- The Washington Times - Monday, March 14, 2005

HAITI

Ex-soldiers yield seven rusty rifles

CAP-HAITIEN — Dozens of ex-soldiers surrendered seven dilapidated firearms Sunday and applied to become Haitian policemen, saying they are “ready for peace” after helping overthrow elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide last year.

The paltry turnover of arms — six aging M-1 rifles and a corroded Uzi 9 mm — underscored the difficulty facing Haiti’s interim government as it seeks to disarm rivals and street gangs. Both groups are blamed for hundreds of killings in clashes that could disrupt planned elections this fall.

About 280 members of Haiti’s demobilized army, stood in formation at their old base in this northern town as interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue and U.N. envoy Juan Gabriel Valdes looked on.

SPAIN

Meeting signals thaw with Cuba

MADRID — Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque met with Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero here yesterday and invited the monarch to visit the communist-ruled island in a move toward a thaw in relations.

Mr. Perez Roque had been scheduled to meet with Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, but his royal appointment was a sign of a warming in relations between the two countries.

CANADA

Computer sought to predict tsunami

VANCOUVER — As Asia rushes to erect a tsunami early warning system, Canada is searching for a supercomputer to alert scientists of a tidal surge they fear could crash one day onto its Pacific coast.

Spurred by the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed about 300,000 people, federal officials this week put out a tender for a $140,000 supercomputer. “I expect these new-generation computer models will be tested against the extreme data from Sumatra,” said Robin Brown of the government’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Weekly notes …

The Bush administration reportedly is working to contain Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s influence on some Latin American countries. “Chavez is a problem because he is clearly using his oil money and influence to introduce his conflictive style into the politics of other countries,” Roger Pardo-Maurer, deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere affairs at the Pentagon, told London’s Financial Times. … Argentina sent a wanted child molester and sect leader back to Chile, where he faces numerous charges, La Nacion newspaper in Buenos Aires reported yesterday. Paul Schaefer, 83, an ex-Nazi, is wanted in Chile on charges he molested more than two dozen children while leader of Colonia Dignidad, an armed and gated community he joined in 1961. After the military coup of 1983, the facility became a torture camp of the former Chilean secret service DINA.

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