- The Washington Times - Monday, March 20, 2006

MEXICO

Leftist increases lead in polls

MEXICO CITY — Leftist front-runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador extended his lead over his closest rival for Mexico’s July presidential election despite increasing attacks from opponents, an opinion poll showed yesterday.

The survey in the Milenio daily said 38 percent of those polled would vote for Mr. Lopez Obrador, the Party of the Democratic Revolution’s candidate.

In Milenio’s poll in February, the leftist had 36 percent support.

Roberto Madrazo, the candidate for the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), slipped one percentage point to 30 percent, while Felipe Calderon of the ruling National Action Party lost two percentage points to 29 percent.

COLOMBIA

11 Boy Scouts killed in flash flood

BOGOTA — Eleven Colombian Boy Scouts were killed during the weekend by a flash flood while bathing in hot springs in the mountainous central part of the country, police said yesterday.

The 14-member hiking excursion near the town of Manizales in the coffee-growing province of Caldas was hit by the flood Saturday afternoon. The washout was caused by heavy rain that continued to hamper efforts to recover the bodies yesterday.

BOLIVIA

Cuba helps adults learn how to read

SAN ROQUE — Celso Mamani is one of more than 700,000 Bolivians who cannot read or write. Now, as part of a Cuban literacy scheme, the 54-year-old father of six is picking up a pen for the first time.

“Sometimes my children ask me questions about their school work and I feel bad that I can’t help them,” Mr. Mamani said. “We didn’t have much money when I was young, so I never finished my education.”

Bolivia is South America’s poorest country, and President Evo Morales — an Aymara Indian who never went to college — has said ending illiteracy is a key part of his plan to empower the poor indigenous majority.

Weekly notes …

Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito arrived in Vancouver Sunday night on the final leg of his North American trip. Here, he plans to meet with Japanese living in Canada and visit tourist spots like Stanley Park. He left Mexico earlier Sunday after visiting the wetlands at Celestun, where he saw flocks of flamingos. He planned to return to Japan today. … The University of British Columbia has scored a major academic coup, snagging an American Nobel Prize winner from the University of Colorado with a promise to direct $12 million over the next five years toward the scholar’s passion to improve science teaching. The departure of professor Carl Wieman from the university in Boulder, Colo., is a significant loss to the school.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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