- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Summer nights return to normal

TEGUCIGALPA | Hondurans enjoyed their first night of unfettered freedom in two weeks after the interim government lifted a curfew imposed after the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

While diplomatic efforts to resolve the political crisis marked time, the interim government announced that people no longer had to stay home at night, as it sought to restore some normality in a country deeply divided over the coup.

Daily demonstrations for and against the forcibly exiled leader have disrupted transit and prompted many businesses to stay closed.

After the left-leaning Mr. Zelaya was escorted out of the country by armed soldiers June 28, the new government ordered Hondurans to stay inside from 11 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. — a restriction that was briefly expanded to sunset to sunrise when Mr. Zelaya tried to return and the military kept his plane from landing by blocking the runway at the capital’s airport a week ago.


Reparations paid to civil war victims

MONTERIA | President Alvaro Uribe has delivered reparations totaling nearly $1 million to 279 victims of Colombia’s long-running conflict.

It was the second disbursement from $100 million that his government has earmarked this year for 10,000 survivors of crimes by Marxist rebels and far-right death squads known as “paramilitaries,” both fed by drug trafficking.

About 240,000 people have registered since the law facilitating the payments took effect in August. Victims of state security forces are not eligible for any of the estimated $3.3 billion that the government says it expects to pay out over the coming decade.

Mr. Uribe acknowledged that the payments — the highest amount per victim or family is about $9,150 — can’t compensate for the loss of a loved one.

The reparations will instead help prevent the pain of loss from “becoming converted into hate and vengeance,” the president told recipients who were bused in from five states for a ceremony Sunday in this northwestern ranching region where the paramilitaries first arose in the 1980s.


Suspected hit men arrested in drug war

MORELIA | Federal agents have captured two suspects in connection with a series of attacks on federal forces across western Michoacan state that left five officers and two soldiers dead.

The men were arrested following a shootout with federal police in the Pacific port city of Lazaro Cardenas early Sunday in which one gunman was killed, Mexico’s federal Public Safety Department said. Police also seized three assault rifles, a pistol, bullets, a bulletproof vest, four radios and a sport utility vehicle.

Police accuse the suspects of being involved in a series of brazen attacks on federal police stations Saturday in Michoacan and two other states.

More than 11,000 people have been killed by drug violence nationwide since 2006.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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