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PAKISTAN: Drone attack hits civilians

Just one day after a CIA contractor was absolved by a Pakistani court of a double murder charge, Pakistan-U.S. relations were plunged into a new crisis Thursday over a CIA-directed drone missile strike that Pakistan said killed at least 36 civilians in North Waziristan. Military and civilian leadership condemned the strike in unusually harsh language, demanding compensation for the victims and an apology. The United States does not publicly acknowledge the drone program.

LATIN AMERICA: Obama to visit 3 countries

It's the eternal Latin American lament: The region's superpower neighbor either ignores it or pushes it around. Fair or not, that perception will hang over President Barack Obama's first official visit to South America, which starts Saturday in Brazil and stops in Chile and El Salvador. Each new U.S. president brings renewed expectations of closer ties to Latin America, and few leaders stoked those hopes more than Obama. Just three months after taking office, he told fellow leaders at a Summit of the Americas that a new era of was dawning. "I'm here to launch a new chapter of engagement that will be sustained throughout my administration," he said. Latin Americans have been frustrated by the way the Sept. 11 attacks jerked U.S. attention away from their region after President George W. Bush, too, had promised a new focus to Latin America. Obama's two-day visit to Brazil will focus on business. Corporate leaders accompanying him will seek more investments in the region's largest economy and in infrastructure for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

MEXICO: 4-year-old dead in drug war

Police in the resort city of Acapulco say they found the body of a 4-year-old girl who had been shot in the chest, the seventh child killed in drug-related violence in the city in less than a week. They said the child was found in a car next to a woman who had been shot three times in the back. Seven minors have been killed in Acapulco since Sunday, including a 2-year-old and 6-year-old boy who died with an elderly woman who tried to protect them when gunmen opened fire at their home.

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