- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2003


Pro-business mayor wins election

GUATEMALA CITY — The pro-business former mayor of Guatemala City parlayed his urban popularity to an easy victory in a presidential runoff, results showed yesterday, four years after he left politics and swore he would never come back.

Oscar Berger’s first promise after early results gave him an insurmountable lead was to put together “an honest team” and an austere budget.

He ran a campaign pledging an investment-friendly administration that will infuse capital into a sluggish economy and create thousands of jobs.


Mountaintop solitude eludes superstars

LIMA — Superstar couple Leonardo DiCaprio and Giselle Bundchen spent the night Saturday in the ruins of the Incan city of Machu Picchu, sloshing through the rain under umbrellas on the medieval trails.

The star of “Gangs of New York” and his Brazilian supermodel girlfriend traveled from Cuzco to Machu Picchu in relative solitude on the luxury Hiram Bingham train.

But once they arrived at the mountaintop city, the couple lost any hope of disappearing among the tourists and found photographers waiting for them in the rain.

A 15-year-old Chilean burst past their bodyguards asking for an autograph, which she brandished like a trophy to her star-struck friends.


Drug king suspect surrenders to police

BUCARAMANGA — A reputed leader of the Cali drug cartel surrendered to Colombian authorities Sunday in Bucaramanga.

Daniel Serrano Gomez, a reputed accountant for the cocaine-smuggling ring, is believed to be the third-highest-ranking Cali cartel member in custody.

The two brothers who founded the group, Miguel and Gilberto Rodriguez Orejuela, were imprisoned in Colombia in 1995.

An extradition order issued by the United States on Dec. 18 says the Rodriguez brothers have continued to run their empire from their prison cells. The order also seeks the extradition of Mr. Gomez.

Weekly notes

Juan Garcia Ponce, a renowned art critic, translator and prize-winning novelist, has died. He was 71. Mr. Garcia Ponce died of complications from multiple sclerosis, from which he suffered for more than three decades, Mexican news reported. … The smaller of two Colombian leftist rebel groups has rejected a government offer to open peace talks, local news reported. Nicolas Rodriguez Bautista told the El Espectador newspaper that his

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