- - Monday, April 4, 2011

HAITI

Voters elect musician as president

PORT-AU-PRINCE | Singer Michel Martelly is the winner of Haiti’s presidential election, beating former first lady Mirlande Manigat, according to official preliminary results, a senior electoral council official said Monday.

“Martelly won,” the official at the Provisional Electoral Council, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

He spoke ahead of a public announcement due later Monday to give the eagerly awaited first results from the March 20 runoff vote in the poor, volatile Caribbean state.

Mr. Martelly, who has no previous government experience, had preached a forceful message of change, pledging to break with decades of past corruption and misrule in Haiti.

Anxious anticipation tinged with fears of violence had gripped the country since the preliminary results announcement was delayed from last week because of reported high levels of fraud.

The initial results are preliminary pending confirmation later in April.

The presidential contest had been an intriguing contrast of styles and personalities between extroverted entertainer “Sweet Micky” Martelly, 50, a political newcomer, and Mrs. Manigat, who is 70 and an experienced law professor and former senator.

Polls before the runoff had shown Mr. Martelly as the favorite.

U.N. peacekeepers were out patrolling the capital Port-au-Prince and other potential flashpoints around the country, one of the world’s poorest which is struggling to rebuild after a crippling 2010 earthquake.

BRAZIL

Delta flight returns after radar failure

SAO PAULO | Delta Airlines said a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Atlanta was turned back because of a malfunction in the plane’s weather radar.

The problem in the Boeing 767-300 was detected after the plane took off Sunday night, forcing the pilots to divert the aircraft back to Rio.

Delta said in a statement Monday that the 132 passengers on Flight 60 were being placed on another flight.

MEXICO

3 killed in clash between soldiers, gunmen

ACAPULCO | Authorities said a clash between soldiers and gunmen in the Mexican resort city of Acapulco left three people dead and caused a fire that destroyed a supermarket, movie complex and stores in a shopping center.

The Public Safety Department in Guerrero state said a soldier and two gunmen were killed in the clash early Monday along a major thoroughfare in Acapulco.

Acapulco police also found two human heads along a main avenue in the exclusive Las Brisas neighborhood.

Factions of the Beltran Leyva cartel have been fighting for control of Acapulco since the December 2009 killing of cartel boss Arturo Beltran Leyva.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Anti-drug soldiers linked to drug smuggling

SANTO DOMINGO | Twelve soldiers assigned to combat drug trafficking in the Dominican Republic have been arrested in a suspected scheme to smuggle cocaine to Canada in a child’s suitcase, a prosecutor said Monday.

Eight of the soldiers, including a lieutenant colonel and captain, were detailed to the national anti-drug agency at the airport in Puerto Plata, while four were assigned to security duties at the airport terminal, said prosecutor Elvis Garcia.

Two civilians who work there were also arrested.

A judge ordered all the suspects held pending an investigation into charges of drug smuggling, Mr. Garcia said.

The arrests stem from the discovery on March 23 of more than 73 pounds of cocaine in a child’s suitcase.

The girl was traveling with her parents and sister from Puerto Plata, about 150 miles north of Santo Domingo, to Toronto.

MEXICO

U.S. official decries bonuses in oil spill

MEXICO CITY | The head of a U.S. presidential commission investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil spill says the company whose rig exploded a year ago “just doesn’t get it.”

Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Reilly said that bonuses awarded to executives of Transocean Ltd. underscores the commission’s finding that lax standards caused the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.

Eleven people died and more than 200 million gallons of oil spilled into the sea.

A regulator filing shows that Transocean gave bonuses for the “best year in safety performance.”

Mr. Reilly, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar and former Sen. Bob Graham, Florida Democrat, met Monday with Mexican officials to coordinate regulations for drilling in the gulf.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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