- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 20, 2008

COLOMBIA

Top female rebel turns herself in

BOGOTA — One of the top-ranking women of the Marxist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, Nelly Avila Moreno, has turned herself in after decades of eluding capture, officials said yesterday .

Authorities say the outlaw, known popularly as Karina, was considered one of the most violent female leaders of Latin America’s longest-running insurrection.

The fighter, in her 40s, was reportedly behind four massacres in the mid-1990s in the northwest Uraba region, as well as dozens of kidnappings and attacks on public officials.

President Alvaro Uribe had urged Karina to surrender in exchange for security guarantees and had made her capture one of his top priorities in the government’s four-decade fight against FARC.

CUBA

Rights for gays take center stage

HAVANA — Cuba’s gay community celebrated unprecedented openness — and high-ranking political alliances — with a government-backed campaign against homophobia.

The Saturday meeting at a convention center in Havana’s Vedado district may have been the largest gathering of openly gay activists ever on the communist-run island. President Raul Castro’s daughter Mariela, director of Cuba’s Center for Sexual Education, has promoted the rights of sexual minorities and presided over the event.

Prejudice against homosexuals remains deeply rooted in Cuban society. But the government has moved steadily away from the harsh policies of the 1960s and 1970s, when homosexuals hid their sexuality for fear of being ridiculed, fired from work or even imprisoned.

Cuba’s parliament is studying proposals to legalize same-sex unions and give gay couples the benefits that people in traditional marriages are afforded.

ARGENTINA

Farmers’ strike may end early

BUENOS AIRES — Farmers are considering whether to lift a strike over an export tax increase in order to restart talks with the government, a farm leader said yesterday.

Farmers in the world’s second-largest corn exporter and third-largest soy producer went on strike for the second time in two months May 8 over an export tax they say effectively caps prices for their goods.

Farmers are holding back grains for export, and the protest has pushed up soy prices on world markets.

CANADA

Big nuclear project scrapped over cost

TORONTO — Canadian energy officials late last week scrapped development of a nuclear reactor project to produce radioactive isotopes for the diagnoses of cancer and other illnesses, citing the costs.

The decision means the company’s 50-year-old Chalk River reactor will continue to bear the burden of generating half the world’s supply of medical isotopes.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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