MEXICO CITY — Mexico's president is urging approval of a plan to replace local police departments with state forces so the government can better fight unrelenting drug violence that has claimed nearly 23,000 lives.
Part of the goal is to root out corruption by replacing generally low-paid, poorly educated local police, who are seen as more susceptible to bribery and intimidation by the powerful cartels.
It also aims to streamline operations and improve communication between police, President Felipe Calderon told a public safety commission Thursday before it approved the plan at the end of a three-hour session.
Pending a cost analysis, Calderon intends to present it to Congress when it resumes session in September.
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Cubans urged to save water amid drought
HAVANA — Cuba is urging people to save water amid what it is calling a critical drought that has left reservoirs at 40 percent capacity.
The Communist Party newspaper Granma says that reservoirs nationwide designed to hold 318 billion cubic feet of water have just 127 billion cubic feet.
Granma said Thursday that the current drought began in November 2008 and that 2009 was the fourth-driest year since 1900. The situation worsened following an especially dry May, when the island received only 47 percent of its usual monthly rainfall totals.