- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 18, 2007

COLOMBIA

Drug arrests disrupt paramilitary force

BOGOTA — Police said yesterday that they dismantled the private army of a paramilitary warlord who is awaiting extradition to the United States by arresting 147 persons thought to be protecting a major cocaine smuggling ring.

Gen. Orlando Paez said the armed group was under the command of Carlos Mario Jimenez, who is being held on a navy frigate off Colombia’s Atlantic coast while awaiting extradition.

“The 147 people we captured were dedicated to drug trafficking,” Gen. Paez said. “Some took care of the processing complex, others were involved in logistics, others sent the drug, and some bribed farmers in the region. It was a structured criminal operation.”

Among those captured are 23 former right-wing fighters who disarmed as part of a 2003 peace deal with the government.

PUERTO RICO

Dengue epidemic in Martinique

SAN JUAN — Health officials in Martinique declared a dengue epidemic after more than 1,000 suspected cases were reported in the last month.

Since August, about 1,300 people have been treated for symptoms and 40 have been hospitalized, some for hemorrhaging, according to Martinique’s health department. No deaths have been reported, according to local press.

Fumigation efforts were ordered in the northern and southern parts of the island, which have been the most affected. Roughly 430,000 people live in Martinique, a French overseas department.

JAMAICA

Defeated leader seeks election reform

KINGSTON — Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller told a group of supporters Sunday that Jamaica’s electoral system is flawed and called for an investigation in her first public address since narrowly losing in general elections.

Mrs. Simpson Miller conceded defeat a day after the Sept. 3 vote, in which Bruce Golding’s Jamaica Labor Party won a 33-27 majority in the House.

In addressing the annual conference of her People’s National Party, or PNP, Mrs. Simpson Miller said she asked the independent, bipartisan Electoral Advisory Committee to review the election process.

MEXICO

17 killed on trip to funeral

MEXICO CITY — Members of a family traveling to Mexico from the U.S. for a funeral were among at least 17 passengers who died in a bus crash in western Mexico over the weekend.

The bus was carrying 35 passengers from the resort city of Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara — including passengers of several detoured flights — when it went off a mountain road Saturday, bus company and government officials said.

Among the surviving passengers was Juan Antonio Quezada de la Cruz, who lives in Riverside, Calif., and was traveling with seven family members to attend their father’s funeral in Guadalajara. A sister and a 1-year-old nephew died in the crash, he said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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