MEXICO

Leftist leader found slain

The leader of Mexicoís main leftist party in the southern state of Oaxaca was found slain Thursday, little more than a week before local elections. The Oaxaca attorney generalís office said Friday the body of Nicolas Estrada Merino, 32, was found in a sugar cane field near the city of Tuxtepec. It said in a news release that Estrada had three gunshot wounds to the head and that investigators are looking into the circumstances of his death. The national leadership of his Democratic Revolution party condemned the killing and demanded that authorities speed the investigation. They would not say if they thought his killing was election-related.

VATICAN CITY

Church accountant jailed

The latest corruption scandal to hit the Holy See unraveled in public on Friday as Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, a Vatican accountant, was arrested in the customs-dodging Swiss bank case. He is also under investigation in a separate case of alleged money-laundering involving his Vatican bank account. The plot involved an armed police escort, a wealthy shipping family and a plan to secretly transport $26 million from a Swiss bank account into Italy aboard a private jet. The developments came two days after Pope Francis created a commission of inquiry into the Vatican bank to get to the bottom of the problems that have plagued it for decades and contributed to its reputation as an unregulated, offshore tax haven.

NIGERIA

20 militants die in clash

A military intelligence officer said Friday that soldiers killed 20 Islamic extremists while two police officers died in an hours-long shootout near Maiduguri city in northeast Nigeria. An army officer, meanwhile, said that in another attack Thursday, militants killed one soldier and abducted three others in Potiskum. The officers requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters on the record. Bala Ahmed, a taxi driver in the area, also said he witnessed the fight near Maiduguri. Potiskum and Maiduguri are strongholds of Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group behind numerous attacks in Nigeria.

Compiled from wire reports.