- - Monday, November 15, 2010

HAITI

Haitians protest U.N. over cholera claim

PORT-AU-PRINCE | Protesters who hold Nepalese U.N. peacekeepers responsible for a deadly outbreak of cholera that has killed 1,000 in three weeks threw stones and threatened to set fire to a base in the country’s second-largest city Monday, Haitian radio and eyewitnesses reported.

The protesters also blame the unit for the death of a Haitian youth at the base in August.

The demonstrations began in Cap-Haitien about 6 a.m. and have paralyzed much of the northern port city, national television reporter Johnny Joseph told the Associated Press by phone.

Demonstrators also are targeting other U.N. bases, and Haitian national police stations in the city, he said. U.N. police spokesman Andre Leclerc said the demonstrators blocked traffic in the area.

Radio Kiskeya and Radio Caraibes reported that U.N. soldiers and Haitian police fired tear gas and projectiles to disperse at least 1,000 protesters at the Nepalese base. Mr. Joseph said at least three people were injured by Haitian police.

CANADA

Opposition blasts Afghan war extension

OTTAWA | Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s extension of a military mission in Afghanistan beyond a parliamentary-mandated 2011 exit drew fire from opposition parties on Monday.

Ottawa last week announced it would deploy hundreds of military trainers until 2014 to help Afghan security forces take over security in the war-torn nation.

The training mission is supported by Canada’s main opposition Liberals.

But New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton on Monday accused Mr. Harper of “breaking a promise that was made to Canadians [to] bring our troops home in 2011” and seek parliamentary approval to extend the mission.

Canada currently has 2,800 combat troops as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. They are mandated by Parliament to return home next year.

MEXICO

Swamp gas blamed for deadly hotel blast

CANCUN | A strong explosion that killed five Canadian tourists and two Mexicans at a luxury beach resort appeared to have been caused by compacted gas from a nearby swamp, authorities said Monday.

Nine of 18 people hurt in Sunday’s blast in the Grand Riviera Princess hotel in Playa del Carmen, south of Cancun, were released from a hospital Monday.

First investigations suggested that “an accumulation of gas caused by the decomposition of organic material” underneath the lobby was behind the explosion, which blew out windows, said Francisco Alor, attorney general of the southeastern Quintana Roo state, on Milenio television.

The damaged area of the hotel had been built four years ago on top of swampy area, Mr. Alor said, ruling out that the explosion could have been an attack.

COLOMBIA

FARC camp bombed; 13 rebels killed

BOGOTA | At least 13 rebels were killed Monday when Colombia’s air force bombed a remote FARC encampment near the border with Ecuador, military officials said.

“Coordinated joint operations by the police, air force and army that began early Monday resulted in the deaths of 13 terrorists from the FARC [Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia],” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The attack - ordered after what the ministry said was “intensive intelligence work by the national police” - came on the 100th day in office for Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who has vowed to redouble efforts to bring Latin America’s longest-running leftist insurgency to heel.

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS

Partial skeleton found along beach

CHARLOTTE AMALIE | A partial skeleton has been discovered along an eroded beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands and sent to a lab for testing.

Brooke Persons is an archaeologist with the U.S. islands’ historic preservation office. She helped police recover the bones after heavy rains washed away soil near a centuries-old coastal fort in the St. Croix town of Frederiksted.

Authorities think the skeleton might be a historical find, not the remains of someone who fell victim to foul play.

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