- - Monday, February 20, 2012

ST. KITTS AND NEVIS

Police find suspect in Justice Breyer robbery

BASSETERRE — Police have identified a man suspected of involvement in the robbery of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer.

A police spokesman described the man as a “person of interest” in the Feb. 9 robbery but declined to provide details of the man’s alleged involvement.

Sgt. Alonzo Carty named the suspect as Vedel K. Browne and said he is a gardener in the town of Gingerland on Nevis island. The spokesman warned that anyone found aiding the man will be prosecuted.

The 73-year-old Supreme Court justice, his wife and several guests were confronted by a machete-wielding robber inside their Nevis vacation home. Officials have said no one was hurt, but the robber took about $1,000.

COLOMBIA

Justice minister drops ‘military exclusion’ rule

BOGOTA — The government is dropping a proposed judicial change that would have let military judges decide whether soldiers should be tried for alleged human rights abuses.

Justice Minister Carlos Esguerra said over the weekend the decision not to seek restoration of the “military exclusion” as part of judicial reform legislation was recommended by a commission that included former magistrates and army generals.

Human Rights Watch had campaigned vigorously against the proposal.

BRAZIL

Rio revelers twist, shout at Beatles-themed party

RIO DE JANEIRO — English speakers got their moment in the Carnival sun on Monday as a wild, Beatles-themed street party shook it up, baby, with a samba swing to “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.”

“Sargento Pimenta,” Portuguese for “Sergeant Pepper,” is one of more than 400 raucous street parties that spring up throughout Rio de Janeiro during Carnival season.

Hundreds of thousands of people turn out for the largest of the “blocos,” packed, sweaty open-air dance parties where the crowd sings along to a repetitive medley of Carnival songs — usually in Portuguese, of course.

As many as 850,000 tourists descend on Rio for the five-day-long Carnival free-for-all, and blocos offer plenty of nonverbal opportunities for fun: If drinking till you pass out doesn’t suit your fancy, you might try racking up as many snogging partners as humanly possible during a single street party, a common Carnival game here.

HONDURAS

Market fire sweeps through capital

TEGUCIGALPA — A weekend fire swept through street markets in the capital of Honduras, a nation traumatized just last week by a fire that killed 358 people at a prison.

Authorities say 11 people were injured and about 1,800 stalls burned, but there were no deaths.

Saturday’s fire burned through several blocks of three markets and sent thick plumes of black smoke wafting over Tegucigalpa, the capital. The fire appeared to have hit stands selling mainly clothes and sneakers.

Mayor Ricardo Alvarez said two women were rescued, one with a head injury and another with symptoms of asphyxiation.

PARAGUAY

Soy producer apologizes to women, farmworkers

ASUNCION — The head of Paraguay’s largest soy producer is scrambling to apologize for remarks that outraged women and farmworkers.

Tranquilo Favero took out ads in national news media on Sunday to ask forgiveness for telling a Brazilian newspaper that Paraguayan farmworkers are lazy and that “you have to treat them like a bad woman, with a stick.”

Thousands of workers are demanding that the government expropriate nearly 650 square miles of Favero Group’s holdings and distribute them to the landless. Paraguay is a major exporter of soy.

Farmworker leader Victoriano Lopez recently questioned the Brazilian-born Mr. Favero’s loyalty, saying he was not Paraguayan.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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