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Governor candidate killed; drug gangs cited

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The front-running candidate for governor in the violence-wracked border state of Tamaulipas was assassinated Monday, the first killing of a Mexican gubernatorial candidate in recent memory.

President Felipe Calderon blamed drug cartels for the assassination and warned that drug gangs are trying to infiltrate the election process.

Calderon said the assassination shows "organized crime is a permanent threat." He called on Mexicans to "close ranks to confront it."

Gunmen ambushed Rodolfo Torre's vehicle as he headed to a campaign event near the state capital, Ciudad Victoria. At least four other people traveling with him were killed.

Attacks and threats against candidates in the run-up to Sunday's elections have raised fears that drug cartels may be trying to buy off politicians and kill or intimidate those they oppose.


Landslide traps 107; little hope for survival

BEIJING (AP) -- A landslide caused by heavy rains trapped at least 107 people Monday in southwestern China, and there was little hope for their survival, a local official said. Rescue efforts were hindered by rain that threatened to wash more mud down hill slopes.

Many homes were buried when the landslide struck the village of Dazhai in Guizhou province on Monday afternoon after days of rain, a resident helping in the rescue effort, Huang Pangzun, told the Associated Press by phone.

The number of casualties was not immediately known, said an official in the province who would give only his surname, Xue. Another official, interviewed by state broadcaster CCTV, said nearly half a hill had collapsed, engulfing a wide area in mud.

Large areas of southern China have been hit by flooding in the last week, with at least 239 people killed and another 109 missing -- not including those from Monday's landslide.


Trial delayed in attack on New York student

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) -- Serb judges on Monday postponed until September the trial of a former Binghamton University basketball player charged with beating an American student into a coma and then fleeing to his native Serbia.

Miladin Kovacevic, accused of inflicting severe bodily harm with possible deadly consequences on Bryan Steinhauer after a barroom brawl in May 2008 in Binghamton, N.Y., told judges he would not enter his plea without his lawyer, who said he couldn't attend because he was busy with other cases.

The case had strained U.S.-Serbian relations when Belgrade said it legally could not extradite one of its citizens to face trial in another country, including the United States. The Serbian government paid $900,000 to Steinhauer's family as part of an agreement to try Kovacevic in Belgrade. Hillary Rodham Clinton intervened in the case, first as a U.S. senator and later as secretary of state, to make sure he was prosecuted.

On Monday, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., protested the delay, calling it an attempt "to shield this thug from the consequences of his actions."

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