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World briefs - February 27


Mexican police find ‘drug cannon’

MEXICALI, Mexico — Police in the border city of Mexicali say they have recovered a powerful improvised cannon used to hurl packets of marijuana across a border fence into California.

Police told the Televisa network that the device was made up of a plastic pipe and a crude metal tank that used compressed air from the engine of an old car.

The apparatus fired cylinders packed with drugs that weighed as much as 30 pounds, police.

It was confiscated last week after U.S. officers told Mexican police that they had been confiscating a large number of drug packages that appeared to have been fired over the border.

Armed men help 12 prisoners escape Mexican jail

MEXICO CITY — Mexican officials say a group of armed men broke into a prison and freed 12 prisoners in the state of Tamaulipas on the border with Texas.

The state attorney-general’s office says at least 15 gunmen seized the guard watching the entrance of the prison in Miguel Aleman Tuesday morning.

The prisoners had been charged with homicide, robbery, rape and acting as lookouts for drug gangs.

Mexico has suffered a series of prison breaks in recent years. One of the largest, the flight of 131 in the state of Coahuila in September, was blamed on the Zetas cartel.

Pair of officers gunned down in Santa Cruz

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — Two Santa Cruz police officers were shot and killed Tuesday while investigating a sexual assault, and a suspect was also fatally shot, authorities said.

The officers were shot around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, and Santa Cruz County Sheriff Phil Wowak confirmed Tuesday evening that they had died.

The shooting in the community about 60 miles (100 kilometres) south of San Francisco took place as police were investigating a report of a sexual assault, Wowak said. A suspect fired, hitting the two officers.

A suspect was shot while police were in pursuit of the shooter, the sheriff said. Authorities said that person also died.

Cyclone bears down on Western Australia

PERTH, Australia — Australia’s major iron ore port is closed and residents on a remote stretch of the country’s west coast are taking shelter from a powerful cyclone.

The storm with winds gusting to 230 kilometres (140 miles) per hour at its centre is expected to hit the Western Australia mining town of Port Hedland on Wednesday evening.

The outer edge of the storm has already brought wind gusts of 120 kilometres (75 miles) per hour to the port.

Up to 400 millimeters (16 inches) of rain is forecast within 24 hours.

 
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