- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 30, 2010

MEXICO

Suspect arrested in slayings of 3

CIUDAD JUAREZ | Mexican soldiers have arrested a suspect in the killings of three people linked to the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state police said Monday.

Police spokesman Enrique Torres said the Mexican army arrested the suspect, whose name was not released, on Friday.

Consulate employee Lesley A. Enriquez and her husband, Arthur H. Redelfs, were killed March 13 in Juarez when gunmen opened fire on their sport utility vehicle after they left a birthday party. The husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate also was killed by gunmen after leaving the same event in a separate vehicle.

Mr. Torres said the suspect is a leader of the Barrio Azteca gang, but gave no other details. U.S. and Mexican authorities say the Barrio Azteca gang works for the Juarez drug cartel and operates on both sides of the border.

BRAZIL

Infrastructure plan touted for elections

BRASILIA | President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva launched a $878 billion program to upgrade Brazil’s infrastructure Monday that will be a major campaign theme for his chosen candidate in October elections.

Days before Mr. Lula da Silva’s chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, must step down to be able to campaign for president, the government said $878 billion would be spent on the program in the coming years. About $530 billion is earmarked for 2011 to 2014.

Mrs. Rousseff is expected to tout the massive investments as evidence that the center-left Lula da Silva government is improving the potholed roads, clogged ports and underfunded health care system that dog Latin America’s biggest economy despite strong growth in recent years.

The centrist opposition, led by likely standard-bearer Jose Serra, governor of Sao Paulo state, has criticized the program as propaganda and poorly implemented.

CHILE

Quake toll may cut military copper funds

SANTIAGO | The $30 billion cost of Chile’s devastating earthquake may give its new leftist president more ammunition to take on the military, with the aim of dismantling a dictatorship-era law that devotes 10 percent of the country’s copper revenues to defense spending.

The copper law has guaranteed huge budgets over the years for one of the world’s freest-spending militaries, especially as copper prices boomed. From 2006 to mid-2009, Chile’s state-owned Codelco mining company transferred an estimated $4.2 billion to the military, which by law could spend the money without congressional oversight.

Chile has outpaced every other major South American economy in military expenditures but Colombia, where leftist rebels are waging a guerrilla war. According to the World Bank, military spending equals 3.5 percent of the economy in Chile, where gross domestic product has grown past $160 billion in recent years.

HONDURAS

Killings of 2 raise journalist death toll

TEGUCIGALPA | Two journalists were fatally shot in eastern Honduras over the weekend, bringing to five the number of journalists and media workers killed in the Central American country this month.

Radio journalists Jose Bayardo, 52, and Manuel de Jesus Juarez, 55, were riddled with bullets late Friday as they drove on a highway in the rural province of Olancho, prosecutor Wendy Caballero said Saturday. Investigators have not identified a motive, Ms. Caballero said.

The two were killed after leaving the Excelsior radio station, where they had just broadcast a news show.

Three other journalists have been killed in March in Honduras, which is racked by political divisions relating to a 2009 coup and common crime fueled by street gangs.

CANADA

Expansion proposed for refugee program

OTTAWA | Immigration Minister Jason Kenney on Monday proposed expanding Canada’s refugee program, starting with the resettlement of 2,500 more people living in refugee camps and urban slums.

Canada would welcome as many as 14,500 refugees annually, up 2,500 from current levels, once Parliament passes the proposal.

“Millions of people have fled violence and persecution to seek refuge outside their home countries, and we would like to do more to provide them with protection in Canada,” Mr. Kenney said.

Countries with refugee resettlement programs, including Canada, resettle about 100,000 refugees from abroad each year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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