- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2006


Transport strike hampers commute

TORONTO — Hundreds of thousands of frustrated commuters had to find alternate ways to work yesterday as subway stations across Canada’s largest city were shut down and buses and streetcars were halted by a labor dispute.

About 800,000 people use Toronto’s buses, streetcars and subway trains daily. Seven buses operated during yesterday morning’s rush hour, instead of the 1,300 that are normally in service. Subway and streetcar service also was crippled.

The battle has been brewing for months on several issues, including the safety of drivers, who said they have been attacked while trying to make some commuters pay their fares. Health premiums, job evaluations and a move to make cleaning and track-maintenance crews work permanent night shifts were other sticking points.


Chavez warns Bolivia of Bush plotting

LA PAZ — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged Bolivian forces to be on guard against conspirators, suggesting again that President Bush is plotting against the country’s left-leaning government.

Mr. Chavez’s comments during his weekly radio and television program Sunday were his latest response to Mr. Bush’s remarks last week that he was “concerned about the erosion of democracy” in Bolivia and Venezuela.

“When the U.S. president said a few days ago that he was worried because democracy is eroding in Bolivia, it’s because — you can be sure — he has a plan against Bolivia,” Mr. Chavez said without elaborating. He urged “his brothers, the Bolivian soldiers,” not to be caught off guard.

Weekly notes …

Nearly all the world’s tropical forests remain effectively unprotected, even though two-thirds have been designated for some sort of preservation in the past two decades, according to a report issued last week in Mexico City by the International Tropical Timber Organization. The study of tropical-forest management surveyed 2 billion acres — two-thirds of the world’s tropical forests — in 33 countries, but the group said it found that less than 5 percent of these forests were managed in a sustainable way last year. … Exiled Guatemalan ex-dictator Romeo Lucas Garcia, accused of human rights atrocities during a civil war, died of respiratory failure in a hospital in Venezuela at 81, his family said Sunday. He became Guatemala’s president in 1978 after winning an election rigged by the military but was ousted in a coup four years later by Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, whose rule was the bloodiest in a 36-year war that claimed about 200,000 lives.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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