- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 31, 2007

JAMAICA

Violence halts pre-election talks

KINGSTON — Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller indefinitely suspended talks with the Caribbean island’s opposition after rocks were thrown at her motorcade — part of escalating violence a month ahead of national elections.

People’s National Party General Secretary Donald Buchanan said over the weekend that the prime minister told supporters of the decision during a rally in the capital shortly after opposition activists hurled rocks at vehicles carrying her and other candidates Friday.

Karl Samuda, general secretary of the opposition Jamaica Labor Party, called for Mrs. Simpson Miller to reconsider, although the decision affects only talks on easing campaign tensions because Parliament has been suspended ahead of the Aug. 27 vote.



CANADA

Aboriginal town to be restored

OTTAWA — Canada said yesterday it would spend $187 million to rebuild a remote and decrepit native town that has come to symbolize the dreadful living conditions many aboriginals endure in the country.

Kashechewan, a settlement of 1,700 near the shore of James Bay in northern Ontario, had to be evacuated three times in 2005 and 2006 — twice due to flooding and once because of a tainted water supply.

As pictures of children made sick by bad water filled television screens, some local residents demanded a new town be built nearby. But Ottawa opted for a less expensive option.

CUBA

Dissident slams regime’s record

HAVANA — A leading dissident Sunday called on the Cuban government to publicly concede it has failed, one year after ailing President Fidel Castro ceded power to his brother Raul.

Human rights campaigner Martha Beatriz Roque said in a statement the government needed to be brave enough “to tell the country that the [communist] system is a failure.”

She also criticized Raul Castro for criticizing U.S. restrictions on Cuban immigration while hiding the number of people — including doctors and former leaders — whom Cuba has refused to allow to emigrate.

VENEZUELA

Chavez attacks ex-oil officials

CARACAS — President Hugo Chavez on Sunday accused former Venezuelan officials of allowing foreign oil companies to “rob” Venezuela’s immense petroleum wealth, saying they should be charged with crimes.

Former executives at state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela permitted international companies to violate contracts by extracting billions of barrels of light, sweet oil without investing in technology required to produce heavy crude, Mr. Chavez charged.

“The transnational companies did not comply with the agreements,” Mr. Chavez said on his weekly radio and television program. “They never invested in technology so they wouldn’t have to spend money.”

HAITI

U.N. envoy cites rise in attacks

PORT-AU-PRINCE — The top United Nations official in Haiti last week denounced a sharp increase in lynchings and other mob attacks, including the killing of two innocent men as they traveled to a wedding.

At least six persons were killed by mobs in a single week in different attacks this month, according to the U.N. mission’s human rights section. At least 105 persons have been reportedly lynched in Haiti since 2005.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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