- The Washington Times - Monday, February 23, 2004

CANADA

Citizens by birth now aliens by quirk

OTTAWA — Tens of thousands of Canadian-born citizens who lost their citizenship as children when their families moved abroad might benefit from a campaign to allow them to have their rights restored. But it promises to be a long struggle.

John Reynolds, an opposition Conservative member of Parliament, has introduced a private bill to restore their citizenship. But because of the probability of a general election this year, it is likely the bill will have to start the legislative process over again.

Magali Castro-Gyr was born in Montreal in 1959, but her family moved abroad when she was a child. Last year, she had a job offer in Canada and applied for a Canadian passport, but was told she had lost her citizenship as a child, when her father moved the family to the United States and became a U.S. citizen. The law in force at the time has been repealed, but the change was not made retroactive.

COLOMBIA

Clashes kill 60 over the weekend

BOGOTA — The army clashed with leftist rebels and far-right paramilitary gunmen in separate battles over the weekend that left 60 dead, one of the highest body counts in months, the military announced.

The most heated combat took place in a cattle ranching region of Casanare province, about 185 miles northeast of Bogota, where the army intercepted a paramilitary caravan. Soldiers killed 21 paramilitaries and 10 soldiers also died, the army said.

Other fighting across the country claimed the lives of 28 rebels and another paramilitary fighter. The three-way conflict among the Colombian armed forces, the paramilitaries and Marxist rebels claims thousands of lives every year.

BRAZIL

Police kill 3 teens during carnival

RIO DE JANEIRO — Police fatally shot three teenagers suspected of drug trafficking in a Rio shantytown just as the slum’s samba school was parading in the annual pre-Lent carnival, authorities said yesterday.

Sunday’s killings infuriated residents of the vast hillside Rocinha slum in the upscale South Zone of the Brazilian city. Some threw stones at cars entering and leaving a nearby tunnel, and police fired shots into the air and tear gas in response.

The tunnel, next to the oceanside Leblon and Ipanema districts, was shut for about an hour as the city was swarming with tourists for the annual carnival that began Friday and ends today.

Police said the teens were lookouts for the drug gang controlling Rocinha, but their parents denied this and said the youths were simply returning from downtown.

Weekly notes

Cuba, the U.S. poultry industry’s eighth-largest export market, said over the weekend it would increase imports, despite the appearance of bird flu in four states and bans on U.S. chicken and eggs by some countries. Pedro Alvarez, chairman of Cuba’s state food importer Alimport, said Havana would buy 120,000 metric tons of U.S. poultry this year. The communist-run island has emerged as the 35th-biggest export market for U.S. agricultural products since Washington in 2000 loosened the trade embargo to allow food sales for cash. … Some Argentines have long wanted to make the International Monetary Fund disappear — and one person managed to do so. An Economy Ministry receptionist failed to recognize a visiting IMF official on Friday, confusing “FMI,” as the lender is known in Spanish, with the pop radio station FM Hit. “The receptionist thought she heard FM Hit and sent the official to the wrong place,” an Economy Ministry source said yesterday, seeking to play down the incident. An IMF mission is in Buenos Aires to review Argentina’s progress under a $13.3 billion three-year loan and decide whether the fund should continue it.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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