- - Monday, June 6, 2011

CANADA

Court OKs extradition of France bomb suspect

OTTAWA — A Canadian judge ruled Monday that a suspect in a bombing that killed four people outside a Paris synagogue in 1980 should be extradited to France.

Justice Robert Maranger, however, told the suspect, Hassan Diab, he would not be surrendered to France for 30 days, during which time he has the right to appeal.

Mr. Diab is a Lebanese-Canadian and was arrested by Canadian police in 2008 after French judges issued an international arrest warrant for him.

The bomb, placed in a bag attached to a motorbike that was parked outside the synagogue in Rue Copernic, exploded minutes before the start of the Jewish Sabbath, just before a crowd was due to emerge from the synagogue.

Mr. Diab maintains his innocence and says the evidence is based on flawed handwriting analysis comparing his writing with that found on a Paris hotel-registration card in 1980.

BOLIVIA

Morales eases law on genetically modified food

LA PAZ — A leading opponent of genetically modified food is switching sides.

The government of President Evo Morales confirms it has sent Congress a measure to ease the use of genetically modified foods.

Until now, genetically modified seeds were allowed only for some export-oriented soy crops. Cabinet minister Carlos Romero now says the law “will be broadened to other products.” The idea is to increase food production.

For years, Mr. Morales has claimed genetically modified seeds harm the earth and require harmful chemicals. He suggested last year they might contribute to baldness.

ARGENTINA

President has wide leads in opinion polls

BUENOS AIRES — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez has a comfortable lead in all opinion polls with less than five months before the presidential election in October, and she looks ready to announce her candidacy in late June.

Under a new law that sets primary elections for August, politicians have until June 25 to register as candidates.

The field of opposition contenders is taking shape as the deadline nears. Several high-profile challengers, including Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri and Vice President Julio Cobos, quit the race in recent weeks as others fine-tune their electoral alliances.

MEXICO

Ex-mayor could face organized-crime charges

TIJUANA — Mexican prosecutors say they are considering organized-crime charges against a Tijuana gambling magnate who is accused of keeping 88 guns in his house.

The Attorney General’s Office says it will hold former Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon and 10 of his employees and associates for two more days while officials weigh the charges.

Mr. Hank was arrested Saturday. Soldiers say they found 40 rifles, 48 handguns, 9,298 bullets, 70 ammunition clips and a gas grenade at his home.

He said in a letter published Monday that the guns were not his and that he had never seen them before.

VENEZUELA

Chavez says relations with U.S. are ‘frozen’

CARACAS — Venezuela’s top diplomat says relations with the United States are “frozen” and that President Hugo Chavez’s government does not perceive any possibility of improving them, after Washington imposed sanctions on the South American nation’s state oil company.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said this week he does not see any potential for dialogue with U.S. officials.

Relations have been tense since the State Department slapped sanctions on Petroleos de Venezuela for doing business with Iran.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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