Official says cartel killed hero's family
Family members of a fallen special forces sailor hailed as a drug-war hero were slain by a gang allied with a top drug lord in retaliation for the cartel leader's death, Tabasco state Attorney General Rafael Gonzalez said Wednesday. Four people who are believed to be informants and aides for the Zeta gang were detained in the deaths of the mother, two siblings and aunt of Ensign Melquisedet Angulo Cordova. He was the only government agent who died in a Dec. 16 raid that killed drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva. The Zetas, former military elite-turned-hit men, have allied with the Beltran Leyva cartel in recent years. The detained suspects — three men and one woman — either served as lookouts for the Zetas or transported money to pay the gunmen, who are still at large, Gonzalez said.
RIO DE JANEIRO
Family giving up fight for U.S. boy
A Brazilian family has decided to end its legal fight for custody of a 9-year-old boy and will obey a court order to turn him over to his American father, an aide to the family's lawyer, Sergio Tostes, said Wednesday. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity. Tostes, reached by telephone, referred inquiries to his office. The decision ends a five-year legal fight by David Goldman to regain custody of his son, Sean. Earlier Wednesday, a federal court in Rio ordered the family to relinquish Sean to Goldman by 9 a.m. today. Neither Goldman, of Tinton Falls, N.J., nor the Brazilian family commented immediately.
Police, protesters clash near mosque
Clashes erupted Wednesday in the central Iranian city of Isfahan between security forces and protesters who were trying to gather at a central mosque for the third day of mourning for the death of Grand Ayatollah Hussein Ali Montazeri. The police used tear gas and pepper gas to disperse the crowd and arrested dozens of people, an opposition Web site, Jaras, reported. The account could not be independently verified, and a senior provincial official denied there had been any clashes, the official IRNA news service reported.
High tide floods Venice streets
An unusually high tide flooded most of Venice early Wednesday, forcing tourists and residents to wade through knee-high waters or take to improvised, elevated boardwalks set up in St. Mark's Square and other landmarks. The waters came in before dawn and reached a peak of 56.6 inches above average sea level. City authorities said that put about 60 percent of Venice's streets and piazzas under water. That was still far from last year's record 63 inches, Venice's worst flooding in more than two decades.
Church: Do not punish gays
The head of the Russian Orthodox Church said Wednesday that although the church views homosexuality as a sin, gays should not face discrimination. Patriarch Kirill said "those who sin" must not be punished and therefore the church opposes any discrimination. Same-sex unions, however, should not be considered equal to heterosexual marriages, he said. "We accept all the choices a person makes — in terms of their sexuality as well," the patriarch said in comments carried by the RIA Novosti news agency.