- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ARGENTINA

President threatened during commute

BUENOS AIRES | Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has received death threats over a radio frequency while commuting to work by helicopter, and her Cabinet chief said Monday that officials are taking the threats seriously.

Radio communication between her pilot and a control tower was interrupted Friday by someone saying, “Kill her” and, “Kill the mare,” as well as more obscene phrases, according to a recording broadcast Monday by C5N television. For several seconds, a military march is heard.

Cabinet Chief Anibal Fernandez told the Radio 10 station that the threats were “very serious” and are being investigated.

The government suspects that supporters of Argentina’s 1976-83 military dictatorship could be behind the threats. They came on the first day of a historic trial of 19 dictatorship-era officials accused of torturing thousands of political prisoners inside the Navy Mechanics School.

CHILE

Presidential runoff set for Jan. 17

SANTIAGO | A conservative billionaire and a leftist ex-president are to face off in a January election to decide who will succeed Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

Businessman Sebastian Pinera, part owner of Latin America’s biggest airline LAN, and Eduardo Frei, the candidate backed by the hugely popular Ms. Bachelet, emerged Sunday as the two top contenders in the race.

Mr. Pinera won 44 percent of the ballots and Mr. Frei 29 percent, according to an interior ministry tally of ballots from 98 percent of polling stations.

Ms. Bachelet, 58, was barred from seeking re-election under her country’s constitution.

CANADA

Guns sought for icebreakers

VANCOUVER | Canada should arm its icebreakers with deck guns to improve security when unauthorized foreign vessels enter the Northwest Passage, a committee of the Canadian Senate recommended Monday.

Canada must also resolve lingering disputes over its sovereignty in the Arctic waterway, which is expected to see increased vessel traffic as global warming melts the ocean ice, the Senate’s fisheries and oceans committee said.

Canada is planning to build six Navy patrol craft for use in the Arctic, but the first of the ships is not expected to be delivered until 2014.

Until then, Canada’s aging icebreakers should be armed with weapons “capable of giving firm notice, if necessary, to unauthorized foreign vessels for use in the Northwest Passage,” the committee wrote.

African diplomat recalled for spitting

ARUSHA, Tanzania | Canadian officials say they have withdrawn a diplomat from Tanzania after the government said he spat on a police officer.

Canadian High Commissioner Robert Orr said in a statement late Sunday that the Canadian government will return the official because of the Dec. 9 incident.

Tanzania’s foreign ministry identified him as Jean Touchatte, a private secretary at the Canadian High Commission.

The Tanzanian government said Mr. Touchatte spat at a policeman during a traffic jam in Dar es Salaam, the country’s commercial capital.

He was taken for questioning to a police station but released because of his diplomatic immunity. Media outlets said he also spat on a journalist who had tried to interview him at the police station.

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