MEXICO: Illegal crossings in decline

Arrests of illegal migrants trying to cross the southern U.S. border have plummeted to levels not seen since the early 1970s, according to tallies released by the Department of Homeland Security last week, a historic shift that could reshape the debate over immigration reform. The Border Patrol apprehended 327,577 illegal crossers along the Mexico border in fiscal year 2011, which ended in September, numbers not seen since Richard Nixon was president, and a precipitous drop from the peak in 2000 when 1.6 million unauthorized migrants were caught. More than 90 percent of the migrants apprehended on the southwestern border are Mexican.

CROATIA: Voters oust conservatives

Prime Minister-elect Zoran Milanovic, 45, vowed hard work and "no excuses" to turn around the Adriatic country's flagging economy after a power shift on Sunday ended eight years of conservative rule. Milanovic's center-left Kukuriku ("cock-a-doodle-doo") bloc will take the former Yugoslav republic into the European Union in mid-2013 after winning 78 seats in the 151-seat parliament with 70 percent of votes counted. The conservative HDZ, in power for 16 of Croatia's 20 years as an independent state, won 48 seats, roundly punished for corruption scandals and unemployment.

SLOVENIA: Center-left gains control

A center-left party led by a prominent businessman and mayor nabbed a surprise victory in parliamentary elections on Sunday, reflecting mounting concern among voters over the economy in the small EU country. Positive Slovenia, the party led by Zoran Jankovic, former head of the country's largest retailer and mayor of the capital, Ljubljana, took 28.5 percent of the vote, according to nearly complete results. The favored conservatives were trailing with 26.3 percent. The leader of the Slovene Democratic Party, former prime minister Janez Jansa, conceded defeat and congratulated Jankovic for his party's win. A scramble was set up for coalition partners.

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