- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 3, 2002

NICARAGUA
U.S. revokes Aleman's visa
MANAGUA The United States has revoked the visa of former President Arnoldo Aleman, who is accused of stealing nearly $100 million, according to a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy here.
Mr. Aleman's visa was revoked under a section of law that allows Washington to punish those accused of fraud and money laundering, said embassy spokesman Michael Stevens. Mr. Aleman, who left office in January, also has been accused of misspending $1.3 million in public funds intended for a state-controlled television station.
He denies the charges and has immunity from prosecution as a member of the legislature, where his party holds a majority.

CANADA
Funds earmarked for clearing land mines
MONTREAL The federal government said last week that it was earmarking the equivalent of U.S. $46 million over five years starting in April to help fund initiatives for disposing of anti-personnel mines around the world.
Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham made the announcement Friday on the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Ottawa Convention banning anti-personnel mines. It has been ratified by at least 125 countries, but major military powers including the United States, Russia, China, India and Pakistan have refused to do so.
Since 1997, Ottawa has allocated the equivalent of U.S. $64 million to the project.

ARGENTINA
Bank depositors get access to accounts
BUENOS AIRES Thousands of Argentines lined up at banks yesterday as the government allowed depositors free access to their money for the first time in a year, meeting an International Monetary Fund requirement.
The unpopular freeze on checking and savings accounts imposed a year ago touched off riots nationwide in which about 30 people died; the freeze also brought down the government of President Fernando de la Rua.
The country's four-year recession became an economic collapse a year ago when the government defaulted on its $141 billion debt.

Weekly notes
President Vicente Fox, who took the oath of office two years ago Sunday, is scrambling to shore up Mexico's faith in democracy and his place in history. Limited by law to one six-year term, Mr. Fox, who promised a better life based in part on improved relations with the United States, says his first two years were about transition and the next four will be about results. The heaviest storms in 30 years lashed Panama's northwestern Atlantic coast, leaving one person dead and more than a thousand homeless, Panamanian authorities said yesterday. Ten inches of rain has fallen since Nov. 23. Entire houses washed away in the worst-hit province of Bocas del Toro bordering on Costa Rica, the Emergency Civil Protection Commission said.


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