- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 9, 2009

MEXICO

Suspect wanted in U.S. captured

MEXICO CITY | Mexican police have captured a woman wanted in the United States for purportedly smuggling $2 million in cocaine-trafficking profits for a powerful drug cartel.

The attorney general’s office says Olga Lerma was arrested in western Jalisco state after police spent three months tracking her movements.

The agency announced her arrest Sunday. Ms. Lerma is wanted in Texas for smuggling $2 million as a top financial operator for Ignacio Coronel, a suspected leader of the Pacific drug cartel, the agency said.

Mexico is considering a U.S. request for her extradition, which could be delayed by months if she appeals.

COLOMBIA

Authorities on alert as volcano erupts

BOGOTA | The Galeras volcano situated near Colombia’s southern border with Ecuador erupted Sunday, the state-run Geological Mining Institute reported. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

The institute said the eruption was of “an explosive character,” which prompted it to raise alert levels to the highest point.

It was the fifth eruption of Colombia’s most active volcano in a year and a half, most recently in April.

CANADA

‘Green shoots’ spotted in economy

MONTREAL | Global economic recovery may be on its way, and certainly in Canada people are loosening their purse strings again, Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Monday.

He also said the federal government’s budget deficit now looks to be “slightly more” than $45 billion this fiscal year, but most of it is one-time spending, such as stimulus initiatives and aid for the automotive industry, and not a structural shortfall.

Mr. Flaherty’s remarks on an economic recovery echoed those of others who are seeing “green shoots,” and he spoke of improvements in financial markets.

In Canada, Mr. Flaherty said he saw some increase in demand for new housing. “I think people are responding to the fact that mortgage rates are low,” he said, noting that rates are at their lowest level since World War II.

NICARAGUA

Swine flu spreads in Latin America

MANAGUA | The swine flu virus continued its march through Latin America, with several countries reporting an uptick in the number of cases.

Nicaragua reported six new cases of swine flu, raising to 26 the total number of people infected with the A(H1N1) virus as of Sunday across the country, while Argentina reported 13 new confirmed cases.

In Nicaragua the swine flu virus has largely hit school-aged children, prompting the temporary closure of at least two schools.

Health officials in Uruguay reported three new cases of the virus, bringing the total to 25, while in Peru health officials confirmed 12 new cases, saying the total is now 61 there.

In Chile, a 56-year-old man who died last week has been diagnosed as Chile’s second swine flu death, health authorities said.

ARGENTINA

Franco grandson loses control

BUENOS AIRES | The grandson of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco could face legal charges after he reportedly struck and hurled a stream of racist invectives at a female Argentine railway guard.

Francisco Franco Martinez Bordiu, the son of Franco’s only daughter, was reportedly angry after attempting to board a departing train in the Spanish city of Zaragoza. He then hit and insulted the female guard, the Movement for Argentines Abroad said.

According to eyewitnesses, quoted by the Argentine media, Mr. Martinez arrived in a rush to the station only to find the train doors closed. He then reportedly got into an altercation with two female attendants and a security guard.

Mr. Franco, 55, has denied carrying out the act.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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