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In brief: Millions of Germans to vote in state election

Berlin – Germany’s most populous state holds an election today, with polls showing good chances of victory for a center-left regional government that Chancellor Angela Merkel has sought to label as irresponsibly spendthrift.

About 13.2 million people are eligible to vote for the state legislature in North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany, which includes Cologne, Duesseldorf and the industrial Ruhr region.

Today’s election is the third state-level vote this year. It comes a week after a regional coalition of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats and the pro-market Free Democrats – the parties that make up the national government – lost power in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Gunmen attack office of Mexican newspaper

Mexico City – El Manana newspaper, long forced by threats to self-censor coverage of organized crime, was attacked late Friday night by gunmen in downtown Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, the latest news organization targeted by criminal groups seeking to control or intimidate the media.

Gunmen sprayed the building with high-caliber ammunition and tossed a homemade grenade at the building as the news staff worked on deadline to finish the next morning’s edition. No injuries were reported, said Ramon Cantu Deandar, El Manana’s co-owner, who added the staff was able to finish the edition and return to work on Saturday morning.

Mexico has become one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists as warring cartels fighting for turf and smuggling routes to the U.S. battle each other and the federal government’s attempts to restore order.

At least 51 journalists have been killed in recent years, according to the New York City-based Committee to Protect Journalists.


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