- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Report faults nuke regulator

OTTAWA | Widespread sloppiness at both Canada’s nuclear regulator and government-owned Atomic Energy Canada Ltd. prompted the damaging closure of a reactor that made medical radioisotopes, a report said Monday.

AECL’s 50-year-old Chalk River reactor - which produces more than two-thirds of the global supply - was shut down for three weeks late last year, quickly triggering shortages.

AECL’s chairman quit in December, and in January, Ottawa fired the head of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

A damning 119-page report by three independent consultants said officials from AECL and the commission often ignored standard procedures that would have identified the problem earlier.

The isotopes, when injected into the body, give off radiation that can be seen by a camera to diagnose cancer, heart disease and other medical conditions.

The crisis started after the reactor was shut down for maintenance last November. The CNSC then discovered that contrary to repeated promises, AECL had not connected two crucial water pumps to an emergency power supply.

The CNSC refused to allow the reactor to be started up again, forcing Parliament to overrule the regulator.


29 die as truck hits 3 pickups

PORT-AU-PRINCE | U.N. peacekeepers say at least 29 people were killed when a large truck carrying people and merchandise collided with three pickups in southern Haiti.

More than 50 people, mostly women and children, have been treated for injuries from Saturday’s crash east of the town of Cavaillon.

U.N. spokesman Vincenzo Pugliese said Sunday that the truck was unable to stop when a pickup truck slowed suddenly. It plowed into two vehicles, swerved into an oncoming third and flipped over.

Peacekeepers treated and evacuated many of the injured. Five were taken by U.N. helicopters to a Port-au-Prince hospital.


Woman suspected of FARC link freed

MADRID | A Spanish judge on Sunday released on bail a 57-year-old Spanish woman who is suspected of being the leader of the Spanish cell of Colombian Marxist rebel group FARC, judicial sources said.

Maria Remedios Garcia Albert, who is suspected of collaborating or belonging to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, was arrested at her home in the town of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, northeast of Madrid, police said Saturday.

The Interior Ministry said Ms. Garcia Albert had provided logistical support for FARC and had direct contacts with Raul Reyes, the FARC Number Two who was killed by Colombian troops inside Ecuador earlier this year.

Analysis of Mr. Reyes’ computer passed on to Spanish investigators by Colombian authorities had led them to identify Ms. Garcia Albert. The ministry said she had traveled to secret camps in Colombia last year for “meetings with top leaders of the terrorist group.”

The FARC, Latin America’s oldest and largest insurgency, have been seeking to topple the government since the 1960s. Despite the recent rescue of French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt and several others, they are estimated to hold more than 700 hostages.


Dozens of turtles dead on beaches

ACAPULCO | Environmental officials in Mexico say dozens of dead sea turtles apparently killed in fishing nets have washed up on beaches in recent days.

Authorities say 59 Olive Ridley turtles have been found on beaches in and around the resort of Acapulco.

The sea turtles, once hunted in Mexico for their meat and eggs, were declared a protected species in 1990. Fishermen are required to include turtle escape devices in their nets.


Poet’s sword stolen from museum

MANAGUA | The pen may be mightier than the sword, but it isn’t quite as attractive for thieves.

Unidentified robbers have swiped a sword that belonged to Nicaraguan poet Ruben Dario from a museum while leaving some of his valuable original manuscripts untouched.

Museum secretary Maria Elena Quintero said Sunday that police are investigating the disappearance of the ceremonial sword Mr. Dario used when he served as Nicaragua’s ambassador to Spain. She did not give an estimate of the sword’s value.

It was taken from a glass case at the museum in Mr. Dario’s old home in the colonial city of Leon. It appears to be the only artifact missing.

Mr. Dario lived from 1867 to 1916 and is considered the father of the Modernismo movement.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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