- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Campaign to try to woo Washington

QUITO | Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said his country is going to launch a campaign to improve its image in Washington.

The leftist leader said he wants to “disprove the lies” of the Colombian government, which has accused Ecuador of aiding insurgents.

Mr. Correa said in a radio address Saturday that the campaign is going to make clear that Ecuador has nothing to do with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Mr. Correa’s government has come under fire from its neighbor after Colombia bombed a FARC base in Ecuador on March 1. Colombia said it found laptops with documents linking Mr. Correa to the rebels. Mr. Correa has denied any connection to the guerrillas.


Ontario to save boreal forests

TORONTO | The government of the Canadian province of Ontario said Monday it will conserve a huge swath of the province’s northern wilderness in a bid to protect the region’s vast boreal forest, as well as polar bears and other wildlife, and to help fight climate change.

The plan to protect permanently at least 87,000 square miles of the northern forest - an area nearly the size of the United Kingdom - won praise from environmental groups, which said it should serve as an example for other governments.

Ontario’s boreal region takes up 43 percent of the province’s landmass and its vast forest soaks up about 12.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. The protection of a big swath of it is a key part of the province’s plan to fight climate change.

Boreal forests are northern forests that are affected by long winters and are made up mainly of evergreen conifers.


Chavez criticizes defense chief

MARACAIBO | Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denounced Colombia’s defense minister Sunday as an obstacle to peace with his U.S.-allied neighbor, demanding the military chief be put “in his place.”

Mr. Chavez reacted sharply to Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos’ remarks about a meeting between Mr. Chavez and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to mend relations and end an on-and-off feud.

“If he were my minister, he would be dismissed by now,” Mr. Chavez said in a televised speech. “He’s a warmonger.”

Mr. Santos had called Friday’s presidential talks positive and suggested Colombia will be watching Mr. Chavez’s stance toward leftist rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Mr. Santos said Saturday that “what interests us is simply that these words spoken [by Chavez] against the FARC translate into actions and that they not only cooperate but also don’t tolerate the presence of the FARC there.”

Colombian officials have long accused Venezuela of harboring several rebel leaders. The Venezuelan leader accused Mr. Santos of trying to sabotage Venezuela-Colombia relations on the orders of Washington.


‘Rambo’ cop eyes acting career

KINGSTON | A feared police commander known as “Rambo,” who led a commando-style team accused of multiple killings across Jamaica, retired Saturday and said he plans to pursue an acting career.

Reneto Adams, considered effective but ruthless as commander of an elite anti-crime unit, is a media sensation in this Caribbean nation who rarely appears in public without his signature aviator sunglasses, helmet and black combat gear.

Jamaicans often ask for his autograph, and local musicians have compared him in song to Rambo, Saddam Hussein and Dirty Harry. He made his TV debut this year in the soap opera “Royal Palm Estate,” a love-and-intrigue story based in Jamaica.

Mr. Adams announced his retirement after 41 years with the department, saying he has turned 59 years old - the mandatory retirement age for Jamaican police.

The Crime Management Unit that Mr. Adams headed was created in 2000 to combat rising violence in Kingston. A local rights group, Families Against State Terrorism, has linked his team to at least 40 extrajudicial killings. It was disbanded in 2003.

Mr. Adams was permanently relegated to desk duties in 2004 because of a raid the previous year in which four people were killed, although he and five squad members were later cleared in the deaths.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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