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The World Today

President Obama highlights Latin America ties

Costa Rica

SAN JOSE — Wrapping up a three-day trip to Latin America, President Obama on Saturday emphasized the ‘‘enormous importance’’ the United States places on its trading relationships with countries in the region and said improving those ties will help them compete in the world. ‘‘If we do not have effective integration in our hemisphere, if we don’t have the best education systems, the best regulatory systems, if we don’t coordinate our activities, then we’re going to fall behind other regions in the world,’’ Obama said. (AP)

Pakistan

Two bombings kill three in Karachi

KARACHI, Pakistan — Two bombings in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi killed three people near the office of a political party critical of the Taliban, a police officer said, heightening tensions ahead of the country’s May 11 election. Police said the explosions late Saturday also wounded another 22 people. The Taliban claimed responsibility. Pakistan has been experiencing a wave of violence connected to elections scheduled for next Saturday, mostly at the hands of Taliban militants targeting political parties and their candidates. (AP)

Saudi Arabia

Girls to take part in school sports

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabian girls will be allowed to play sports in private schools for the first time, according to a decision announced on Saturday, the latest in a series of incremental changes aimed at slowly increasing women’s rights in the ultraconservative kingdom. Saudi Arabia’s official press agency, SPA, reported that private girls’ schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to ‘‘decent dress’’ codes, the Education Ministry said. (AP)

Belgium

Train carrying chemicals derails

BRUSSELS — Hundreds of people were evacuated after a train carrying chemicals derailed and caught fire in northern Belgium early Saturday morning. Amateur video showed the train ablaze. In daylight, the train cars could be seen forming a zig-zag over the track. Citing a statement from the East Flanders government, news reports said that authorities were investigating if a death of someone in the area of the derailment was linked to the accident. The statement said 17 people were injured. ( AP)

Mexico

Companies move to escape violence

MORELLA — The economic development secretary of the western Mexican state of Michoacan said two major firms have decided to relocate their distribution centers to escape violence. Ricardo Martinez said yogurt maker Dannon and drug maker Grupo Casa Saba have moved to Queretaro and Jalisco states respectively. The PepsiCo subsidiary Sabritas, was the target of fire bombings in Michoacan last year, apparently by a drug cartel. (AP)

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