- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 17, 2002

MEXICO

Holiday returnees urged to report abuses

MEXICO CITY President Vicente Fox urged Mexicans who live in the United States to report any corrupt border officials they encounter as they return home for the holidays.

During a weekly radio address on Saturday, Mr. Fox and members of his government gave out Web sites and toll-free telephone numbers with directions on how to report abuse by Mexican customs and other government officials.

Thousands of Mexican migrants head home for Christmas each year, many loaded with cash and gifts.


CUBA

Dissident allowed to accept EU award

MADRID Leading Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, on a trip to receive the European Union's top human rights prize, met Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar on Sunday to thank Mr. Aznar for his support.

Mr. Paya met Mr. Aznar in Madrid en route to Strasbourg, France, where he is to receive the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize today. Mr. Aznar had written to Cuban President Fidel Castro asking him to issue Mr. Paya a travel visa to receive the award.

Mr. Paya, 50, a medical-equipment engineer, heads the Varela Project a petition for democratic reforms signed by more than 11,000 Cubans that the government has ignored since it was presented in May.


CANADA

Inuit islanders get houses on mainland

NATUASHISH, Newfoundland Leaving behind two-room shacks, about 150 Inuits crossed the frozen Labrador Sea on snowmobiles Saturday to begin new lives in a town the government has built for them on the mainland.

The Inuits are from Davis Inlet, an island village off the northern coast of Newfoundland, where the community was settled 35 years ago. It came to international attention in the 1990s when reports emerged of a poverty so profound, children had taken to inhaling gasoline fumes to dull their senses. Answering a longtime Inuit plea, the government began construction of the new mainland community in 1997.


Weekly notes

Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde made good Saturday on his threat to withhold multilateral loan repayments without an International Monetary Fund bailout as Argentina missed a World Bank deadline. "It's a difficult situation," Mr. Duhalde said in a radio broadcast as Argentina defaulted on a $726 million payment. "Argentina wants to pay, but needs more time," he said. The government said paying the debt on time would exhaust central bank reserves by May 2003. After months of delay, Peru has named a new official to translate a 700-page extradition request for former President Alberto Fujimori into Japanese. The official gazette identified Isabel Fukuhara as the translator and said she would be paid $70,000 for the task that is expected to take nine months.

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