- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2007

BRAZIL

Energy minister suspected in scheme

BRASILIA — Federal police are investigating Energy Minister Silas Rondeau for suspected links to a widespread corruption scheme involving public works projects, press reports revealed yesterday.

Several Brazilian newspapers, including O Globo and O Estado de Sao Paulo, said police suspect Mr. Rondeau received the equivalent of $51,000 as a kickback from a construction company that won a government contract to bring electricity to poor households throughout the country.

The newspapers cited police sources whom they did not identify. A federal police spokesman declined to confirm the reports, but said, “Every investigation is always ongoing until it is judged in the courts.”

Mr. Rondeau denied any involvement in the reputed scheme. “You cannot prove a lie,” he said in Paraguay, where he is traveling with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

HAITI

Poverty kills even the youngest

JEREMIE — The cries of Pia Francesca’s wailing mother echo in the corridors of the town hospital as her baby’s tiny body lies lifeless under a white sheet just four months after her birth.

Alcindor Macula, 20, the mother, has just learned that the poverty of the people of the poorest nation in the Americas was too much for her fragile baby. Hunger and dehydration took the infant’s life.

The mother is fed up with the misery that stole her baby’s life. No one is there to support her. She screams, she wants to see baby Pia. At home, her blind father and an insensitive brother await her. She also has another child, 5-year-old Pierre, who she says is “very skinny.”

PUERTO RICO

Guantanamo inmate would prefer death

SAN JUAN— A detainee at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay who has attempted suicide repeatedly said in a letter made public by his attorney here Sunday that he still hopes to kill himself in despair over his confinement and conditions at the U.S. military prison in Cuba.

Juma Mohammed Al-Dossary, 33, said he would prefer death to his open-ended detention at Guantanamo, where he said he and other detainees have been mistreated by the U.S. military.

“If I have the opportunity I would end my life,” Al-Dossary said in the letter, which was reviewed by the military. He has been held at Guantanamo without charges since January 2002, and tried to kill himself at least 10 times, according to the U.S. government.

Weekly notes …

Governments can help save threatened coral reefs by prohibiting fishing nearby, giving species of fish beneficial to coral colonies a chance to flourish, scientists said in the Bahamas over the weekend. Parrotfish eat seaweed and algae that crowd out young colonies of coral, helping replenish reefs damaged by storms, bleaching or climate change, said marine scientists at Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, a 176-square-mile reserve southeast of Nassau. … Salvadoran President Elias Antonio Saca was in Egypt yesterday on the first visit by a Salvadoran leader since Cairo cut ties with San Salvador 23 years ago. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks with Mr. Saca over a working breakfast in the presence of both first ladies, a presidential aide said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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