- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 27, 2009

MEXICO

Cheesecake sets Guinness record

MEXICO CITY | Mexico has long been known for tacos and tequila - but cheesecake?

Chef Miguel Angel Quezada says 55 cooks spent 60 hours making the world’s biggest cheesecake - a 2-ton calorie bomb topped with strawberries.

The monster cake used nearly a ton of cream cheese, the same amount of yogurt, 772 pounds of pastry, 551 pounds of sugar and 331 pounds of butter.

Carlos Martinez of Guinness World Records declared the cheesecake the world’s largest on Sunday at an event sponsored by Kraft Foods, maker of Philadelphia cream cheese.

There wasn’t much competition. Guinness had no previous record for cheesecakes. Organizers gave out 20,000 slices around Mexico City.

PERU

Criminal charges filed over wiretaps

LIMA | Peru’s attorney general presented criminal charges Friday against eight people, including a recently demoted rear admiral, accused of making illegal wiretap recordings that forced the entire Cabinet to resign.

Attorney General Gladys Echaiz said six suspects run a private security company, Business Track SAC, that reportedly tapped the phone lines of as many as 30 people. Two others worked for a subcontractor.

A judge must ratify the charges before a criminal process begins.

One of the recordings leaked to the news media in October appeared to show a state oil company executive discussing kickbacks for steering government contracts to Norway’s Discover Petroleum AS.

The scandal caused the worst political crisis in the two-year administration of President Alan Garcia, who accepted the resignation of his entire Cabinet.

COLOMBIA

Chief warns of bounty on police

BOGOTA | Colombia’s national police chief says the country’s leading drug lord has offered assassins a bounty of $1,000 for each police officer they kill.

Gen. Oscar Naranjo is leading a manhunt for fugitive drug boss Daniel Rendon, alias “Don Mario.”

Gen. Naranjo did not provide evidence to back the claim that Mr. Rendon was offering a bounty on police officers. He spoke to a local television station Friday at a temporary headquarters he has set up in Medellin.

Gen. Naranjo and his press officers could not be reached for comment.

ARGENTINA

Drought kills crops, livestock

STROEDER | Skeletons of livestock are piling up in the scorching sun of the Southern Hemisphere’s summer as the worst drought in a generation turns much of Argentina’s breadbasket into a dust bowl.

The nation’s farm sector stands to lose $5 billion this year alone - a huge blow to the economy of Argentina, a top world exporter of soy, corn, wheat and beef - as well as to the government of President Cristina Fernandez, which faces billions of dollars in debt payments this year.

Wheat fields that once supplied flour for pasta-loving Argentines now resemble deserts, and spiny thistles are all that survive on cattle ranches in southern Buenos Aires province.

Nothing edible grows, said Hilda Schneider, a 65-year-old rancher who has lost nearly 500 cows to starvation.

Nationally, there hasn’t been this little rain in Argentina since 1971, according to Liliana Nunez of the National Weather Service.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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