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Drug cartel gunmen slaughter 17, bringing bloody weekend’s murder total to 50

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Gunmen armed with machine guns shot dead at least 17 party-goers Sunday, in a pre-dawn attack outside the northern Mexican city of Torreon, officials said.

Authorities said the heavily armed attackers also wounded 10 others as they sprayed bullets through a recreation center in Coahuila state, near Mexico’s northern border with the United States.

A source with the state police department said witnesses reported hearing members of the group yell “kill them all” before they opened fire.

The attack took place at around 1:30 am (0630 GMT) at the recreation center, a popular weekend retreat situated in a usually calm suburb among gardens and lakes. Authorities said they found more than 200 bullet casings fired from automatic weapons following the massacre.

Officials said most of the shooting victims were in their 20s and 30s.

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Sunday’s attack brings the number of shooting victims in Mexico to at least 50 over the weekend, most of them in the north of the country.

The brazen shooting was reminiscent of a similar attack in late January when hitmen working for a drug gang opened fire on 16 young partygoers in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez.

In that attack, some 15 gunmen opened fire on a house party packed with teenagers, most of whom were high school or college students. Some were shot outside the dwelling, others mowed down by the gunmen as they tried to flee.

Violent attacks remain part of daily life in some areas, particularly around the northern border with the United States.

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The northern border region, which has several key trafficking routes into the United States, has seen some of the fiercest fighting between Mexico’s powerful drug gangs and with security forces in recent years.

Almost 25,000 people have died in a spiraling drug-related violence in the past three and a half years in Mexico amid a military crackdown on organized crime involving some 50,000 troops.

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s most violent city has been hardest-hit by the violence from the bloody turf wars, with some 2,660 murders in 2009 alone — more than seven a day on average.

But Torreon also increasingly has been the scene of recent drug-related violence.

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A few days after that Ciudad Juarez house party shooting, gunmen killed 10 people in a weekend shooting in February at a crowded bar.

And two shootouts here later that month, between federal police and suspected members of the Los Zetas drug gang, left seven traffickers and one policeman dead.

Photo: A mock-slaughter staged by drug policy activists in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

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2020 Election

Rep. Ted Lieu: Impeachment is coming — and so is a Democratic president

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Donald Trump recently called “impeachment” a “dirty, filthy, disgusting word,” but his continued stonewalling of legitimate congressional oversight requests are moving more and more House Democrats to embrace that “filthy” concept. That was the very point made by Rep. Ted Lieu of California, a progressive Democrat who sits on the House Judiciary Committee during our recent conversation on “Salon Talks.” That committee would be the starting point for an actual impeachment inquiry of the president.

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US kicks off Mideast plan, with Palestinians boycotting

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After a wait of two and a half years, the US administration is launching its Middle East peace plan Tuesday -- with an economic initiative that the Palestinians are boycotting.

For this most unconventional of US presidents, Donald Trump's Middle East peace-making bid is unlike decades of previous US attempts.

There is no talk of land swaps, a Palestinian state or other political issues that have vexed diplomats for decades.

The Trump administration says it will get to the political issues later.

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FedEx sues US government over shipment restrictions

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American logistics giant FedEx sued the US government on Monday, saying Washington's restrictions on exports and imports due to growing trade disputes and sanctions created an "impossible burden" for delivery firms.

The announcement of the lawsuit comes as Beijing and Washington face off in a trade war that has seen both sides exchange steep tariffs on hundreds of billions in exports.

The US has also sought to bar Chinese telecom giant Huawei from the American market and limit its ability to purchase US technology.

A statement by the delivery firm said the restrictions placed "an unreasonable burden on FedEx to police the millions of shipments that transit our network every day" or face heavy fines.

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