central Vietnam, killing 11 people and injuring dozens, hospital and railway officials said.

Some 350 passengers and crew members were aboard the train, which was heading from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, when eight of the 13 cars came off the tracks near the famous Hai Van mountain pass just south of Hue, Vietnam Television reported.

Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Minh of Hue Central Hospital said 10 people had died at the scene and another man died in the hospital.

Authorities were investigating the cause of the derailment, which left at least two carriages completely on their sides, while the others were leaning off the tracks.

Sinn Fein leader seeks support in U.S.

Belfast, Northern Ireland Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams went to the United States on Saturday in search of foreign support, but back home in Northern Ireland a controversy over the IRA’s killing of a Catholic man refused to go away.

Sinn Fein, reeling from accusations its members helped destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses, admitted a party election candidate was present in the bar where Irish Republican Army members attacked Robert McCartney.

Adams left Northern Ireland before the latest development. During his trip to the United States, he said he would emphasize that “the peace process has to be put together again” and would laud Irish-American backers who have “remained with this process through thick and through thin.”

Threat toward Taiwan seen as deterrent

Beijing A proposed Chinese law on possible military action against Taiwan and the island’s plans for war games are raising tensions, but analysts say the developments instead appear to be aimed at keeping the peace.

China’s legislature is expected on Monday to enshrine in law Beijing’s longtime threat to attack Taiwan if the self-ruled island pursues formal independence. Taiwanese leaders, in turn, say their military will practice repelling an assault.

“The law is intended as a deterrent, not as an excuse for taking some drastic action,” said William Overholt, Asia policy chair at RAND Corp., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based think tank.

Beijing says its goal is peaceful unification with Taiwan, which split from the communist mainland in 1949. But Chinese leaders’ immediate concern is to discourage Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian from pursuing what his mainland counterpart, Hu Jintao, calls “creeping independence.”


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