- The Washington Times - Monday, September 8, 2003

COLOMBIA

Extradited ex-senator links Samper, killing

BOGOTA — A former Colombian senator extradited to the United States acknowledged giving former President Ernesto Samper illegal campaign donations and claimed Samper allies plotted to kill an opposition leader, according to a magazine interview published Sunday.

Former Sen. Samuel Lopesierra told the weekly Cambio his donations to Mr. Samper’s 1994 campaign were meant to “buy permission” to continue smuggling cigarettes and liquor along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Mr. Samper could not be reached to comment on the claim.

Mr. Lopesierra spoke with the newsweekly from a Colombian jail before he was extradited on Aug. 29. He reportedly said close political friends of Mr. Samper conspired to kill opposition leader Alvaro Gomez Hurtado, a former senator and ambassador to Washington, who was fatally shot in 1995.

PERU

Rehabilitation pact signed for oil port

LIMA — The government said Sunday it had signed an environmental accord to preserve the marine area where the outlet for the $1.6 billion Camisea oil and natural-gas pipeline project is located.

Other signatories, along with environmental and civil organizations, were the Inter-American Development Bank, the Andean Development Corp., and Argentina’s Pluspetrol, part of the oil consortium leading the project.

CANADA

More fires ravage British Colombia

VANCOUVER — Nearly 1,000 people in western Canada fled their homes in the pre-dawn dark Sunday as wind threatened to push a wildfire into the outskirts of Kelowna, British Columbia, for the second time in three weeks.

The Okanagan Mountain Fire grew by 2,470 acres Saturday to 61,750 acres. British Columbia has been hit by its worst forest fire season in decades, and more than 600 blazes were burning Sunday, some of them out of control since mid-August.

Weekly notes …

Fifteen persons have died in an outbreak of yellow fever in Venezuela, health officials told reporters yesterday. El Nacional newspaper quoted Deputy Health Minister Luisa Lopez as saying 21 cases had been reported. Worst hit has been Zulia state on the Colombian border, she said. … A Panamanian judge ruled late Friday there is sufficient evidence to try an anti-communist accused of plotting to assassinate Cuban President Fidel Castro in Panama City in November 2000. After three days of hearings, Judge Enrique Paniza ruled that Cuban-born Luis Posada Carriles, 74, and six others would go on trial for possession of explosives, threatening public security and plotting to violate the law, but not for attempted murder.

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