- The Washington Times - Monday, March 28, 2005


Mountain conditionsraise avalanche danger

REVELSTOKE, British Columbia — Backcountry skiers and snowmobile users were warned about the high risk of avalanches after up to 20 inches of fresh snow fell over the weekend on the province’s mountains from Whistler to the Kootenays.

“We’ve already had lots of reports of people triggering avalanches,” Alan Jones, an avalanche forecaster with the Canadian Avalanche Center in Revelstoke, told the Vancouver Sun. “Fortunately, we haven’t had any reports of people getting caught or buried.”

Mr. Jones said so much snow amid milder spring temperatures “is something to be concerned about.” On average, 15 persons are killed every year by avalanches in Canada, most of them in British Columbia.


Counterprotestersskip dissidents’ march

HAVANA — A week after being confronted by pro-government marchers, the wives of jailed dissidents paraded peacefully Sunday after Easter services to demand the release of their husbands.

The counterprotesters from the Federation of Cuban Women had said a week earlier they would return on Easter, but they didn’t. “I think that this time they didn’t want to make the same big error, especially with the vote in Geneva coming,” said marcher Gisela Delgado, referring to the expected vote on Cuba’s human rights record in mid-April by the U.N. Human Rights Commission.

She is the wife of prisoner Hector Palacios, one of 75 dissidents jailed two years ago in a crackdown on independent writers and journalists. Though 14 have been freed on medical parole, 61 are still serving sentences of six to 28 years on charges of working with U.S. officials to undermine Fidel Castro’s government.


Farm owner surrenders in U.S. nun’s killing

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian authorities have apprehended the last suspect in the slaying last month of Sister Dorothy Stang, 73, an Ohio-born nun of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and environmental activist in the Amazon for 38 years.

Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura surrendered to authorities in the Amazon city of Altamira, about 80 miles from where Sister Dorothy was shot last month. One of her confessed killers said she was shot in the face several times at close range, on orders from Mr. Bastos de Moura, a farm owner in Para state who reputedly paid the killers.

The farm owner has maintained his innocence in the Feb. 12 killing. Among the evidence discovered was a handgun found on his farm that ballistics tests show was used to kill Sister Dorothy. Investigators say other farm owners may be implicated in a conspiracy to eliminate environmental and farm-labor activists.

Weekly notes

Argentina is planning no new offer for the 23.85 percent of holders of bonds from the country’s 2001 default who rejected a debt-swap plan this month, Foreign Minister Rafael Bielsa said yesterday in Ankara after talks with Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul. “The swap is over. It will not be renewed, and no new initiative is planned,” Mr. Bielsa said, adding that the holdouts can try their luck in the courts. … A roadside explosion hit a Canadian Embassy vehicle in the Afghan capital Monday, wounding a Canadian passenger. Officials said it appeared the blast, which left a 5-foot-wide crater beside the busy road in eastern Kabul, was caused by a remote-controlled bomb. An official at the Canadian Embassy said the man injured was a security guard. Witnesses told reporters he walked unaided from the wreckage.

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