- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 4, 2008

PANAMA

No bidders found for Noriega mansions

PANAMA CITY | No one wants to buy two crumbling mansions that once belonged to former strongman Manuel Noriega.

Panama’s government says it received no bidders for the two properties, valued at $6.1 million. It is not clear why no one registered to take part in the auction held late last week.

The failed auction was a surprise given that Panama is in the midst of a real estate boom.

The sale represented the first time Panama’s government had received permission to put Noriega’s homes on the auction block since he was ousted by the 1989 U.S.-led invasion.

Noriega’s family has spent years trying to recover the homes.

Noriega was convicted of drug racketeering in a Miami federal court. He served his sentence and is fighting extradition to France.

MEXICO

Drug gangs kill 11 policemen

TOLUCA | Eleven policemen were fatally shot near Mexico City in a three-day string of drug-gang attacks, prosecutors said.

Mexico state prosecutor Alberto Bazbaz said 10 suspects thought linked to drug gangs have been arrested in the killings, which mainly occurred on highways and at police checkpoints in the state that loops around Mexico’s capital. Some of the suspects were carrying rifles and grenades at the time of their arrest.

Mr. Bazbaz said Sunday that many of the suspects were from the neighboring state of Michoacan, a hotbed of drug violence dominated by a drug gang known as “The Family.”

But he said evidence indicates that low-level traffickers and criminals, rather than organized cartel hit squads, were responsible for the attacks.

It was not clear if the killings were coordinated.

Mexico state police commander German Garciamoreno said police patrols will be beefed up to confront the violence. The state, like many others across the country, has faced increased drug trafficking and threats against local authorities.

Meanwhile kidnappers killed a 5-year-old boy by injecting him with acid after his family sought police help. Mexico City Attorney General Miguel Mancera said assailants injected the acid into the boy’s heart and buried him on a hill outside the capital. A kidnapper seized the child at a street market in the gritty borough of Iztapalapa on Oct. 26 and the boy was killed three days later.

CANADA

Herpes kills baby elephant

TORONTO | A baby elephant died at the Calgary Zoo in Alberta, Canada, over the weekend after a brief battle with a virus that has killed dozens of captive elephants around the world in the past two decades, zoo officials said.

The 15-month-old pachyderm, named Malti, collapsed and died Saturday afternoon, one day after being diagnosed with elephant herpesvirus, a disease that can cause internal bleeding, zoo officials said in a press release.

“The disease, which has also been diagnosed in the wild, is responsible for the death of nearly a dozen young North American elephants in the past 20 years,” the zoo said. “Over 40 cases have been documented in North America, Europe and Asia.”

A string of animals have died at the Calgary Zoo since 2004, including a hippopotamus, several gorillas, more than 40 stingrays, and another young elephant who was rejected by her mother.

BRAZIL

Ministry publishes cocktail standards

RIO DE JANEIRO | So how do you make Brazil’s national cocktail?

Maybe you’d better call a lawyer.

Brazil’s government has published legal guidelines insisting that a caipirinha must be made just so: It’s mostly the sugarcane liquor called cachaca. And you can add at least 1 percent crushed lime. But that had better be real sugar in the glass.

The Agriculture Ministry rules published in Friday’s official gazette are meant to set “standards of identity and quality” for the drink.

The ministry has failed to say what punishment awaits those responsible for illicit caipirinhas.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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