- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2006


Gang attacks go on; over 70 police slain

SAO PAULO — Prison riots and attacks on police by a criminal gang extended into yesterday, raising the reported death toll to 70 in four days of violence that is choking normal life in South America’s largest city.

Brazilian news media reported that the federal government was preparing to send troops to enforce control of Sao Paulo. Officials said Sunday the death toll had reached at least 52 after at least 100 separate attacks since Friday, but the Globo TV network said additional overnight attacks had raised the toll to more than 70.

Most of those dead were reported to be police officers targeted by a powerful criminal gang protesting the prison transfer of some of its leaders. Officials said they had arrested at least 72 suspects. Attacks on public buses led many companies to halt service, stranding thousands of people trying to get to work yesterday.


Accept nationalization, advises Shell chief

LONDON — The nationalization of energy in oil and gas countries is a new reality that must be accepted, the chief executive of Anglo-Dutch giant Royal Dutch Shell said in an interview in yesterday’s Financial Times.

The head of Shell, Jeroen van der Veer, told the newspaper that energy companies must accept recent moves by Latin American countries like Bolivia and Venezuela to bring their gas and oil industries under state control. “The higher the oil and gas price is, the more national thinking you get,” he was quoted as saying. “In the end, governments are always the boss.”

Mr. Van der Veer termed pursuit of legal action against such nations “counterproductive,” adding: “In Venezuela, we were one of the first to renegotiate. Under the circumstances, we are quite satisfied. We can work our future there. We have harmony with the government, which is very important.”


Bear mauls cyclist in Alberta park

BANFF, Alberta — A black bear chased down and mauled a bicyclist on a mountain trail in Canada’s most popular national park, its chief warden said. The bear was later fatally shot, and the cyclist was being treated for severe arm injuries at Foothills Hospital in Calgary.

Authorities said Greg Flaaten, 41, a Web administrator for the town of Banff, was attacked by the bear Friday evening along the heavily wooded Hoodoos-Bow River Trail in Banff National Park. “We heard he had been chased on the bicycle for a while,” said Ian Syme, the chief warden.

Shortly after the attack, two persons on the trail spotted Mr. Flaaten’s bike and a broken helmet and heard him calling for help.

The 140 pound bear, later found pacing the area, was killed by the animal warden.

Weekly notes …

Mexican conservative presidential candidate Felipe Calderon had a four-point lead in a poll published in El Universal newspaper yesterday, the latest survey to show him overtaking leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, ex-mayor of Mexico City, who dropped three points to 35 percent in the July 2 election race. Mr. Calderon of President Vicente Fox’s National Action Party was at 39 percent, up from 34 percent a month ago. The campaign turned nasty after the Calderon team began attacking Mr. Lopez Obrador, who promises that if elected, he will give priority to Mexico’s millions of poor. … Aston “Family Man” Barrett, bass player in Bob Marley’s band the Wailers, failed yesterday in his London court battle for a slice of the late Jamaican reggae legend’s royalties. Mr. Barrett, who with his drummer brother Carlton is credited with inventing the reggae beat, claimed that since Mr. Marley’s death in 1981, he had been owed $112.8 million. The musician now faces selling his two homes in Jamaica to pay legal costs, estimated near $3.8 million.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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