- - Tuesday, January 4, 2011

BRAZIL

New president nods to Wall Street

SAO PAULO | President Dilma Rousseff kicked off her government Monday with a series of market-friendly signals, including details on budget cuts and a report that she will turn to the private sector to help solve one of Brazil’s biggest infrastructure bottlenecks.

Mrs. Rousseff is planning budget cuts of up to $15 billion, slightly more than most investors had expected, to help rein in a recent burst in government spending, reported several Brazilian media including Estado de S.Paulo.

Wall Street investors are awaiting details of how Ms. Rousseff, a pragmatic leftist who was inaugurated as president Saturday, will implement austerity measures and take other steps to ensure Brazil’s economy continues its impressive growth.

COLOMBIA

Soldiers accused of killing 3 civilians

BOGOTA | Colombian authorities have charged an army major and four other soldiers in the killings of three civilians, accusing the troops of falsely presenting the bodies as guerrillas slain in combat.

The attorney general’s office said that Maj. Juan Carlos Del Rio Crespo and four other troops were charged in the 2002 killings of three members of the Agudelo family in Antioquia state, about 180 miles northwest of the capital, Bogota.

The attorney general’s office said Monday that its investigation determined that the three were defenseless when they were slain, but that the soldiers later said the deaths happened during combat against the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

PUERTO RICO

2 die from wounds in blowtorch attack

SAN JUAN | A Puerto Rican accused of attacking his family with gasoline and a blowtorch has been charged with murder after two victims died from their wounds.

Justino Sanchez Diaz, 45, was arrested on attempted-murder charges in the New Year’s Day attack, but the island Justice Department announced Monday that a 17-year-old niece and a 32-year-old cousin of Mr. Sanchez’s died from their burns. Seven others were injured.

Police said Mr. Sanchez sprinkled gasoline around a room Saturday at his parents’ home in the northern town of Florida and then set it on fire with a blowtorch as 13 family members gathered for a meeting. The motive is unknown.

BRAZIL

Hackers attack government website

BRASILIA | Officials said hackers tried to take the Brazilian government’s website off the air a day after the inauguration of President Dilma Rousseff.

The government said in a statement that the website became unstable as a result of the attack Sunday but was never off the air. The statement said the hackers overloaded the number of accesses to the site to try to disrupt it.

Monday’s statement said the attack “did not put the presidency’s site in danger” and no confidential information was accessed or destroyed.

A congressman, meanwhile, denounced several death threats made against Mrs. Rousseff on Twitter during her inauguration. Florisvaldo Fier of the ruling Workers Party said the threats must be investigated and not taken lightly.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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