- The Washington Times - Monday, May 14, 2012

SANTIAGO — A magnitude-6.2 earthquake shook down walls and knocked out electricity in parts of far-northern Chile, but no injuries or major damage were reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake, which occurred at 6 a.m. local time, was centered 66 miles northeast of the city of Arica.

It was also felt in some regions of Peru and in the Bolivian capital of La Paz, 120 miles away.

The Chilean government emergency agency said about 250 people fled into the streets of Arica when the shaking started but then returned to their homes.

Arica’s port and airport were functioning normally and Chile’s Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service discounted the possibility of a tsunami.

Tarapaca region Gov. Jose Durana said walls fell in some sectors and some roads were blocked by the quake, which also cut power to more than 3,000 homes in Arica.

Power also was cut for a time in the Peruvian city of Tacna.

A magnitude-7.1 quake struck central Chile on March 25 and in 2010, a magnitude-8.8 quake caused a tsunami that obliterated much of the downtown area of the coastal city of Constitucion.

MEXICO

Drug war’s latest toll: 49 headless bodies

MONTERREY — Police found 49 mutilated bodies scattered in a pool of blood near the border with the U.S., a region where Mexico’s two dominant drug cartels are trying to outdo each other in bloodshed while warring over smuggling routes.

The bodies of 43 men and six women with their heads, hands and feet chopped off were dumped at the entrance to the town of San Juan, on a highway that connects the industrial city of Monterrey with Reynosa, across from McAllen, Texas.

At the spot where authorities discovered the bodies before dawn Sunday, a white stone arch that normally welcomes visitors to the town was spray-painted with “100% Zeta” in black letters - an apparent reference to the fearsome Zetas drug cartel that was founded by deserters from the Mexican army’s special forces.

The bodies, some of them in plastic garbage bags, were most likely brought to the spot and dropped from the back of a dump truck, Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said.

Mr. Domene said the dead would be hard to identify because of the lack of heads, hands and feet. The remains were taken to a Monterrey auditorium for DNA tests.

PANAMA

Fisherman sues cruise line for not helping

PANAMA CITY — A Panamanian man who watched his two companions die while surviving at sea for 28 days in their small disabled boat has sued a U.S. cruise line because one of its ships failed to help, his attorney said Sunday.

Attorney Edna Ramos said the lawsuit alleging negligence by Princess Cruise Lines was filed in a Florida state court on behalf of Adrian Vazquez.

The 18-year-old Vazquez and companions Fernando Osorio, 16, and Elvis Oropeza, 31, set off for a night of fishing Feb. 24 from Rio Hato, a small fishing and farming town on the Pacific coast of Panama that was once the site of a U.S. Army base guarding the Panama Canal.

The boat’s motor broke down on the way back, and the men drifted at sea for 16 days before seeing a cruise ship approach March 10.

Mr. Vazquez has said the men signaled for help, but the ship did not stop.

Princess Cruises has said passengers never told the ship’s captain they saw a boat.

Osorio and Oropeza died later. Mr. Vazquez was rescued March 22 near Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, more than 600 miles from where they had set out.

Ms. Ramos said the lawsuit includes testimony from two cruise ship passengers who have said they saw the disabled boat and reported it to a cruise representative on the Star Princess liner.

COLOMBIA

Red Cross official hopeful over reporter’s release

BOGOTA — A Red Cross official said Monday he is optimistic that communist rebels will soon release kidnapped French journalist Romeo Langlois.

“Romeo Langlois is hurt and must be released and returned to his family right away,” said Daniel Munoz, of the International Committee of the Red Cross, after rebels of the Armed Revolutionary Front of Colombia announced they plan to free the reporter.

Mr. Munoz, a correspondent for the France 24 TV channel, was captured April 28 during a battle between Colombian troops and the rebels.

Mr. Langlois, who was filming the clash, was wounded in an arm.

From wire dispatches and staff reports