martes, 30 de octubre de 2012

Venezuelan president changes defence minister

President Hugo Chávez Frías appointed the head of the navy Admiral Diego Molero Bellavia as the new defence minister on 29 October, replacing Henry Rangel Silva who was to compete in regional elections in December. Rangel would become the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV)'s candidate for the governorship of the western state of Trujillo in elections due on 16 December, Venezuela's state news agency reported. The change followed the decision by the governor of Trujillo Hugo Cabezas not to run for his own office, apparently for opposition by government allies in the political formation Gran Polo PatrióticoEuropa Press reported on 29 October. The reasons were not immediately clear but Cabezas said on 29 October that "disruptive points" had appeared and "unlike the President, we do not have the necessary leadership" to unify all PSUV members in Trujillo.

Poll measures Mexico's "addictions"

poll on addictions in Mexico found that drinking alcohol was Mexicans' principal addictive habit in 2011 and the number of occasional and regular drinkers increased in the preceding decade, El Universal reported on 30 October. The National Poll on Addictions (Encuesta Nacional de Adicciones) organized by three bodies including the Mexican health ministry, questioned a sample population aged 12-65 and compared results to polls taken in 2002 and 2008. It found a slight rise, from 4.1 to 6.2 per cent, in respondents classed as "dependent" on alcohol in 2011, compared to 2002. Respondents who said they had had a drink "at some point" increased in this time from 64.9 to 71.3 per cent. Also 10.8 per cent of men said they were dependent on drink in 2011, compared to 1.8 per cent of female respondents. Illegal drug use was shown to have stabilized compared to 2008, after a rise in use between 2002 and 2008. Of respondents 2.2 per cent said they smoked marijuana in 2011 compared to 1.7 per cent in 2008 and 1.2 per cent in 2002. Only 0.9 per cent of respondents admitted to consuming cocaine in 2011 compared to 0.8 per cent in 2008. In total 1.5 per cent of respondents said they used some form of illegal drug in 2011, compared to 1.4 per cent in 2008 and 0.8 per cent in 2002. The poll also found that 17.3 million Mexicans smoked in 2011, some 12 million of them being men and 1.7 million aged between 13 and 17, El Universal reported. Mexico's population was numbered at a little over 112.3 million in 2010.

Fourteen killed around Mexico

Fourteen people including five women and a teenager were killed around Mexico on 29 October in incidents mostly thought related to organized crime, Proceso reported. The dead included a woman gunned down outside a supermarket in Guachochi in the northern state of Chihuahua, in a scene likely seen by her three-year-old son who was sitting in a car nearby. Two women and a 13-year-old boy were gunned down in a beer shop in Guadalupe near the northern city of Monterrey. Soldiers also shot dead a gunman as they took over a ranch in the western state of Michoacán thought to belong to a presumed leader of the criminal gang Caballeros Templarios, Enrique Plancarte Solís or Kiki. Suspected gang members fled the estate, where an unspecified amount of arms and cash was found. In the west-coast resort of Acapulco, four or more armed men apparently sought to burn down a hotel after they entered pretending to be guests, Proceso reported on 29 October. Two entered the kitchens of the Costa Linda hotel on the coastal Miguel Alemán boulevard and started a fire with fuel, before the group fled. Staff put out the fire.

FARC attack kills six policemen in Colombia

Suspected members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) attacked a police post in western Colombia on 29 October, killing six members of the highway police, media reported. The attack with gunfire and explosives took place on a road between the districts of Puerto Tejada and Villarica in the north of the Cauca department, and was suspected to be the work of the FARC's Sixth Front, El Colombiano reported on 30 October.