UKRAINE

Anti-protest laws to end

Ukraine’s beleaguered president on Monday agreed to scrap harsh anti-protest laws that set off a wave of clashes between protesters and police over the past week, a potentially substantial concession to the opposition that stopped short of meeting all of its demands. Also Monday, one of the opposition figures, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, turned down the prime minister’s job, which President Viktor Yanukovych had offered him on Saturday, the government said.

MEXICO

Vigilantes reach deal

Mexico essentially legalized the country’s growing “self-defense” groups Monday, while also announcing that security forces had captured one of the four top leaders of the Knights Templar drug cartel, which the vigilante groups have been fighting for the last year. The government said it had reached an agreement with vigilante leaders to incorporate the armed civilian groups into old and largely forgotten quasi-military units called the Rural Defense Corps.

CUBA

Leaders arrive at summit

Foreign ministers from 33 Latin American and Caribbean nations met Monday in the Cuban capital of Havana for a summit of Western Hemisphere countries minus the United States and Canada. Topics of discussion included the cultivation of traditional crops like quinoa, historical disputes such as Argentina’s claim to the British-controlled Falkland Islands and initiatives like promoting literacy in the region. Heads of state are to meet today and Wednesday at the second summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC for its initials in Spanish.

IVORY COAST

Mob attacks rights group

A mob ransacked the headquarters of Ivory Coast’s most prominent gay rights organization, underscoring the dangers confronting such groups even in the few African countries where homosexual acts are not crimes. The violence followed days of anti-gay protests in Ivory Coast, which is sometimes considered a safe haven for homosexuals fleeing persecution elsewhere across the continent.

Compiled from wire reports.