- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Main opposition’s leader to quit

OTTAWA | Stephane Dion, leader of Canada‘s official opposition Liberals, said Monday he would resign in the wake of last week’s humiliating election loss.

Mr. Dion said he would stay on until a new leader can be chosen at a convention, which is most likely to be held in the first half of next year.

The party won just 76 of Parliament’s 308 seats last Tuesday - a drop of 19 from the January 2006 election - and gathered 26.2 percent of the vote, the lowest level for the Liberals since 1867.

Mr. Dion, a French speaker who has had trouble making himself understood in English, hampered his party’s chances by stressing the need for a carbon tax to cut greenhouse gas emissions at a time of high fuel prices and market turmoil.

The former professor of politics surprisingly won the Liberal leadership in late 2006, largely because of a split in support between the two front-runners.

Mr. Dion looks set to become only the second leader of the Liberals who didn’t go on to become prime minister. The first was Edward Blake, who headed the party from 1880 to 1887.


21 dead in jail riot near U.S. border

MONTERREY | At least 21 prisoners died in a jail riot near the Texas border Monday, some in a fire after a gunbattle between rival gangs.

The riot started in the early hours of Monday in Reynosa, a manufacturing city where the powerful Gulf drug cartel is active, the local state attorney general’s office said. It was not clear how the riot or the fire started.

Heavily armed police quelled the fight and surrounded the prison, but some family members pushed their way in, desperate to find out if their relatives were among the dead, Mexican media said.

Mexico has seen a surge in prison riots this month. A drug war between rival gangs has spilled over into overcrowded jails packed with traffickers as President Felipe Calderon increases arrests and tries to quash violence. Despite the deployment of 36,000 troops, drug violence over smuggling routes is spiraling, with more than 3,725 people killed this year.


Warlord’s son slain near Bogota

BOGOTA | The son of a warlord extradited to the U.S. on drug charges has been killed.

Authorities said unidentified assailants shot and killed 32-year-old Vladimir Vanoy on Sunday at the gate to his condominium outside Bogota.

Ramiro “Cuco” Vanoy is Vladimir’s father. He was extradited to the United States in May with 13 other far-right warlords. A Miami judge earlier this month sentenced him to 24 years in prison on drug-trafficking charges.


Drug suspects kept lions, tigers

MEXICO CITY | Suspected drug smugglers kept lions, tigers and panthers in the garden of a mansion where a Colombian-led gang was arrested over the weekend on drug charges, police said Monday.

Police found two adult African lions, two white-colored tigers and two black panthers in cages on the grounds of the house where the drug suspects were holding a party.

The house also boasted a pond with what appeared to be a live hippopotamus in a video shot by Reforma newspaper.

Police raided the house in misty hills on the edge of Mexico City on Saturday. The big cats appeared to be in good physical condition.

The 11 Colombians, led by kingpin Teodoro Mauricio “The Dove” Fino, are accused of shipping cocaine to Mexico for powerful drug lords the Beltran Leyva brothers to sell in the United States. Two Mexicans, an American and a Uruguayan also were arrested.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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