Mystery birth of Tex-Mex drug lord

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The Independent Online
Juan Garcia Abrego, the alleged Mexican cocaine baron, was born again - on the other side of the US-Mexican border from the site of his first appearance in the world. Garcia Abrego, who was captured near Monterrey on Sunday and hastily deported to a delighted United States the next day, has two birth certificates. Legal wrangling over them may determine his future.

His birth was first registered in Cameron County, Texas, and he is, therefore, American, Mexico's interior ministry insisted, producing faxed copies of the 1944 registration.

But just over the border, a Matamoros civil registry official said little Juan's birth certificate shows he was born ''on September 13, 1944, in this municipality''.

Que pasa? Along the Rio Grande, parents often register their children on both sides of the porous border. If Garcia Abrego can prove he is Mexican, he may be able to challenge his deportation to the US, where he starred on the FBI's most-wanted list.

Keen to wash their hands of him, Mexican officials are searching for his American passport, asserting that he ''didn't have a Mexican passport, at least [not] a real one.''

Garcia Abrego's US nationality, they say, was the reason he was so speedily dispatched to a Texas jail after his arrest. Government critics, however, say the haste had more to do with getting him out of Mexico before he could either bribe anyone or make statements that could embarrass officials.

The Prince of Wales is not the only heir to a European throne under fire for hunting. Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is ducking the same bullets. Dutch newspapers have been running advertisements calling on the Crown Prince to lay down his weapons, which he usually points at deer and wild boar.

''The heavy responsibility you bear as our future king cannot be combined with spreading death and destruction amongst defenceless animals,'' said the Foundation For Critical Wildlife Care.

By the start of the week, the prince had received several hundred faxes urging him to give up the pastime. Little hunting is actually done in the developed Netherlands, but stocks of boar and deer are maintained in the forests of Het Loo palace - and 170 of each species were shot last year.

Gaza's best-known female guerrilla used to throw grenades at Israeli army jeeps. In Nima al-Helo's last attack, in 1972, she lost an arm and an eye. Now she is hurling herself into the campaign for a seat in the Palestinian legislature.

Ms Helo is one of only 28 women among the 676 candidates chasing 88 seats on the council. Other statistics: she was detained for a total of 14 years, and spent 27 months on the run.

Her university classrooms, she said, were Israeli prison cells, and in a society where marriage and children are expected of women, Ms Helo has other priorities. ''I have an agenda,'' she told Reuters: ''To educate women, to protect the families of martyrs, to rebuild families destroyed by the Israeli occupation.''

Twenty-five years on, Al Gore still remembers Dr Trebla Erog, a Swedish gynaecologist. At a Nashville dinner to raise money for Jerry Thompson, a reporter at the Tennesseean who has cancer, the Vice-President recalled his days as a young reporter for the newspaper. Mr Thompson, he said, initiated new staff by phoning them, posing as a funeral director, and offering information for an obituary. The name of the deceased would be the reporter's name spelled backwards.

Albert Gore dutifully took down the information on Trebla Erog. And Mr Gore admitted, ''I wasn't even close'' to catching on to the joke.

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