- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2007

MEXICO

550 birds found in SUV

MEXICO CITY — Highway police seized 250 endangered parrots and 300 parakeets crammed into an sport utility vehicle in northern Mexico and arrested the driver and a passenger on suspicion of animal trafficking, authorities said Saturday.

The Lilac-crowned parrots, native to the area, are considered threatened in some of their habitats and are protected in Mexico. The orange-fronted parakeets are not seriously endangered, and their capture is allowed in some states during certain months, according to the Web site of the National Ecology Institute.

COLOMBIA

Hostages’ families to meet Chavez

BOGOTA — Relatives of three U.S. defense contractors being held by Colombian rebels are traveling to Venezuela to urge President Hugo Chavez to work for their loved ones’ release.

The purpose of today’s planned meeting in Caracas is to assure that Americans are part of any prisoner swap that Mr. Chavez might negotiate between Colombia’s government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Keith Stansell, Tom Howes and Marc Gonsalves have been held by Colombia’s largest rebel group since their small plane crashed in the country’s southern jungles during a surveillance mission in February 2003.

ARGENTINA

Iranian information sought on ‘94 blast

BUENOS AIRES — President Nestor Kirchner Saturday asked Iran to answer petitions for arrests and information in connection with the 1994 bombing of a Jewish cultural center, state news agency Telam reported.

Argentina has accused former high-level Iranian officials in the bombing in Buenos Aires and last year asked for their arrest. Iran denies any involvement in the attack.

In a speech scheduled for today before the U.N. General Assembly, Mr. Kirchner is expected to criticize Iran for failing to collaborate in the investigation of the blast that killed 85 persons and injured more than 200.

CANADA

Greenhouse gas plan criticized

OTTAWA — Canada’s environmental advisory body criticized the government’s plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions just days before Prime Minister Stephen Harper was to discuss his climate change policy in New York.

Mr. Harper introduced the plan this year to replace the Kyoto protocol on climate change, which he said imposed impossible targets on Canada. He aims to bring greenhouse-gas emissions 20 percent below current levels by 2020.

But the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy said important parts of the plan were vague and exaggerated the extent of emissions cuts.

PANAMA

Drug lord’s island probed

PANAMA CITY — Panama said Friday that it would investigate how a known Colombian drug trafficker managed to obtain Panamanian residence, identification cards, bank accounts and even a $12 million private island without being noticed.

President Martin Torrijos said a probe would be opened into how Jose Urrego, who was detained by Colombia in the 1990s for purported drug smuggling, carried on illicit activities unnoticed in Panama for at least three years until his arrest last week.

Urrego, 53, was arrested on Chapera Island, off the Pacific coast. Police said he was working as communications chief for Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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