- The Washington Times - Monday, July 14, 2003

HAITI

Pro-government thugs injure more than 30

PORT-AU-PRINCE — More than 30 people, including five journalists and two policemen, were injured here when pro-government demonstrators attacked a weekend gathering of an opposition umbrella group, according to organizers and media reports.

Two of the five injured journalists were hospitalized after the incident Saturday at a Catholic school in Cite Soleil, Port-au-Prince’s largest shantytown and a bastion of support for ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Some attackers carried guns, and one police officer received a gunshot wound, police said.

The government supporters also lobbed stones at the cars of U.S., French and Organization of American States diplomats.

MEXICO

PRI inches closer to controlling House

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s former ruling party inched closer to a majority in Congress’ lower house, a gain that would make it even harder for President Vicente Fox to accomplish his goals before he leaves office in 2006.

Federal officials announced the final vote tallies and party percentages from the July 6 midterm congressional elections, but did not give a final tally of seats.

A high-ranking federal official said the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which lost the presidency in 2000 after 71 years in power, won 224 seats in the House of Deputies — a gain of 17 but 27 short of a majority. An alliance of the “outs” could let the PRI cobble together a majority and push its own agenda.

COLOMBIA

FARC rebels eye humanitarian pact

BOGOTA — The rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) signaled yesterday it might be ready to seek a humanitarian accord on its kidnapped hostages, but stressed that southern Colombia still needs to be demilitarized.

Colombia’s government has strongly rebuffed such demilitarization calls from FARC in the past. The armed Marxist group said in a statement it wants a peace settlement with the government, but denounced President Alvaro Uribe’s “militaristic rule.”

The group, which is holding hundreds of hostages, said it is paying heed to the urging of political parties, the Catholic Church, foreign governments and the general public, all hoping for a settlement and release of hostages.

Weekly notes …

At least 20 children have died in a winter cold spell that has hit Peru’s southeastern Carabaya province, an official in Lima said Sunday. Entire families have been affected by the temperature drop to as low as minus 9, said Alberto Quinonez, and those living at altitudes above 2 miles are faring the worst. The weather is among the coldest seen in the Puno region since 1962, when it got as cold as minus 30. … Montserrat’s volcano spewed thick clouds of ash into the air Sunday, plunging several Caribbean islands into a gritty haze that caused cancellation of dozens of flights and caused a car accident that killed one person.


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