Tropical storm aims at Mexico

VERACRUZ, Mexico — The first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season gained force as it headed for Mexico's central Gulf coast Wednesday evening, bringing a threat of floods and mudslides.

Tropical Storm Arlene could become a weak hurricane before hitting land north of the coastal city of Tuxpan early today, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. Officials in the states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosi said they were monitoring the storm and preparing for flooding.

U.S. defendant wins legal victory in Italy

ROME — Amanda Knox won a crucial legal victory Wednesday as an independent forensic report said that much of the DNA evidence used to convict the American student and her co-defendant in the murder of her roommate is unreliable and possibly contaminated.

The review's findings that DNA testing used in the first trial was below international standards will boost Knox's chances of overturning her murder conviction.

The DNA evidence was key to the prosecution's case.

Peru dedicates giant statue of Jesus

LIMA, Peru — Peruvian President Alan Garcia has inaugurated a giant statue of Jesus similar to Rio de Janeiro's iconic Christ the Redeemer despite opposition from the mayor of Peru's capital.

"Christ of the Pacific" is 72 feet high and stands atop a 49-foot concrete base. It overlooks the Pacific Ocean from Lima.

The statue of Jesus with his arms spread has been criticized for its lack of originality. Lima Mayor Susana Villaran has said there are other places it could go besides her city.