- The Washington Times - Monday, May 1, 2006


Foreign delegates join May Day rite

HAVANA — More than 1,700 delegates from 79 countries joined in as Cuban President Fidel Castro led a colorful ceremony in Havana early yesterday to celebrate May Day.

The veteran Cuban leader appeared in his traditional olive green uniform, in contrast to the red, black and white shirts of the estimated 2 million participants celebrating the traditional labor holiday.

Participants waved flags from Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia to celebrate the Saturday signing of a trilateral trade pact designed to counter a U.S.-led drive to forge a Pan-American free-trade area.

Similar rallies were scheduled in 169 cities across the Caribbean island nation.


German foreign minister set for tour

BERLIN — German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was expected in Chile yesterday in the first stage of a South American tour, his ministry announced. It will be Mr. Steinmeier’s first visit to South America as foreign minister.

Preparations for the fourth European Union-Latin America-Caribbean summit, planned for May 11 and 12 in Vienna, Austria, will be high on the agenda. Heads of state and government from 58 countries are to meet at the summit to discuss closer cooperation, particularly with regards to trade.

Mr. Steinmeier was scheduled to meet prominent business figures in Chile’s capital, Santiago, yesterday, before talks today with President Michelle Bachelet. He will be in Buenos Aires tomorrow to meet Argentine President Nestor Kirchner and visit a Volkswagen plant. Mr. Steinmeier also will speak to representatives of Argentina’s Jewish community.

Weekly notes …

Several foreigners were injured and two persons were killed when a bus overturned on a highway near Chinandega in western Nicaragua, a police official said Sunday. The bus was en route to El Salvador when it overturned. Police said a Salvadoran woman and another unidentified woman were killed in the crash. Most of the 16 injured were foreigners, the official said, including a Briton, a Spaniard and a Brazilian. … Nearly 100,000 people marched near the Argentine city of Gualeguaychu on Sunday to protest a pulp mill project in Uruguay that they fear will pollute the river dividing the two nations. This demonstration followed months of sporadic roadblocks imposed by environmentalists and local residents on a highway linking the countries, protests that Uruguay says have cost its economy about $400 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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