- The Washington Times - Monday, February 16, 2009

MEXICO

Gunmen kill policeman, family

TABASCO | Gunmen have killed a state police officer and 10 members of his family, including five children, authorities said Sunday.

The shooting late Saturday also killed a street vendor in front of the house of state police Officer Carlos Reyes, said Tabasco deputy prosecutor Alex Alvarez. Among the five children killed was a 2-year-old boy.

Mr. Alvarez said three others were wounded the attack in the town of Monte Largo, near Mexico’s border with Guatemala.

Police hadn’t determined a motive for the attack but Mr. Alvarez said Officer Reyes directed a car chase and raids on two homes Wednesday that led to the death of three suspected gang members and the arrest of seven others.

SYRIA

U.S. frees charity funds

DAMASCUS | The U.S. Treasury Department has authorized the transfer of $500,000 to a Syrian charity in a sign that it is easing its economic embargo on the country, Syria’s ambassador to Washington said Sunday.

Imad Moustapha told reporters that the money to the Children With Cancer Support Association was raised by Syrians living in the United States. There was no immediate comment from the Treasury Department.

The U.S., under former President George W. Bush, imposed sanctions on Syria to punish a government it accused of allowing foreign fighters to cross into Iraq, as well as supporting militant groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories.

One measure banned U.S. exports to Syria except for food and medicine.

BRITAIN

Officials urge Gitmo release

LONDON | British officials visited a detainee at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay and found that there was no medical reason to prevent him from returning home, despite a hunger strike, the Foreign Office said Sunday.

Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born former British resident, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 before being taken to Morocco and Afghanistan, and then to Guantanamo, the U.S. “war on terror” detention camp in Cuba.

He was suspected of attending an al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and of plotting to build a radioactive “dirty bomb,” but has never been charged.

A British team of three embassy officials and a doctor flew in from Miami on Saturday to visit the 30-year-old. The team has left Cuba.

BOLIVIA

Morales visits Russia for trade

MOSCOW | Bolivian President Evo Morales arrived Sunday in Moscow for a two-day visit to Russia, where he will try to forge ties on energy and the fight against drug trafficking, the Ria Novosti agency reported.

Mr. Morales’ visit, following an invitation from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, marks the first time a Bolivian leader has officially visited Russia. The two heads of state are set to meet Monday in the Kremlin, before Mr. Morales leaves Tuesday for France.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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