NIGERIA

Military is gaining ahead of elections

Beefed up by new weapons from China, Russia, and the Czech Republic, and strengthened by training from foreign advisers, Nigeria's military is forcing Boko Haram extremists from a string of northeastern towns as the country prepares for elections the insurgents are threatening to disrupt.

The offensive caused a six-week postponement of presidential elections now being held Saturday, a delay that should allow voting by some of the more than 1.5 million people forced from their homes.

Nigeria's military, with help from troops from Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, has reclaimed about 30 towns and freed the northeastern states of Adamawa and Yobe, leaving only 3 of 27 local government areas in Borno state under the sway of Boko Haram, according to the government spokesman on the insurgency, Mike Omeri. - AP
COLOMBIA

Agents scrutinized

U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration officers in Colombia allegedly participated in sex parties with prostitutes paid for by local drug cartels and received money, gifts, and weapons from the groups they were investigating, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Office of the Inspector General. The report said there were allegations that at least nine DEA agents "solicited prostitutes and engaged in other serious misconduct while in the country." - Miami Herald
MEXICO

Farmworkers march

Striking farmworkers in Baja California marched by the thousands across 15 dusty miles Thursday in a show of force after growers refused to meet their demands to boost wages. The strike, which has crippled the region's exports to the U.S., shows no signs of ending after growers' offer of a 10 percent raise was dismissed. - L.A. Times