CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico

Mexico aids murder victims’ families

The government of a northern Mexico state has promised to give
free homes to 47 mothers of women killed in a string of sexually
motivated slayings, angering some activists who say the gifts gloss
over the lack of results in the criminal investigations.

Thirty families in Chihuahua state will receive the houses later
this month, with the rest distributed after the new government
takes office in October, said Victoria Caraveo, head of the
Chihuahua Women’s Institute.

“The houses are part of a program that aims at helping the
mothers rebuild their lives,” Caraveo said.

Mexican authorities say 340 women have been killed over the past
decade in Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.3 million people. About 90 of
the victims were sexually assaulted, strangled and dumped in the
desert surrounding this sprawling industrial city across the Rio
Grande River from El Paso, Texas.

Many of those killed were young women who migrated with their
families from poor rural towns in the Mexican countryside. They
often worked in factories or as maids to support their children or
help their parents.

The homes are being given to the families of 47 of the 90
sexual-assault victims. Only those who came forward received the
help.

 

BAGHDAD, Iraq

Gunmen kidnap two Americans in Iraq

A team of kidnappers grabbed two Americans and a Briton in a
dawn raid on their home on a leafy Baghdad street yesterday —
a bold abduction that underlines the increasing danger for
foreigners in the embattled capital as violence soars ahead of
national elections planned for early next year.

West of the capital, U.S. forces launched attacks yesterday in
the Sunni insurgent strongholds of Fallujah and Ramadi, killing up
to 60 insurgents in strikes against allies of terror mastermind Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi, a military statement said. The military said the
“foreign fighters” were killed near Fallujah, but
hospital officials there said the city was calm and that they had
not received any casualties.

The military launched what it called a “precision
strike” against a house in Fallujah and followed it with a
second strike in a nearby town. The second strike destroyed three
buildings allegedly used by Zarqawi’s network.

The U.S. Embassy identified the Americans as Jack Hensley and
Eugene Armstrong, but the identity of the British man was not
disclosed.

 

WASHINGTON

Bush’s budget calls for FAA funding cutbacks

The Bush administration wants to trim the Federal Aviation
Administration’s budget for buying new air traffic control
equipment at a time when more planes are in the air.

The administration has proposed cutting next year’s FAA
budget for equipment and facilities by 12.6 percent, from $2.862
billion to $2.5 billion. Both the House and the Senate have gone
along with that figure so far in the budget process.

“We’re investing the taxpayers’ money wisely
in systems that will have maximum benefits in minimal time,”
FAA spokesman Greg Martin said. Some programs have been deferred
because there isn’t a pressing need for them in the next
decade, he said. Those programs are in the beginning stages of
development.

 

KABUL, Afghanistan

Afghan president survives assassination attempt

Assailants fired a rocket at an American helicopter taking
President Hamid Karzai on a rare foray into Afghanistan’s
troubled provinces yesterday, but it missed and he escaped
injury.

Karzai has survived at least one previous attempt on his life.
He made light of the latest attack, which renewed concern about the
U.S.-backed leader’s safety amid Taliban threats to derail
the Oct. 9 presidential election.

Officials arrested three suspects.

The U.S. military said the rocket missed the chopper as it
approached a landing zone near the city of Gardez, 60 miles south
of Kabul. Karzai planned to open a school in Gardez.

 

— Compiled from Daily wire reports

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