- The Washington Times - Friday, April 28, 2006

MEXICO

Drug possession will be crime no more

MEXICO CITY — Possessing marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if the drugs are carried in small amounts for personal use, under legislation passed by the Mexican Congress.

The measure given final passage by senators late Thursday allows police to focus on their battle against major drug dealers, the government says. President Vicente Fox is expected to sign it into law.

Under the legislation, police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine. The legal changes will also decriminalize the possession of limited quantities of LSD, hallucinogenic mushrooms, amphetamines and peyote — a psychotropic cactus found in Mexico’s northern deserts.

VENEZUELA

Chavez warns Peru not to elect Garcia

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez threatened yesterday to withdraw his ambassador to Lima and cut relations with Peru if candidate Alan Garcia wins the Peruvian presidential election in the latest test to ties between the two countries.

Mr. Chavez’s warning came after Mr. Garcia criticized the left-wing Venezuelan leader as “shameless” for attacking U.S. free-trade deals with Peru and Colombia while continuing to sell his country’s crude oil to the United States.

VATICAN CITY

China names bishop without Vatican OK

VATICAN CITY — China’s Patriotic Church, the state-sanctioned Catholic Church in China, is set to ordain a bishop without the approval of Rome, jeopardizing the recent rapprochement between Beijing and the Holy See, the Vatican-backed Asia News Service said yesterday.

Father Ma, 40, currently secretary of the Beijing-backed Council of Bishops, will be ordained tomorrow in the southwestern province of Yunnan despite the Vatican’s judgment that he lacks experience and is too closely aligned with China’s secular rulers.

Pope Benedict XVI has shown a keen interest in normalizing relations with China. The Vatican recently signaled a willingness to break with the Republic of China (Taiwan), long a stumbling block to diplomatic relations with Beijing, according to press reports.

PERU

Heyerdahl kin joins new Pacific journey

LIMA — A Norwegian team that includes Thor Heyerdahl’s grandson paddled yesterday into the Pacific Ocean from Peru to repeat the famed adventurer’s journey aboard the balsa raft Kon-Tiki.

“My personal motivation is to have a great adventure,” 28-year-old Olav Heyerdahl said before he and five shipmates embarked for the trip across the Pacific on the balsa raft Tangaroa — named for the Polynesian god of the ocean.

In 1947, Thor Heyerdahl and his team sailed their primitive raft 5,000 miles from Peru to Polynesia in 101 days to support Heyerdahl’s theory.

SRI LANKA

Suicide bomber was pregnant

COLOMBO — The Tamil suicide bomber who targeted Sri Lanka’s top general used her pregnancy to meticulously plan the attack, an investigator said. Officials previously said the bomber had only pretended to be pregnant, but the investigator said hospital records showed she actually was.

Her attack Tuesday killed 11 persons and wounded army commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka and 25 others.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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