- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Venezuela's Chavez says top court coerced

CARACAS, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez says the Supreme Court is being pressured to rule in favor of four military officers accused of rebellion and has warned that Venezuelans and the military won't stand for it.

"There are some Supreme Court magistrates that are being manipulated from the outside by people who have a lot of money," Mr. Chavez said during his weekly Sunday broadcast. "Do you think the people will stand for this?"

The Supreme Court is deciding whether four senior military officers should stand trial for their roles in the April 12-14 coup. A ruling is expected this week. In the coup, Mr. Chavez was ousted a day after 18 persons died and hundreds were injured during an opposition march.

Mr. Chavez was swept back to power by loyalist troops and civilian protests.

Cuban farm scientist wins World Food Prize

TORONTO Cuban agronomist Pedro Sanchez was named World Food Prize laureate Sunday for his contribution to reducing hunger and malnutrition throughout the developing world.

The prize, announced at the International Horticultural Congress here, recognizes Mr. Sanchez's accomplishments in "transforming depleted tropical soils into productive agricultural land," according to a statement from the World Food Prize Foundation.

Born in Havana in 1940 and educated at Cornell University in the United States, Mr. Sanchez's achievements include helping Peru sharply improve its national food security and achieve one of the highest rice yields in the world.

Trinidad to bail out cash-short Dominica

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago This Caribbean country is coming to the rescue of Dominica, offering this week to lend $8.3 million to its cash-strapped neighbor.

Trinidad officials confirmed that the government had responded in the affirmative to a request for aid last month by Dominica's prime minister, Pierre Charles.

"We are committed to providing help via a stabilization fund to be managed by the Caribbean Development Bank," Junior Finance Minister Kenneth Valley said Sunday. "We believe we have an obligation to assist."

Dominica's financial difficulties are said to be so dire that it is unable to pay public-sector wages for July. "We have been persuaded to bite the bullet to pull Dominica out of the hole," Swinburne Lestrade, Dominica's director general of finance, told the Trinidad Express newspaper.

Weekly notes

Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham yesterday deplored recent attacks on humanitarian workers in Russia and in African countries. "Canada condemns these attacks and appeals to national and local authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice," he said. The highest prices in almost 20 years for coca leaf, cocaine's raw material, are pushing farmers in Peru to plant more drug crops, says a top anti-drug official. Nils Ericsson, head of Peru's anti-drug agency, told Reuters news agency that a kilo of coca leaf sells for $3 to $4, the highest price since 1985.

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