Mounties receive 1st civilian chief
OTTAWA — Canada named a former government security adviser late last week to head the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the first time that a civilian has held the post.
William Elliott replaces Giuliano Zaccardelli, who resigned amid criticism of his handling of a terror investigation.
Mr. Elliott served as a security adviser to Canada’s past two prime ministers. Traditionally, the RCMP commissioner has been promoted from within the ranks of the famed national police force.
Government backs minister on funds
BUENOS AIRES — President Nestor Kirchner’s government yesterday said it is standing by its economy minister, who has been accused of corruption after $64,000 was found stashed in her office bathroom.
Alberto Fernandez, Mr. Kirchner’s chief of staff, said Economy Minister Felisa Miceli would remain in office, despite the embarrassing revelations.
Opposition politicians called on Mr. Kirchner to fire the minister, accusing her of apparently of having accepted one or more bribes.
Elections set for late August
KINGSTON — Jamaicans will vote for a new government on Aug. 27, the island’s prime minister said this week, ignoring protests from opposition leaders for a quicker vote.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller announced the election date before thousands of supporters at a rally in the capital late Sunday. The ruling People’s National Party will be seeking a fifth consecutive five-year term in office.
The opposition Jamaica Labor Party, or JLP, immediately condemned the announcement, saying the election could be held sooner. The JLP has been out of power since 1983.
Lula lashes out at biofuels critics
BRASILIA — European competitors are trying to undermine Brazil’s biofuels production by raising environmental concerns, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said yesterday.
Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of ethanol and also a pioneer in developing biodiesel. It began a program to fuel cars with ethanol derived from sugar cane 30 years ago.
“We have adversaries that will make up any kind of slander against the quality of ethanol and biodiesel,” Mr. Lula da Silva said on his weekly radio show.
The president was responding to reports in European newspapers that said biofuels could contribute to deforesting the Amazon.
Uribe rejects rebel call for troop pullout
BOGOTA — Colombian President Alvaro Uribe dug in his heels over the weekend against Marxist guerrilla demands that he remove troops from a rural area to clear the way for prisoner swap talks.
Despite calls from families of rebel hostages urging him to agree to demilitarize a New York City-sized zone in the west of the country, Mr. Uribe signaled that he will stick with the hard-line security stance that got him elected.
The deadlock is bad news for kidnap victims such as French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, who was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, during her 2002 presidential campaign.
From wire dispatches and staff reports