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Another Mexican journalist, Juan Lopez, 62,  killed after writing about drug seizure



   • Body found with ‘blow to the head’

Another Mexican journalist has been killed after he suffered a blow to the head while investigating a drug seizure and the recovery of stolen goods.

Juan Arjon Lopez, 62, is the latest of a string of journalist killings in the country, with at least 14 murdered so far this year.

The independent reporter was found in the northern border state of Sonora a week after going missing.

The body was identified by his tattoos in the town where he disappeared, San Luis Rio Colorado, showing ‘signs of violence’.

An autopsy showed he died from ‘head trauma due to a blunt blow’, the state Public Ministry said in a statement.

San Luis is across the border from Yuma, Arizona, and has long been known for medical and dentistry offices catering to Americans.

But the area has been hit by drug cartel violence in recent years.

In March, volunteer searchers found 11 bodies in clandestine burial pits in a stretch of desert near a garbage dump in San Luis.

‘He had a webpage (where) he covered security topics, he was known and recognized in San Luis,’ Balbina Flores of Reporters Without Borders told Reuters.

His final news reports on his Facebook page ‘What are you afraid of’ were about a drug seizure and the recovery of several stolen goods.

The state’s chief prosecutor, Claudia Contreras, said investigators would seek to determine if the killing was related to Lopez’s work as a journalist.

Human rights organization Article 19, which tracks murders of journalists, is looking into the case, a press representative said.

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San Luis is across the border from Yuma, Arizona, and has long been known for medical and dentistry offices catering to Americans (pictured: Crime scene)

Mexico is the deadliest country in the world for journalists outside of warzones, according to Article 19, which has counted at least 34 media workers killed in relation to work since President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office in December 2018.

Earlier this month, journalist Ernesto Mendez was killed in the central state of Guanajuato in a store he owned.

While organized crime is often involved in journalist killings, small town officials or politicians with political or criminal motivations are often suspects as well. Journalists running small news outlets in Mexico’s interior are easy targets.

In May, Yessenia Mollinedo Falconi, director of the online news site El Veraz, and Sheila Garcia, a reporter for the site, were murdered outside a convenience store in the municipality of Cosoleacaque.

The murders of Falconi and Garcia came just four days after journalist Luis Enrique Ramírez Ramos was found dead, his battered body wrapped in black plastic, by a dirt road in the northern state of Sinaloa, the stronghold of notorious narco kingpin Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s cartel.

Prosecutors said Ramos, who was found by security forces near a junkyard in the state capital of Culiacan in Sinaloa, had died from multiple blows to the head.

Ramos had previously stated that he felt in ‘imminent danger’ for his reporting, even though he largely avoided covering the drug cartels for fear of retribution, sticking mostly to political reporting.

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In early February, Heber López , director of the online news site Noticias Web, was shot dead in the southern state of Oaxaca. Reporter José Luis Gamboa was killed in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz on January 10

Before them, in March, the Monitor Michoacán director and reporter Armando Linares was shot dead by gunmen at his home in Zitacuaro, a city in the western state of Michoacán.

Linares’ murder came six weeks after his colleague Roberto Toledo, a camera operator and video editor at Monitor Michoacán, was shot to death as he prepared for an interview in Zitacuaro on January 31.

On March 4, gunmen killed Juan Carlos Muñiz, who covered crime for the online news site Testigo Minero in the state of Zacatecas.

Jorge Camero, the director of an online news site who was until recently a municipal worker in the northern state of Sonora, was murdered in late February.

In early February, Heber López, director of the online news site Noticias Web, was shot dead in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Reporter Lourdes Maldonado López was found shot dead inside her car in Tijuana on January 23, less than a week after crime photographer Margarito Martínez was gunned down outside his Tijuana home on January 17.

José Luis Gamboa was killed in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz on January 10.

(Daily Mail)

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Breaking: Aborted coup in Burkina Faso



• Captain Ibrahim Traoré head of Burkina Faso junta

• Junta says its intelligence and security services have foiled a coup attempt

An attempted coup in Burkina Faso was thwarted on Tuesday by security and intelligence services, the ruling junta announced on Wednesday.

It did not provide specifics or the name of the coup plotters, but said arrests have been made, while manhunt has begun for other collaborators.

In a statement it said officers and others had planned to destabilise the country with “the dark intention of attacking the institutions of the Republic and plunging our country in chaos.”

“Investigations will help unmask the instigators of this plot,” the junta said.

The junta on Monday suspended French news magazine Jeune Afrique for publishing “untruthful” articles that reported tension and discontent within Burkina Faso’s armed forces.

The next day thousands of pro-junta demonstrators took to the streets of the capital Ouagadougou and elsewhere to show their support, citing rumours of a brewing mutiny against the authorities.

The junta came to power after two military coups last year, triggered in part by worsening insurgency by armed groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that has destabilised Burkina Faso and its neighbours in West Africa’s Sahel region.

Over 50 Burkinabe soldiers and volunteer fighters were killed in clashes with militants in early September – the heaviest losses in months.

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56,000 schools shut over eye virus outbreak



A patient suffering from an eye infection gets examined by a doctor at a hospital in Lahore on September 27, 2023. More than 56,000 Pakistan schools will shut for the remainder of the week in a bid to curb a mass outbreak of a contagious eye virus, officials said on September 27. – AFP photo.

More than 56,000 Pakistan schools will shut for the rest of the week in a bid to curb a mass outbreak of a contagious eye virus, officials said Wednesday.

Millions of students will stay home from tomorrow after Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, announced blanket closures having recorded 357,000 conjunctivitis cases since the start of the year.

The fast-spreading eye infection causes redness, itchiness and discharge from the eyes and contamination can spread through hand contact, as well as coughing and sneezing.

“The closure has been announced as a proactive measure to give maximum protection to students against the infection,” Punjab Education Department spokesman Zulfiqar Ali told AFP.

There are 127,000,000 residents in eastern Punjab province and 56,000 state schools, as well as thousands of independent schools also subject to the shutdown.

“We hope this will break the cycle of the infection in the province,” Ali said.

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Army put on standby as UK Police hand in weapon



• UK police officer holding his firearms

The United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence is offering soldiers to support armed police in London after dozens of police officers stood down from firearms duties, BBC reports.

More than 100 officers have turned in permits allowing them to carry weapons, a source told the BBC, in support of a fellow officer who has been charged with murder over the fatal shooting of a young Black man, Chris Kaba.

The officer, named only as NX121, who appeared in court last week, has been charged over the death of Chris Kaba in September 2022.

Kaba died hours after he was struck by a single gunshot fired into the vehicle he was driving in the Streatham area of South London.

It later emerged that the Audi Mr Kaba was driving, which did not belong to him, had been linked by police to a gun incident the day before.

His death prompted a number of protests and renewed allegations of racism within the force.

The Ministry of Defence said it received a request, known as Military Aid to the Civil Authorities, from the Home Office to “provide routine counter-terrorism contingency support to the Metropolitan Police, should it be needed”.

A MACA is offered to the police or the NHS in emergency situations. The military helped medical staff in the Covid pandemic and covered for striking border staff and paramedics last year.

The Met said it was a “contingency option” that would only be used “in specific circumstances and where an appropriate policing response was not available”.

Military staff would not be used “in a routine policing capacity”, it added.

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On Saturday, the Met said its own officers still make up the vast majority of armed police in the capital but they were being supported by a limited number of firearms officers from neighbouring forces.

Announcing the review, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said the public “depend on our brave firearms officers to protect us”.

“In the interest of public safety they have to make split-second decisions under extraordinary pressures.”

She said that officers have her “full backing”.

“I will do everything in my power to support them,” she added.

In his letter to the home secretary, the Met Police commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, said that a system where officers are investigated for “safely pursuing suspects” should not have been allowed to develop.

Sir Mark said he would “make no comment” on any ongoing legal matters, but “the issues raised in this letter go back further”.

He said firearms officers are concerned that they will face years of legal proceedings, “even if they stick to the tactics and training they have been given”.

“Officers need sufficient legal protection to enable them to do their job and keep the public safe, and the confidence that it will be applied consistently and without fear or favour,” he wrote.

But in instances where officers act improperly, Sir Mark said the system “needs to move swiftly” rather than “tying itself in knots pursuing good officers through multiple legal processes”.

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