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Government changes continue

Mon., Oct. 6, 2008

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced more changes to his government Sunday, completing a shake-up intended to strengthen the government as it faces the global economic crisis.

The government shuffle has also been seen partly as an attempt by Brown to bring his critics into a unity government.

The country’s first Muslim government minister, Shahid Malik, was named one of several ministers in the justice department.

In other appointments, Vernon Coaker became police minister, and Phil Woolas was named immigration minister. Earlier this year Woolas angered some Britons of Pakistani descent by suggesting marriage between cousins in the Pakistani community was leading to high rates of birth defects.

The government is hoping the changes will help tighten its grip on the economy as the global financial crisis deepens.


Police arrested in protester deaths

Five state police officers were arrested Sunday in connection with the deaths of four villagers during a raid on protesters who had seized the entrance of a Mayan archaeological site.

The five officers led an operation on Friday to remove hundreds of mostly indigenous villagers who had occupied the entrance of the Chinkultic ruins in southern Mexico for nearly a month, the Chiapas Justice Department said. The officers were being investigated on possible homicide charges.

The villagers, most of them from the Mayan Tzeltal and Tzotzil cultures, had been protesting excessive entrance fees and the failure to reinvest those fees into the area’s infrastructure and environment. They were demanding a role in the administration of the ruins.

Protesters fought the raid with sticks, rocks and machetes. They wrested 75 guns from the officers and poured gasoline on others, threatening to set them on fire, the department said.

From wire reports


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