- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 24, 2007


U.S. tourist dies from mine fall

MEXICO CITY — A 16-year-old U.S. tourist fell 1,000 feet to his death at an abandoned mine in central Mexico, and rescue workers were trying to recover his body.

Witnesses told police that Taylor Crane, of Pennsylvania, tried to jump over the 10-foot-wide shaft of the Cinco Senores mine in Guanajuato state and fell into it Friday, said Jose Felix Velazquez, a spokesman for police in San Luis de la Paz, where the mine is located.

Mr. Felix Velazquez said about 40 searchers have been working on the recovery effort, which has been complicated because the mine is flooded with water that “has a lot of arsenic and lead, and that makes it hard to breathe down there.”


Ban on sales of shark fins lifted

QUITO — Ecuador’s president overturned a ban on the sale of shark fins, which are popular in Asia, but stipulated that they can be sold only if the sharks are caught by fishermen accidentally.

In a presidential decree Friday, Rafael Correa said the legalization of the sale of shark fins would help generate income for fishermen and added that shark fishing would remain illegal.

During the 2004 ban, the sale of shark fins was punishable by up to two years in prison. Critics said the new measure will lead to increased shark catches.


Lawmakers reject U.N. anti-mafia plan

GUATEMALA CITY — A Guatemalan congressional panel rejected a plan to set up a U.N.-backed body designed to root out organized crime’s influence in the government and the justice system, officials said Friday.

Congress’ international relations commission said Guatemala’s sovereignty was threatened by the plan to allow the United Nations to investigate officials, including members of Congress and government ministers, who may be involved in drug trafficking or linked to organized crime rings.

The Central American country, which emerged from a 36-year civil war in 1996, is blighted by violent crime, powerful mafias and corruption, much of it perpetrated by illegal armed groups.


Google Earth helps tax man

BUENOS AIRES — Argentina’s tax authorities are using satellite images generated on the Internet by Google Earth to track down fraud, the local press said Friday.

Buenos Aires province tax official Santiago Montoya said images of properties from the sky can help square the actual sizes of properties with those declared by taxpayers to make sure the proper amount of taxes is being paid, the reports said.

The online Google Earth service, which assembles detailed satellite pictures together with maps so that users can view specific locations and buildings, is also used by the Buenos Aires authorities to check whether taxpayers have expanded their homes in ways that would increase their value for taxation.


Beatification sought for slain archbishop

SAN SALVADOR — The Salvadoran government said Friday that it will ask the Vatican to beatify slain Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, but it will not accept responsibility in his 1980 killing.

Security and Justice Vice Minister Astor Escalante announced the decision during a meeting with supporters of the archbishop at the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights’ offices in Washington late Wednesday.

The U.N. truth commission on El Salvador reported in 1993 that Maj. Roberto D’Aubuisson, a notorious death squad leader, ordered Archbishop Romero killed. D’Aubuisson, who died in 1992, denied that.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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