MONTERREY -- The government of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila said it has at least 1,600 open missing-persons cases, most of them involving organized crime.
The figure was disclosed after Gov. Ruben Moreira and other top officials met Saturday with leaders of the Fuundec group, which represents the families of the missing.
One item on the agenda was the possible creation of a special missing-persons unit in the state Attorney General's Office, the Coahuila government said in a statement.
"Gov. Ruben Moreira Valdez presented the Plan for the Search for the Disappeared," the statement said, adding that the first step will be conducting a census to determine exactly how many people are missing.
Mexican cities among world's deadliest
MÉXICO CITY -- Five of the world's 10 deadliest cities in 2011 are in México, though a Honduran metropolis leads the list, the Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice said.
The council compiled its list of the globe's 50 most violent cities by comparing every city with more than 300,000 residents for which homicide statistics are available on the Internet.
Topping the 2011 rankings is San Pedro Sula, Honduras, with 159 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
México's Ciudad Juárez, which led the list for three consecutive years, dropped to second last year with a tally of 148 homicides for every 100,000 residents.
The other Mexican cities finishing in the top 10 for 2011 are: Acapulco, 128 murders per 100,000 people; Torreón, 88; Chihuahua, 83; and Durango, with 80 homicides per 100,000 residents.
Forty of the 50 most dangerous cities are in Latin América, including 14 in Brazil and a dozen in México.
8 Los Aztecas gang members arrested
CIUDAD JUÁREZ -- A leader and seven other members of the Los Aztecas gang, which is allied with the Juaréz drug cartel, were arrested by Mexican army troops in Ciudad Juaréz, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas, Defense Secretariat sources said on condition of anonymity.
The suspects were detained Saturday by soldiers acting on a tip from citizens that armed men were at a house in the border city.
Nine rifles, three pistols, 7,000 rounds of ammunition and several vehicles were seized in the operation.
The suspects could face kidnapping, extortion and murder charges.
César Lorenzo Roque Flores, the suspected leader of a Los Aztecas cell, was among those arrested in the operation, the Defense Secretariat said in a statement.
Los Aztecas works for La Linea, a gang that provides enforcers for the Juaréz cartel in its war against the rival Sinaloa cartel for control of Ciudad Juaréz, Mexico's murder capital.
The arrests are a big blow to Los Aztecas' operational capabilities, the secretariat said.
Law to spur public works investment
MÉXICO CITY -- President Felipe Calderón has signed a new law aimed at promoting private-sector participation in public works projects.
The goal of the Public-Private Associations Law, which the president sent to Congress in 2009 and the legislature recently approved, will be to "multiply infrastructure investment and unleash public and private association models" in the coming years.
"This is a key piece of legislation that will sensibly promote construction of infrastructure projects nationwide," Calderón said Sunday in a ceremony at the Los Pinos presidential residence.
"Investing in infrastructure is a key means of stimulating the domestic market. Investing in infrastructure means igniting our economy's internal engine with renewed vigor," the president said.
The law is intended to "give legal security and certainty to private players, to the companies that want to participate in complex infrastructure projects that require very long maturation and development periods," he said.
'Miss Bala' hopes for Oscar glory
LOS ÁNGELES -- The team behind the Mexican film 'Miss Bala' is making a final promotional push in Hollywood ahead of the announcement of the nominees for the Oscars, hoping to represent their country and not "giving up on the dream," said producer Diego Luna.
The film has been well received by critics in the United States, where it will finally open on Jan. 20.
By then the creative team behind 'Miss Bala' will know whether the movie, which tells the story of a young woman in the border city of Tijuana who finds herself caught up in the world of drug trafficking while pursuing her dream of becoming a beauty queen, is one of the nine finalists from which the five candidates for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film will be chosen.
'Miss Bala' was nominated last week for Spain's Goya prize in the category of Best Ibero-American film.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will reveal the nominees for the different Oscar categories on Jan. 24.