- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 19, 2009

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

Swine flu boosts tourism

MADRID | The outbreak of swine flu in Mexico has given the tourism sector in the Dominican Republic a boost, the president of the Caribbean nation, Leonel Fernandez, said Monday during a visit to Spain.

“Tourists who were heading to Mexico have been diverted to the Dominican Republic. In this case, the misfortune of one country has benefited another, it is not what we desired but it is the situation,” he told reporters in Madrid.

Despite the global economic downturn, the number of tourists visiting the Dominican Republic so far this year has been higher than during the same time in 2008, which posted a rise over the previous year in arrivals, he added.



The country received 3.979 million foreign tourists in 2008 and 1.175 million during the first three months of this year, according to figures from the Dominican Republic’s central bank.

GUATEMALA

Protesters want president to quit

GUATEMALA CITY | Thousands of Guatemalans protested Sunday to demand the president resign over accusations that he ordered a lawyer killed, a scandal threatening the rule of the country’s first leftist leader more than 50 years.

Supporters of President Alvaro Colom staged a counterdemonstration. Many were farmers and workers who have benefited from his social programs.

Mr. Colom denies Rodrigo Rosenberg’s allegations, which were broadcast posthumously after the attorney was fatally shot a week ago. He has dismissed calls for his resignation and asked the FBI and a U.N. panel to investigate the killing.

A recording distributed at Rosenberg’s funeral showed him blaming his death on the president, first lady Sandra Torres and Cabinet chief Gustavo Alejos, who also proclaim their innocence.

CHILE

First case of swine flu

SANTIAGO | Chile’s health minister confirmed the country’s first case of the H1N1 flu virus in a news conference Sunday.

The person who contracted the flu was a 32-year-old Chilean woman who recently returned to Chile from the Dominican Republic, said Health Minister Alvaro Erazo.

Earlier, a government official told Reuters news agency that the woman was 25 and had been traveling in Mexico.

The woman was in good health and receiving anti-viral treatment in a hospital, the health minister said.

More than 35 countries have confirmed cases of the virus.

BRAZIL

President seeks business in China

BEIJING | Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva arrived in Beijing on Monday with 240 industrialists for a visit aimed at boosting business with China and promoting what he called a “new economic order.”

He will meet Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders during the three-day visit, and promote oil contracts, sales of Embraer aircraft, meat exports and biofuel technology for cars, officials in Brazil said.

Mr. Lula da Silva and Mr. Hu could also touch on a proposal made by the Brazilian president to conduct bilateral trade through each nation’s currency, cutting out the U.S. dollar as an intermediary.

His visit, which comes between a trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey, will also stress cooperation in an era that observers say has seen a rise in the role of emerging nations to fight the global financial crisis.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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