- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 25, 2001

Santa's gift to Rio: 14 extra megawatts
RIO DE JANEIRO Things are looking brighter in Brazil, where the government has relaxed its rigorous rationing of electricity so people can turn on their Christmas lights.
"That should help improve people's humor," said Euclides Scalco, head of the company that runs the huge Itaipu hydroelectric dam on Brazil's southwestern border with Paraguay.
Cities are getting an extra 14 megawatts for holiday lights, which must be shut off by midnight except on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Cuba faces bleak 2002 as dollar sources fail
HAVANA Cuba faces a bleak new year because tourism and other dollar-generating engines credited for pulling it out of a depression in the 1990s are sputtering, state media report.
Official media, reporting on a closed-door session of the National Assembly last week that reviewed Cuba's economic situation, said tourist arrivals increased just 1 percent, family remittances declined and exports stagnated this year, with little prospect of improvement in 2002.

At least 34 die in storms in Brazil
RIO DE JANEIRO At least 34 persons have died in flooding and landslides caused by torrential rains that continued to batter Rio de Janeiro state in southeastern Brazil yesterday, officials said.
More victims may be found as rescue workers search through the destruction wrought since rains began on Sunday, said Col. Jorge Lopes, the state civil defense chief. Col. Lopes said the region hardest hit was Petropolis, in the mountains north of Rio de Janeiro city, where 20 persons died and a state of emergency had been declared.

Attorneys seek transfer for pregnant pop star
SAO PAULO, Brazil Attorneys for Gloria Trevi are petitioning for the imprisoned Mexican pop star to be placed under house arrest in Brazil so she can deliver her baby in a clean and healthy environment, lawyers told a newspaper here.
The identity of the father is not known. Federal police believe Miss Trevi was made pregnant by a maritime police commissioner while in federal custody. She and manager-husband Sergio Andrade were arrested in January in Rio de Janeiro on Mexican warrants charging corruption of minors after they failed to appear for questioning.

Weekly notes
Colombian authorities have agreed to extradite a suspected Colombian drug trafficker to the United States, turning him over to U.S. marshals in Bogota, authorities announced Sunday. Judicial police Col. Alberto Ruiz called the man in custody, Gabriel Antonio Pelaez, "an important trafficker who managed a network with connections in the United States, especially in New York." Uruguayan President Jorge Batlle announced he would travel to Argentina Thursday to meet with newly named President Adolfo Rodriguez Saa . Mr. Batlle said he would bring a message of solidarity from the other members of the South American trade bloc Mercosur, which also includes Brazil and Paraguay and associate members Bolivia and Chile.

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