- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Brazil, Chile wary of U.S. troop boost

BOGOTA | A plan to increase U.S. troops in Colombia is drawing opposition not just from left-wing populist leaders in the region, but from the moderate governments of Brazil and Chile as well.

The spreading criticism threatens to isolate Colombia from its neighbors as it combats a cocaine-funded insurgency.

The government is expected to sign an expanded U.S. military pact this month after a final round of talks. Colombia, Washington’s main ally in the region, says the plan is aimed at strengthening anti-drug efforts.

But leftist Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez accuses the United States of setting up a military platform in Colombia from which to “attack” its neighbors. Mr. Chavez’s allies in Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua have also criticized the plan.


Abuses reported on both sides

LONDON | Dozens of Honduran journalists and human rights activists have been attacked or threatened with violence by both the military and supporters of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, a press watchdog said on Monday.

Honduras closed several pro-Zelaya radio and television stations after the army coup that toppled Mr. Zelaya in late June and ushered in an interim government led by Roberto Micheletti.

Agnes Callamard, head of Article 19, a London-based media rights group, said human rights activists were unable to investigate reported abuses in rural areas because of military roadblocks and curfews since the coup.


Ethiopia jails rebel for life

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia | An Ethiopian court jailed a Canadian for life Monday after he was convicted of membership in a rebel group fighting for independence for an ethnically Somali part of the country.

Bashir Ahmed Makhtal was born in Ethiopia but traveled to Canada as a refugee and became a citizen in 1994. He was found guilty last week on three charges related to membership of the Ogaden National Liberation Front.

Bashir, who left Ethiopia at age 11 and does not speak the local Amharic language, did not react as the sentence was read. His attorney, Gebreamlak Gebregiorgis, told Reuters news agency that he would appeal against both the conviction and sentence next week.


Shining Path blamed for attack

LIMA | Peruvian authorities say attackers thought to be Shining Path rebels killed three police officers and two women in an assault on a remote police post in a coca-growing region.

Police Maj. Quispe Gonzales told the Associated Press that three more officers were wounded in the raid that ended in the early hours of Sunday. He says the two women killed were relatives of one of the slain officers.

The attack occurred in San Jose de Secce in Ayacucho province in Peru’s south-central mountains.

Ayacucho is the birthplace of the Shining Path, which all but disappeared in the 1990s.

From wire dispatches and staff reports



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