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Cruises skip Mexican port

MEXICO CITY — Some cruise ship companies are canceling stops in the Mexican Pacific port of Mazatlan and others are considering it due to crime against tourists.

Disney Wonder has dropped calls to Mazatlan from its seven-night Mexican Riviera tour and replaced them with an additional stop in Cabo San Lucas on the Baja California peninsula.

"Safety is very important to us and we believe this change is necessary to provide the best family vacation experience for our guests," Company spokeswoman Christi Erwin Donnan said Wednesday.

Holland America Line replaced a Jan. 26 Mazatlan port call with one in the Pacific port of Manzanillo.

Afghan post may go to controversial warlord

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan warlord who's accused of gross human rights violations and who was once close to Osama bin Laden has received the backing of President Hamid Karzai for the important post of speaker of the new parliament, which was inaugurated Wednesday.

To the dismay of diplomats and many lawmakers, especially women and those from Afghanistan's ethnic Hazara community, Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, who's been accused of a string of atrocities during Afghanistan's civil war of the 1990s, is Karzai's early candidate for the speaker slot, members of parliament said.

Police chief fired after Moscow airport attack

MOSCOW — President Dmitry Medvedev fired a federal transport police chief Wednesday and lashed out at "passive" officers who guard Russia's airports and rail stations after an airport suicide bombing killed 35 people.

Medvedev, often criticized as hesitant or ineffectual, appeared eager to assert his power after Monday's attack at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, which also left 180 people wounded.

He announced the firing shortly before leaving for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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