- The Washington Times - Friday, June 19, 2009

BRITAIN

Cameron to repay questioned expenses

LONDON | Conservative leader David Cameron, tapped to be Britain’s next prime minister, said Thursday that he would repay almost $1,640 in expenses he had mistakenly claimed.

Mr. Cameron, who has sought to take the initiative in a long-running expenses scandal affecting all Britain’s political parties, had already said he would pay back a maintenance bill. But he promised to repay additional money relating to mortgage payments in 2006.

Members of Parliament from all parties have been tarnished by weeks of disclosures in the Daily Telegraph newspaper about claims for everything from dog food and adult films to cleaning a moat and a bath plug.

The scandal has effectively ended the careers of more than a dozen members of Parliament, who have said they will not run in the next general election, due by mid-2010.

ARUBA

Swine flu cruise nears final stop

CARACAS | A Spanish cruise ship hit by an outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus among its crew headed for its final stop at the Caribbean island of Aruba on Thursday, the ship operator said.

The Ocean Dream, owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises, was on a weeklong cruise due to end Friday, but its itinerary was limited after several crew members got the swine flu.

Venezuela confirmed three cases of H1N1 flu among the crew when the vessel arrived at the island of Margarita and more than 300 Venezuelan passengers were allowed off, the company said.

The ship’s remaining 900 passengers were expected to disembark late Thursday in Aruba.

PERU

Controversial land laws nixed

LIMA | Peru’s Congress overturned two controversial land laws Thursday that ignited deadly clashes between police and Indian protesters in the Amazon rain forest two weeks ago, killing at least 34 people.

The vote to throw out the legislative decrees could delay foreign investment in mining and energy projects in the rain forest, and may prompt Peru and the U.S. to re-evaluate clauses of their free-trade pact.

President Alan Garcia issued a series of decrees last year under powers Congress gave him to implement the U.S. trade deal and create a framework to regulate investment in the Amazon.

But after the deadly violence, he backtracked and asked Congress to overturn two of the most divisive laws.

Mr. Garcia has apologized for the violence and for failing to seek input from Indian groups before passing the laws.

HAITI

Mourners clash with U.N. troops

PORT-AU-PRINCE | Mourners clashed with U.N. troops after a popular priest’s funeral in the Haitian capital Thursday, and a demonstrator was killed by gunfire that witnesses blamed on the peacekeepers.

Thousands of mourners gathered at the Port-au-Prince Cathedral and the surrounding area to pay their last respects to Father Gerard Jean-Juste, a Roman Catholic champion of Haiti’s poor who died of a stroke May 27 in Miami. He was 62.

After the funeral, mourners and supporters of ousted ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former priest with whom Father Jean-Juste was a close ally, took to the streets.

Some accused the government of causing Father Jean-Juste’s death by imprisoning him in 2005 on charges that later proved false. Father Jean-Juste became ill with leukemia while in prison.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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