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In brief: Interior: Oil rig near Cuba is safe

Tue., Jan. 10, 2012

HAVANA – A U.S. inspection of a Chinese-made oil rig due to begin drilling in waters off Cuba has determined that it meets international safety norms, the American government said Monday.

A statement issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior said members of its Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard completed its review of the Scarabeo-9 rig on Monday in Trinidad.

The inspection covered everything from the platform’s drilling equipment and safety systems to generators and the blowout preventer.

Plans to drill for oil off Cuba have raised concerns from some who fear a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, which killed 11 workers and spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

13 bodies dumped bore torture signs

MEXICO CITY – Authorities on Monday discovered 13 bodies dumped at a gas station near the city of Zitacuaro, about 90 miles west of Mexico City in Michoacan state.

The dead included two minors, state prosecutors said. All were male and most had been shot in the head and bore signs of torture. Hand-scrawled threatening messages that were left with the bodies alluded to the fight between rival drug cartels.

Michoacan has been the scene of intense warfare between the state’s once-dominant La Familia gang and a rival offshoot calling itself the Knights Templar. The state is also the first place President Felipe Calderon deployed troops when he launched his offensive against traffickers at the start of his administration in 2006. Michoacan is Calderon’s home state and recently saw regional elections badly marred by traffickers’ threats.

“We are once again news today, nationally and internationally, because of this macabre event,” Zitacuaro Mayor Juan Carlos Campos Ponce told reporters.

In more peaceful times, Zitacuaro was a jumping-off point for tourists observing the famous monarch butterflies who migrate to the region this time of year.


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