- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Quebec parties prepare for three-way contest
MONTREAL Quebec's three political parties are preparing for the announcement tomorrow of a provincial election that would be the French-speaking province's first three-way contest since 1976.
Premier Bernard Landry is expected to announce that elections will be held April 14. Opinion polls show his ruling Quebec Party running neck and neck with the Quebec Liberal Party, with the conservative Democratic Action Party not far behind. The Quebec Party seeks a third straight term.
Speaking at the end of a party meeting Sunday, Mr. Landry, who was celebrating his 66th birthday, did not say a word about Quebec independence, formerly the heart of the Quebec Party's platform.

Isolation of 5 convicts said to mar U.S. appeals
HAVANA Cuba's National Assembly on Sunday charged that the United States was holding incommunicado five Cubans convicted of spying, and demanded that they be allowed to see attorneys.
Cuban lawmakers said the five, convicted in June 2001 by a Miami court and being held in five different federal prisons, all were placed in solitary confinement Feb. 28 and had been denied contact with attorneys, family and Cuban officials. They said the United States was trying to thwart an April 7 appeal of their sentences.
The five were part of a ring that infiltrated U.S. military bases and Cuban exile groups and fed information to Havana. They said at the trial that they caused no harm to the United States and gathered information solely to defend their homeland from terrorist attacks by Cuban exiles.
Cuban President Fidel Castro last week threatened to close the U.S. diplomatic mission in Havana for supporting dissidents.

Women demand peace, social advancement
SANTIAGO Women across Latin America made their political demands known during the weekend, marching in Chile against war in Iraq and in Argentina against hunger.
About 1,500 women chanted, "No to war in Iraq," and carried signs saying, "No to the Yankee imperialist war against the Iraqi people" on Saturday International Women's Day.
In Brazil, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva asked the country to reflect on the condition of Brazilian women. Though many Brazilian women hold jobs they earn on average two-thirds as much their male counterparts.
In Guatemala, local U.N. representatives urged the government to step up spending on women's education.

Weekly notes …
Venezuelan soldiers seized more than 5 tons of cocaine and 220 pounds of marijuana at two beach houses under armed guard on the Caribbean coast, El Nacional newspaper reported Sunday. Nine persons, all Venezuelans, were arrested in the coastal town of Carupano in Sucre state, state prosecutor Jose Guerrero said. The drugs were believed to have come from Colombia and were awaiting shipment to Trinidad before being sent to the United States and Europe, the paper said. … Argentine federal Judge Juan Jose Galeano has asked Interpol to arrest four Iranian diplomats, accusing them of responsibility for the 1994 car bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 persons and injured more than 200. The diplomats were identified as Moshen Rabbani, Barat Ali Balesh Abadi, Ali Fallahijan and Ali Akbar Parvaresh.

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