- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Brazil and Ecuador talk trade
QUITO, Ecuador Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso is in Ecuador for a three-day visit with President Gustavo Noboa to discuss plans for a Free Trade Area of the Americas.
The two main Latin American trade blocs, Andean Community and Mercosur, hope to integrate their regions by the target deadline of January 2005 the proposed deadline set to conclude negotiations on a Western Hemisphere trade pact.
During Mr. Cardoso's visit, the two leaders are expected to sign several agreements to foster sustainable development in Ecuador's Amazon communities and provide training on the handling of natural disasters.

U.S. states help Mexican terror victims
MEXICO CITY Representatives of 31 U.S. states with offices in Mexico are putting together a fund to help Mexican victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
At least 15 Mexicans are listed as missing in the World Trade Center attacks, though the number of those killed but not identified could be far higher. Douglas Smurr, president of the U.S. Association of State Offices in Mexico, which represents the 31 U.S. states with offices here, helped announce the fund.
Mr. Smurr said the fund was created to repay Mexicans' generosity toward Americans in Mexico following the attacks.

Tijuana fears '666' area-code stigma
MEXICO CITY Business leaders in Tijuana have asked the federal government to change their new area code, concerned the number 666 will worsen the border city's reputation for violence.
The number is associated with Satan in the Bible.
Just across the border from San Diego, Tijuana has seen several police officials assassinated and dozens of people killed in drug-related violence.

Weekly notes
Juan Bosch, former president of the Dominican Republic, slipped into a coma over the weekend and was being kept alive on a respirator, his doctor in Santo Domingo announced. Mr. Bosch, 92, his country's first elected president in 1962, had scant hope of recovery, said his physician, Dr. Abel Gonzalez. A Colombian opposition party candidate who wants to continue peace talks with Marxist rebels has built a strong early lead ahead of next May's presidential election, according to an opinion poll published yesterday. Horacio Serpa of the Liberal Party drew 41.2 percent support in the poll, published jointly by El Tiempo newspaper, Semana magazine and RCN television and radio. Trailing a distant second with 23.4 percent was Alvaro Uribe, an independent Liberal who would send the army back into a demilitarized zone controlled by Marxist FARC rebels unless they declare a cease-fire and accept international monitors in their enclave. The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will carry out joint exercises with the Brazilian navy off the South American country's coast for six days starting tomorrow, the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia said yesterday.

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