- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 6, 2006

VENEZUELA

Police find bodies of abducted schoolboys

CARACAS — Venezuelan police have found the bodies of three young brothers kidnapped in February driving to school in a case that has outraged many Venezuelans worried about violent crime.

John Bryan, Kevin and Jason Faddoul, who were 17, 13 and 12, respectively, were found in scrubland outside Caracas on Tuesday, shot in their heads and necks. The victims, who held Venezuelan and Canadian citizenship, were huddled together, still wearing their beige school uniforms, alongside the body of their driver.

The boys were stopped at a roadblock by a group of men dressed in police uniforms as they left for school on the morning of Feb. 23. A week later, the local press reported that the kidnappers had asked for a ransom of $4.7 million.

TANZANIA

Leaders agree to common market

DAR ES SALAAM — The leaders of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda said yesterday that they had agreed to create a common market among them by 2010 as they forge ahead with regional economic integration.

The presidents of the three nations that form the East African Community also agreed to decide on the admission of prospective members Burundi and Rwanda at a summit to be held later this year.

ISRAEL

Sharon undergoes successful surgery

JERUSALEM — Doctors successfully carried out surgery to restore part of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s skull yesterday, three months after the comatose leader suffered a massive brain hemorrhage.

The procedure was performed 24 hours later than scheduled because of a slight infection in his respiratory tract. The hospital had said the surgery would be conducted only after the infection cleared up.

A debilitating stroke on Jan. 4 has left the 78-year-old statesman bedridden and comatose.

NEPAL

Dozens arrested ahead of protests

KATMANDU — Police detained dozens of politicians and imposed a night curfew in Nepal’s capital yesterday to thwart opposition plans for a strike, while rebels killed six security troops in the southeast, officials and activists said.

Police also detained about 75 pro-democracy activists, including several journalists, who defied a ban on rallies in Katmandu. They had gathered to support a four-day strike planned to start today to pressure King Gyanendra to restore democracy more than a year after he seized control of the government.

CUBA

Investment dips as state tightens grip

HAVANA — Cuba narrowed opportunities for foreign investment last year, closing down nearly two businesses per week and approving just seven new joint ventures, government sources said this week.

The reduction was part of a general trend toward increased centralization and control of the more than 90 percent state-run economy after a liberalizing period in the 1990s in the wake of the demise of benefactor Soviet Union.

In 2004, the communist-run country shut down four businesses per week and approved less than 10 new joint ventures, but overall the numbers are down in 2005. There were 258 joint ventures and 115 cooperative production contracts at the close of 2005, compared with 313 and 133, respectively, the previous year.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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