- - Monday, March 26, 2012

CANADA

Ontario’s top court legalizes brothels

TORONTO — A ban on brothels puts prostitutes at risk and is unconstitutional, Ontario’s top court ruled Monday in a case that is expected to be appealed to Canada’s top court and have ramifications for the country at large.

The Ontario Court of Appeal said prostitutes should be allowed to work safely indoors.

The court in Canada’s most populous province has given the government a year to rewrite the law if it chooses.

At the same time, the court said concerns about the nuisance created by street prostitution are real, having a “profound impact on the members of the surrounding community.” So it upheld the ban on soliciting for the purposes of selling sex.

Prostitution itself is not illegal in Canada, but pimping, operating a brothel and communicating for the purposes of selling sex are considered criminal acts.

PERU

No problem with U.K. over nixing of ship visit

LIMA — Peru’s president has denied that problems exist in the country’s relations with Britain after Peru’s decision to cancel a visit by a British navy frigate.

Britain last week criticized the decision to cancel the warship’s visit. Peru said the visit was canceled out of solidarity with Argentina in its dispute with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

President Ollanta Humala said in an interview with the Peruvian television station Panamericana that “there is no impasse, no problem in the diplomatic relations between Great Britain and Peru.”

Mr. Humala said in the interview Sunday night that the cancellation of the visit is an “issue relating to the present situation.”

He said Peru’s relations with Britain “continue moving forward.”

COLOMBIA

Authorities claim 32 rebels killed

BOGOTA — President Juan Manuel Santos said a military raid killed 32 rebels in the country’s southern plains in the second major blow in less than a week to the Andean nation’s main guerrilla force.

Mr. Santos said the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) insurgents were killed before dawn Monday in Vista Hermosa in Meta province, a key municipality in a region of traditional rebel strength.

Last week, the military said it killed 33 rebels in Arauca state near the border with Venezuela.

The rebels took up arms in 1964 but have been badly battered in recent years, and are seeking peace talks. They have vowed to release their last prisoners in early April.

CHILE

No reports of deaths after strong quake

SANTIAGO — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck central Chile Sunday night, the strongest and longest that many people said they had felt since a huge quake devastated the area two years ago.

Some people were injured by falling ceiling material, but there were no reports of major damage or deaths because of quake-related accidents.

The quake struck at 7:30 p.m. about 16 miles north-northwest of Talca, a city of more than 200,000 people where residents said the shaking lasted about a minute.

BAHAMAS

Police: 4 killed in small plane crash

NASSAU — Four people died when their small plane crashed Sunday shortly after taking off from a tiny airport in the Bahamas en route to the United States, authorities said.

Police Superintendent Paul Rolle said two women and two men were killed in the accident at Treasure Cay’s airport on Abaco island. He said authorities were withholding their identities until relatives could be notified.

Former Treasure Cay chief councilor Steve Pedican said the single-engine Piper aircraft went down near the runway in Treasure Cay, which he said was buffeted by gusty winds Sunday.

The victims were married couples who owned second homes on the island and visited the Bahamas frequently, Mr. Pedican said.

ECUADOR

Floods force thousands from homes

QUITO — Ecuador’s government said floods and mudslides have caused at least 10 deaths so far this year and forced about 4,700 people to flee their homes.

Heavy rains have set off mudslides in some areas and caused rivers to overflow.

The government emergency management office said Sunday that at least 10 people have died and 14 have been injured during heavy rains since January.

Agency official Christian Taco said more than 4,700 people have evacuated their homes this year. Of those, about 2,800 are staying in disaster shelters while others moved in with relatives.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Agents seize drugs, arrest 3 Venezuelans

SANTO DOMINGO — Authorities said they seized 1.5 tons of cocaine and detained three Venezuelans allegedly transporting the drugs in a speedboat.

National Drug Control Agency chief Rolando Rosado Mateo said the suspects were captured at dawn Sunday while they were trying to unload the drugs in the southern beach town of Juan Dolio.

He said agents found bales of white power in the 40-foot speedboat.

Mr. Rosada said authorities think Dominican accomplices planned to meet the Venezuelans and then smuggle the cocaine into the United States and Europe.

From wire dispatches and staff reports