- The Washington Times - Monday, March 12, 2007

CUBA

Raul Castro warns revolution ‘unbeatable’

HAVANA — The Cuban revolution is “unbeatable” and all attackers of the communist nation would pay a high price, interim leader Raul Castro warned yesterday.

“If anyone attacks us, we’re ready to pay any price necessary, but the price paid by invaders of our country will be much higher,” said Mr. Castro, who has been minister of defense since a 1959 revolution and replaced his brother Fidel Castro as head of state eight months ago.

He made the statement while supervising military exercises in western parts of the small Caribbean country. Raul Castro, 75, assumed interim control of the government on July 31 when his brother Fidel Castro, 80, underwent delicate intestinal surgery.

BRAZIL

River wall intended to block contraband

BRASILIA — Brazil will build a wall on the banks of the Parana River to curb smuggling along its border with Paraguay, authorities here said yesterday.

The wall — 8 feet high and 0.8 mile long — is planned to prevent large amounts of contraband consumer goods from entering the city of Foz do Iguacu in Brazil from Ciudad del Este, the Paraguayan city across the border.

Each day, 4,000 people cross the Friendship Bridge carrying Paraguayan merchandise, the spokesman said. Thousands throw goods off the bridge and later retrieve them beyond customs checkpoints. The wall is to be ready by August, the official said.

ARGENTINA

Depressed Isabel Peron skips hearing in Madrid

MADRID — Former Argentine President Isabel Peron, wanted in her home country for questioning about suspected crimes during her rule, has “serious depression” that prevented her from attending a court hearing yesterday, a plaintiff said.

Mario Rotundo, a former associate of her late husband, President Juan Peron, told Agence France-Presse that Mrs. Peron’s attorney, Antonio Hierro, “presented a medical certificate from psychiatrists saying she suffers from acute bipolar disorder and serious depression.”

Mr. Hierro refused to speak to reporters after Mrs. Peron failed to appear for a court hearing in Madrid regarding a claim by Mr. Rotundo for $7.7 million from the late Mr. Peron’s estate.

Weekly notes …

A high-profile coroner’s inquest into the death of a British soldier by “friendly fire” in Iraq resumed in London yesterday, but the United States declined to send any officials to give evidence. Despite repeated requests from Britain, the coroner and the soldier’s family, the Bush administration turned down the chance to send a representative to give its version of events at the inquest of Lance Cpl. Matty Hull. The decision was criticized by British Constitutional Affairs Minister Harriet Harman, who said she made “every effort” to persuade the United States to send someone. … Final checks have begun on the Canadian Anik F3 telecommunication satellite due to be fired into space aboard a Russian rocket next month, the rocket’s makers said yesterday. The Telesat Canada satellite, which weighs 5 tons, will supply telephone and Internet services and transmit television and radio signals across Canada and the United States.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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