News in Brief

Alcohol and prostitutes: Obama's bodyguards sent home over inquiry

Several U.S. Secret Service agents protecting U.S. President Barack Obama were sent home over alleged misconduct in the historic Colombian city of Cartagena, ahead of the Summit of the Americas, media reported on Saturday. An investigation had been launched into "a very serious allegation" regarding the unspecified number of agents, the Washington Post quoted Jon Adler, president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, as saying. Edwin Donovan, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, said in a statement that the agents had been recalled and replaced with others, stressing that Obama's security had not been compromised during the changeover. (DPA )

Yemen: Twelve die in clash with Al-Qaida in south

Al-Qaida fighters attacked a security checkpoint in a southern Yemeni city on Saturday and killed four troops while losing eight of their own, a security official said. Militants in pickup trucks assaulted the security post in the outskirts of the port city of Aden, the official said. Another three Al-Qaida fighters and one security force member were wounded. In a separate incident, militants kidnapped a senior intelligence officer and two soldiers in the town of Radda south of the capital Sanaa, another official said. (AP )

15 dismembered bodies found in northern Mexico

The dismembered bodies of 15 people were found in two towns in the north-eastern Mexican state of Tamaulipas, on the U.S. border, media reported on Saturday citing the authorities. The bodies were found between Thursday and Friday in Ciudad Victoria and Ciudad Mante, in southern Tamaulipas, according to Mexican daily La Jornada, which cited military sources and the state's Justice department. The gang Los Zetas and the Gulf Cartel are active in the area. Around 50,000 people have been killed in Mexico over the past five years in incidents linked to organized crime, most of them in clashes between rival gangs or between gangs and the security forces. (DPA )

Macedonia mourns worst mass murder in its history

Macedonia is mourning the killing of five men, the worst mass murder in the history of the tiny Balkan country that has fueled speculation they were ethnic-related. The men were found shot dead late Thursday near an artificial lake just north of the capital, Skopje. The victims were ethnic Macedonians, all fishermen. Tensions have been simmering in Macedonia since the end of an armed rebellion in 2001, when ethnic Albanian rebels fought Macedonian government forces for about eight months, seeking greater rights for their community. The conflict left 80 people dead, and ended with the intervention of NATO troops. (AP )

Regional bloc recommends special force for Mali

West Africa's regional bloc is recommending the deployment of a regional force to Mali after rebels declared an independent state following a military coup last month. Regional bloc ECOWAS said Friday the force would help Mali secure its territory and serve as peacekeepers. ECOWAS says the regional force will be deployed if mediation talks fail. On March 21, soldiers sent President Amadou Toumani Toure into hiding, overturning a democratic tradition stretching back over two decades. Soldiers claimed they grabbed power because Toure had mishandled the Tuareg rebellion that began in January. (AP )