March 25, 2012 in Nation/World

In brief: French Muslims training with Taliban

From Wire Reports

Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan – Dozens of French Muslims are training with the Taliban in northwestern Pakistan, raising fears of future attacks following the shooting deaths of seven people in southern France allegedly by a man who spent time in the region, Pakistani intelligence officials said Saturday.

Authorities are investigating whether Mohamed Merah, the Frenchman of Algerian descent who is suspected of killing three Jewish schoolchildren, a rabbi and three French paratroopers in Toulouse this month, was among the training group, the officials said. Merah, 23, was killed in a dramatic gunfight with police Thursday.

Merah traveled twice to Afghanistan in 2010 and to Pakistan in 2011, and said he trained with al-Qaida in the Pakistani militant stronghold of Waziristan.

Approximately 85 Frenchmen have been training with the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan tribal area for the past three years, according to the intelligence officials. Most of the men have dual nationality with France and North African countries.

Parties don’t meet quotas for women

Mexico City – Two of Mexico’s largest political parties have said they have not been able to comply with a legal requirement to reserve 40 percent of their congressional candidacies for women, electoral authorities said Saturday.

The position taken by the governing National Action Party and the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, as well as the smaller Green Party, was the latest chapter in a decade-long struggle to increase women’s participation in Mexican politics.

The announcement comes as President Felipe Calderon’s National Action Party is the country’s first major political party to nominate a female candidate for the presidency. Josefina Vazquez Mota is running No. 2 in opinion polls.

Leonardo Valdes, the president of Mexico’s federal electoral institute, said the three parties had notified him Thursday and Friday that they couldn’t meet the requirement.

Valdes said the parties could face “various legal consequences that would affect their participation” in July 1 presidential, senatorial and congressional elections but was not specific. Federal electoral law says authorities can refuse to register slates of candidates that don’t include enough women.

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