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Three journalists slain in Mexico

MEXICO CITY - Three men who had worked as news photographers were found slain and dumped in plastic bags in a canal in the eastern Mexico state of Veracruz on Thursday, less than a week after the killing in the same state of a reporter for an investigative newsmagazine, officials and colleagues said.

Press advocates called for immediate government action to halt attacks that have killed at least seven current and former reporters and photographers in Veracruz over the last 18 months, most of them among the few journalists still working on crime-related stories in the state. The deaths have spawned an atmosphere of terror and self-censorship among journalists.

Mexico is one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, as the country grapples with tens of thousands of killings, kidnappings and cases of extortion against the backdrop of a government offensive against drug cartels.

The latest killings came in Boca del Rio, where police found the bodies of four people Thursday after passersby spotted four suspicious black plastic bags in a wastewater canal, the Veracruz state Attorney General's Office said. The fourth victim was the girlfriend of one of the photographers.

- AP

Israel gets its 4th nuke-capable sub

JERUSALEM - Israel on Thursday received its fourth German-made submarine capable of launching nuclear warheads, expanding a fleet that experts say could be used in an attack on Iran. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the submarine would increase Israel's capabilities "in the face of the growing regional challenges."

The Dolphin-type submarine is one of six Israel has ordered from Germany, which subsidizes the submarines. Each submarine costs half a billion dollars. The sub was presented to Israeli officials in Hamburg, Germany, on Thursday and is expected to arrive in Israel in 2013, following final tests.

The sale of the submarines sparked criticism from German Nobel-winning author Guenter Grass, who in a recent poem blasted Israel's alleged nuclear program. Alluding to the sale, Grass said the submarines were capable of firing "all-destroying" nuclear missiles into Iran.

- AP

Nepal to form new government

KATHMANDU, Nepal - In a last-ditch effort to finish years of work on Nepal's new constitution, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai will form a new coalition government including members of the main opposition parties, officials said Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji Shrestha announced that an agreement had been reached among the top parties and that all ministers in Bhattarai's cabinet had resigned to clear the way for a new government.

The new cabinet will include representatives of all key parties in the country's Constituent Assembly, Shrestha said. The agreement was reached despite reports of disagreements during a long day of negotiations Thursday. No date for the formation of the new government was announced.

- AP