March 20, 2008 in Nation/World

World in brief: Drought straining water supplies

The Spokesman-Review

Israel is suffering its worst drought in a decade and will have to stop pumping from one of its main sources of drinking water, the Sea of Galilee, by the end of the summer, an official said Wednesday.

Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor said Israel must start pumping more groundwater from aquifers that are already depleted.

“The situation is very, very bad,” Schor said. “As we pump more from the aquifers, the quality of the water will go down.”

Israel’s water problem stems from population growth and rising prosperity that has seen an increase in lawns and gardens, Schor said. In addition, this winter was the fourth in a row in which Israel had low rainfall, with only about 50-60 percent of the average in most areas, he said. Israel’s rainy season ends this month and will not begin again until October.

Acapulco, Mexico

Gunmen open fire on band at dance

Gunmen opened fire on a band playing at a dance in the southern state of Guerrero, killing the singer and wounding three band members, in the latest in a series of killings of Mexican musicians, authorities said Wednesday.

The assailants opened fire as the band played Tuesday night in the town of Quechultenango, and then fled. Nicolas Villanueva, 38, lead vocalist for the tropical musical group Brisas del Mar, died from more than 20 bullet wounds.

There was no immediate information on a possible motive for the attack.

A string of Mexican musicians have been killed in recent years, with motives in most cases unclear. Some speculate that gunmen may target singers they don’t like, or who have sung songs about the drug trade, or who have become involved personally or on a business level with traffickers.


Couple receives front-page apology

For British tabloid editors, sorry always seems to be the hardest word.

Readers and journalists got a shock Wednesday when they saw the headlines in the Daily Express and the Daily Star: “Kate and Gerry McCann: Sorry.”

Both newspapers ran rare Page 1 apologies to the parents of missing child Madeleine McCann, acknowledging there was no evidence to support claims they caused their daughter’s death.

The words – and the papers’ $1 million libel payout to the McCanns – sent a chill through the British media. But some media-watchers doubted the case would rein in Britain’s fiercely competitive tabloids.

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