160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! When Gregory Pike was told he had to have a busker’s permit for his strolling act, consisting of a rat riding on the back of a cat riding on the back of a dog, he figured it would be no big deal to get the $35 license. But Pike said that when he came out of City Hall in Santa Fe, N.M., with the itinerant vendor license, he walked into city animal-control officers who gave him citations for $500 because Booger, his Rottweiler-Labrador mix, and Kitty, the gray-and-black cat, had no tags proving they had their rabies shots and had been spayed or neutered. Pike also was not carrying the required poop bags. – Associated Press
MEXICO CITY – President George W. Bush asked Congress on Monday to approve a $1.4 billion aid package over the next two years to help the Mexican government fight narcotics traffickers, who have unleashed a bloody underworld war that has left more than 4,000 dead across Mexico in the last two years. The plan calls for the United States to give Mexico $500 million over the next 12 months to provide training for police and tools to dismantle drug cartels, including helicopters, surveillance planes, drug-sniffing dogs and software to track cases. An additional $50 million would go to Central American countries for the same purposes. The United States would also provide advisers to help vet police recruits, establish a witness protection program and set up citizen-complaint offices to cut down on the endemic corruption in Mexican police forces, State Department officials said. Thomas A. Shannon Jr., the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said the initiative was intended to bolster the administration of President Felipe Calderon as it continues an unprecedented crackdown on organized crime. Since taking office in December, Calderon has sent tens of thousands of troops into towns once controlled by drug cartels to restore order, extradited several well-known drug kingpins to the United States for prosecution and stepped up seizures of cocaine, guns and illicit cash. The result has been a violent backlash from criminal organizations. “We are at an important moment when organized crime presents a real threat to democratic governments in Central America and Mexico,” Shannon said. Billed as a “security cooperation initiative,” the agreement grew out of talks Bush held with Calderon last March in Merida, Mexico. Before and after the meeting, the Mexican president said that the United States did too little to reduce demand for drugs and to stop the flow of arms and cash southward into Mexico. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!