- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2004

MEXICO

U.S. volunteers will aid business

MEXICO CITY — Mexico has broken a decades-old tradition of rejecting U.S. aid workers, granting permission for the first group of U.S. Peace Corps volunteers to work here.

Mindful of national sensitivity over U.S. influence, though, the government plans to keep the group out of public view. The first 15 volunteers, scheduled to arrive this summer, won’t be performing the Peace Corps’ usual tasks of working on construction, in rural schools, in clinics or with farmer training. They will be tucked away in research centers to work on information technology, science and business development.

“This is not the typical [Peace Corps] program. These people are not going to be working out in the villages,” said Efrain Aceves Pina, international-affairs director for Mexico’s National Science and Technology Council.

BRAZIL

Lula da Silva received in India

NEW DELHI — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva watched India’s annual Republic Day parade yesterday with Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam as Russian-built T-90 tanks and nuclear-capable missiles rolled down New Delhi’s historic Rajpath.

Later, Mr. Kalam hosted a reception in the presidential palace,` where the Brazilian president met with deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and opposition leader Sonia Gandhi.

Mr. Lula da Silva also met with Defense Minister George Fernandes and discussed joint production of military equipment by the two countries. India is buying five executive jets from Brazil’s Embraer for the Indian Air Force, which will be used for flying senior officials and ministers.

A preferential customs-duty agreement between India and the Latin American trading bloc Mercosur was signed Sunday in the presence of Mr. Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

Weekly Notes

Former Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet, 88, was discharged from a military hospital Saturday after being treated overnight for a fractured left shoulder, a hospital source said. He was injured Friday at his home in Los Boldos, 68 miles west of Santiago on Chile’s Pacific coast, and flown to the hospital by helicopter. … Thirty victims of Guatemala’s civil war were reburied with honors Sunday in an Indian community west of the capital, nearly 22 years after their deaths. The Guatemalan civil war, which lasted 36 years and ended in 1996, claimed 150,000 lives.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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