- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2007

MEXICO

Families, strikers remember miners

PASTA DE CONCHOS — Dozens of poor Mexicans mourned their dead and striking miners closed one of the world’s biggest silver mines yesterday to mark the first anniversary of a coal-pit blast that killed 65 men.

One year later, only two bodies have been recovered from the Pasta de Conchos mine about 80 miles south of the Texas border, and relatives are angry that no one has been prosecuted for the disaster. “I won’t rest until I have my boy back, until I can bury my child,” Rosa Maria Ramos said as she lay flowers for her son, Jose, at a shrine to the dead.

Families, state officials and miners attended an open-air Roman Catholic Mass at the mine.

Grupo Mexico, the country’s largest mining company, owns Pasta de Conchos. Across the country, thousands of unionized miners held a one-day strike to press the government to punish the company.

PERU

Chefs raise culinary profile

LIMA — Peruvians have been proud of their elaborate, spicy food throughout their history of poverty and political turmoil, and now superstar chefs are magnets for culinary tourists.

Lima used to be no more than a one-night stopover for foreign tourists in Peru — many of them backpackers and budget travelers — to visit the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu and the neighboring city of Cuzco.

But the fame of young Peruvian chefs abroad has helped ignite a culinary explosion and made the Pacific coast capital city more attractive to visitors, especially after a leftist insurgency ended in the 1990s and was followed by economic growth and greater political stability.

CANADA

Ban proposed on flame retardant

TORONTO — A group of chemicals known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), widely used as flame retardants, are so harmful that Environment Canada has added them to the country’s list of toxic chemicals and wants manufacturers banned from making them, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported yesterday.

Environment Canada is proposing a ban on two formulations no longer made in North America, but it is allowing continued use of the most common type.

Although the PBDEs are used in Canada, they aren’t made in the country, and environmentalists say any ban on domestic manufacturing would be meaningless if the government provides a huge loophole for continued public exposure through imports.

Weekly notes …

The head of a Canadian inquiry into the 1985 Air India bombing threatened yesterday to quit unless the government declassifies documents it has said must be kept secret for security reasons. The commissioner, former Supreme Court Justice John Major, said the issue hampers his examination of the security lapses that allowed the explosion, which killed 329 in history’s deadliest bombing of a passenger airliner. … An Iranian refugee who spent three years in the sanctuary of a Vancouver church was granted asylum yesterday, two days after police arrested him on an outstanding deportation warrant. Amir Kazemian was freed after Canada’s immigration department said his last-ditch bid to stay in Canada as a refugee was accepted, on “humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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