Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Correa suggests base in Miami

NAPLES — Ecuador‘s leftist president, Rafael Correa, said Washington must let him open a military base in Miami if the U.S. wants to keep using an air base on Ecuador’s Pacific coast.

Mr. Correa has refused to renew Washington’s lease on the Manta air base, set to expire in 2009. U.S. officials say it is vital for counternarcotics-surveillance operations on Pacific drug-running routes.

“We’ll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami — an Ecuadorean base,” Mr. Correa said during a trip to Italy.


Clash at seed farm leaves two dead

SAO PAULO — Activists trying to invade a Swiss-owned biotech seed farm clashed with guards and at least two persons were shot dead, authorities and the company said yesterday.

One activist opposed to the farm’s work with genetically modified seeds died, and a security guard also was killed in the clash on Sunday at the 304-acre farm owned by Syngenta AG.

Brazil‘s Landless Workers Movement, a close ally of Via Campesina, said that the invaders shot off fireworks as they entered the farm and that a bus arrived later with gunmen who opened fire.


Eight teens die in detention center fire

SANTIAGO — Eight teenagers died in a fire they started in a juvenile-detention center in southern Chile, a local official said yesterday.

The blaze broke out about midnight on Sunday in the city of Puerto Montt. Guards tried to enter the burning building but the teenagers had blocked the doors with furniture and mattresses as part of a protest, Ledi Barria, a local government official, told Radio Cooperativa.

“They died of asphyxiation from the smoke from the fire which they themselves started,” Mr. Barria said.


Chavez hits Catholic leaders as immoral

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez slammed the nation’s Roman Catholic Church leadership as “morally unacceptable” late Sunday for criticizing his proposal to rewrite the constitution to scrap term limits.

Mr. Chavez’s reform plan, which voters are expected to approve in a December referendum, also includes allowing security forces to detain citizens without charges during political “emergencies” or major natural disasters.

Church leaders issued a strongly worded statement on Friday accusing Mr. Chavez of seeking to concentrate power with an “authoritarian” proposal to overhaul the nation’s constitution that he helped rewrite in 1999.


Lula says Doha trade deal close

BRASILIA — The Doha round of global trade negotiations still faces obstacles, but a deal is possible by the end of the year, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said yesterday.

“Nothing is decided yet, but I think we are close to that,” Mr. Lula said on his weekly radio program.

Brazil, as a leader of the G20 developing countries, has been pushing the U.S. for deep cuts in its trade-distorting farm subsidies as part of the deal.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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