- The Washington Times - Monday, September 22, 2003

MEXICO

1 dead as hurricane hits Baja California

CABO SAN LUCAS — Hurricane Marty battered Mexico’s southern Baja California Peninsula yesterday with winds near 85 mph, knocking out power, flooding streets and flattening trees as it chugged northward toward the Gulf of California. One death was reported.

The category 2 hurricane was expected to weaken slightly as it traveled over land. Forecasters said it could regain strength, however, when it reached the Gulf of California later in the day. Airports in the region remained closed.



A number of minor injuries were reported and hundreds of people were evacuated to shelters in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, cities in Los Cabos, a resort region known for its golf courses, dramatic landscapes.

CUBA

Castro shuns U.S. senator

HAVANA — Sen. Norm Coleman pressed human rights issues on a visit to Cuba and was shunned by President Fidel Castro, who usually meets with visiting U.S. lawmakers.

“President Castro’s people called Sunday night and said stand by in the hotel, but they never called back,” a member of the senator’s delegation said yesterday before Mr. Coleman, Minnesota Republican, left Havana. Mr. Coleman used the trip to announce that he was backing away from a previous position of seeking to ease the four-decade-old U.S. embargo on Cuba, because of its deteriorating human rights.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Quake damages office buildings

SANTO DOMINGO — An earthquake rattled the Dominican Republic early yesterday, knocking down an office building and damaging other structures, but there were no reports of deaths.

The quake’s epicenter was near the north coast, about 10 miles north of Santiago and 95 miles northwest of the capital, Santo Domingo, and had a magnitude of 6.5.

Weekly Notes …

Several major Canadian cities hit the brakes and left the cars at home yesterday as part of the global “car-free” day. The federal capital, Ottawa; Montreal; Toronto and Hamilton in Ontario; and Victoria in British Columbia were giving it a go. Canada, with a car for every two people, has one of the highest car-to-population ratios in the world. “Car-free days” were introduced in France in 1998 to enhance awareness of pollution from motor vehicles. This year 36 countries took part. … A Venezuelan drug gang riddled a funeral ceremony with gunfire, killing eight persons, including a child, as a family mourned a rival gang member shot days earlier. Bullet holes pockmarked the wooden coffin after the attackers pumped more than 100 rounds into the house in El Encantado barrio in easternCaracas Sunday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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