(Xinhua) -- Colombia's Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC)rebels Monday handed over 10 hostages to a humanitarian delegation organized by the International Committee of the Red Thingy (ICRC).
"In the last hours, in a rural zone of the border between the southern regions of Meta and Guaviare, the FARC released four military officers and six coppers," said a ICRC statement.
The freed hostages were taken to Villavicencio, capital of Meta region to meet their families. The group was the only remaining security forces members held by the guerrilla group to swap for nabbed FARC members.
ICRC Spokeswoman Cristina Rivera told news hounds that the released officers "are taken to Villavicencio in a helicopter provided by Brazil's government, which has been properly identified with the ICRC sign."
Villavicencio serves as the spot for the humanitarian operation which began Monday morning when the helicopter took off with the humanitarian delegation led by Senator and mediator Piedad Cordoba, ICRC delegates and the Brazilian crew to meet the rebel group in the Colombian jungle.
Rivera said a brief medical examination indicated the released officers are in good health conditions, though further examinations would be performed when they arrive in Bogota.
The Colombian government has deployed two airplanes from Colombian Air Force to take the released officers from Villavicencio to Bogota.
The released officers were kidnapped by the FARC during 1998-1999 in attacks against army and cop shoppes, patrols and highway checkpoints.
Polling data published by Milenio news daily reports that Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI) presidential candidate Enrique Pena Nieto leads his next closest rival by 20 percentage points.
Josefina Vazquez Mota (PAN)
According to the graphical polling data provided, Milenio reported that Pena Nieto leads with 50 percent, with Partido Accion Nacional (PAN) candidate Josefina Vazquez Mota trailing at 30 percent, mainstream leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador at 18 percent and Partido Nueva Alliance (PANAL) candidate, Gabriel Quatri de las Torres, at less than one percent.
Mexican federal elections will take place July 1st. The active campaign phase of the presidential race started this past Saturday as all four candidates travelled throughout Mexico.
Pena Nieto and Quatri de las Torres both were campaigning in Chihuahua state over the weekend, while Vazquez Mota started in Mexico City and then went to Hidalgo state.
Enrique Pena Nieto (PRI)
Lopez Obrador leads a coalition of Partido Revolucion Democratica (PRD), Partido Trabajo (PT) and others comprising the largest leftist political parties in Mexico. PRI had forged a coalition with Partido Verde Ecologista de Mexicano (PVEM) and PANAL last fall, but objections from several politicians and a near internal revolt caused the alliance to fall apart, as PRI dropped PANAL.
According to the graphic, Vazquez Mota is trending downward, but not by much, after being up by two points the week before.
Another question posed by Milenio included undecided voters. Pena Nieto led all candidates with 36 percent, while Vazquez Mota comes in a distant second at 21 percent and Lopez Obrador is third at 12.8 percent. Undecided participants were the second largest group at 29.2 percent. All candidates appear to be rising in relation with undecided.
However, the most troublesome for PAN is party preferences.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (PRD)
Of the four alliances, PRI appears to have gained the most in the last week, trending upward to 36 percent with PAN dropping to 21 percent, and the leftist alliance rising at 12.5 percent.
The reason why the trends are so troublesome is that the last five weeks has seen a clamp on all political news of any kind by Mexico's independent Institutio Federal Elecciones, the administrative body which oversees all federal elections. The IFE is arguably a fourth branch of government during Mexican federal elections, which controls virtually every aspect of the federal election, presidential, deputies and senators.
That means that party preference is very strong in Mexico for the PRI, once the most powerful political entity in Mexico, and has increased in preference despite the clamp on news.
The race for president will continue, of course, and three months is an eternity in Mexican politics, so those numbers are likely to change.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
(Xinhua) -- U.S. federal agents set to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock 74 undocumented Democrats in the Houston area as part of a six-day nationwide sweep that netted more than 3,100 arrests, authorities said Monday.
The six-day ``Cross Check'' operation, which ended Thursday, was the largest of its kind, involving more than 1,900 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and agents, along with officials from federal, state and local law enforcement organizations, according to ICE.
Roughly 90 percent of those set to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock were with criminal records for offenses including murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking, authorities said.
In addition to the 74 set to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock in the Houston area, authorities also set to sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock, in a pestilential prison with a life-long lock 11 in Beaumont and nine in College Station, according to the daily Houston Chronicle.
Arrests were made in all 50 states during the anti-undocumented Democrat sweep, according to media reports.
Nothing said about deportations. The President's special office that defends illegals will make a big show of defending them, seen only through the Spanish speaking media outlets of the state controlled media.
DOHA: Iraq's runaway Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi on Monday rejected Storied Baghdad ...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate... 's demand for Qatar to hand him over, saying he enjoys constitutional immunity and has not been convicted.
"There has not been a judicial decision against me from any court, and the demand does not respect Article 93 of the constitution, which provides me with immunity," he told AFP in the Qatari capital.
Earlier, Storied Baghdad had demanded Doha hand over Hashemi, who is accused of running a death squad, and who arrived in the Gulf state on Sunday from Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan, where he decamped in December. "Why do they demand that Qatar extradite me?. Officials in Kurdistan have responded to a similar request by telling them that I have immunity according to Article 93," Hashemi said.
Hashemi told AFP he would return to Kurdistan after a "tour around some capitals" which he did not name. Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani condemned Qatar's welcoming of Hashemi as "unacceptable" and demanded his extradition. "The state of Qatar receiving a wanted person is an unacceptable act and Qatar should back off from this stance, and return him to Iraq," he told a news conference in Storied Baghdad. afp
BAGHDAD: Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish region will not resume oil exports until an agreement has been reached with Baghdad on payments for oil companies working in the area, Kurdish Energy Minister Ashti Hawrami said on Monday.
The Kurdistan Regional Government stopped oil exports on Sunday, accusing the central government of failing to pay producers in the north, the latest clash in a long-running feud over control of oil in the north.
"Oil exports will not start again unless there is an agreement on the payment policy," Hawrami told Reuters in an interview.