- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ECUADOR

Key resources belong to state

QUITO | President Rafael Correa says that key sectors of the economy, including oil and mines, must be in government hands.

During his first two years in office, Mr. Correa has taken a tough stand with mining and oil companies, pushing for new contracts more favorable to the state, but has so far shied away from nationalizing any firms.

“We will fulfill the goal of having strategic sectors in government hands,” Mr. Correa said Saturday.

The U.S.-educated economist has recently said he would not nationalize foreign oil companies but would push for more state control in the key industry via new contracts.

VENEZUELA

Global concerns over media rejected

CARACAS | A top diplomat is defending Venezuela’s investigation into a leading anti-government television station, rebuffing the concerns of U.N. and OAS officials that President Hugo Chavez’s government is threatening free speech.

Venezuela’s ambassador to the Organization of American States, Roy Chaderton, accused the Globovision TV network of “media terrorism” and said foreign observers passing judgment on Venezuela are beholden “to the interests of the private media.”

Regulators are investigating Globovision for reportedly inciting “panic and anxiety” in its coverage of a minor earthquake May 4. The station couldn’t reach the head of Venezuela’s seismological agency for comment after the quake and criticized the government for its slow response.

A joint statement by two officials who monitor freedom of speech - Frank La Rue of the United Nations and Catalina Botero of the OAS - decried authorities’ strong statements against Globovision, warning that they “generate an atmosphere of intimidation in which the right to freedom of expression is seriously limited.”

BRAZIL

Recorder found in plane crash

SAO PAULO | Investigators are examining the flight data recorder and engines of a plane that crashed near a luxurious coastal resort in northeastern Brazil, killing a Britain-born businessman and 13 others.

The Brazilian air force, which is investigating, said crews found the data recorder at the crash site Saturday, a day after the plane went down just short of a landing strip.

Passengers included Roger Ian Wright, a founding partner at Sao Paulo financial consulting firm Arsenal Investimentos; his wife; a son and daughter from a previous marriage and their spouses; two grandsons and a granddaughter; and a great-aunt, the company said Saturday.

Authorities hope analysis of the data recorder and engines will yield clues into what caused the crash, air force Lt. Col. Henry Wilson Munhoz Wender told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper Sunday.

PARAGUAY

Ex-priest/president: Celibacy ‘imperfect’

BUENOS AIRES | Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, who last month admitted fathering a son while he was still a bishop, says celibacy vows taken by Roman Catholic clerics are “imperfect.”

Mr. Lugo, who turns 58 on Saturday, stunned Paraguay in April when he recognized as his son a 2-year-old boy born to a former parishioner. Two other women have said he is the father of their sons, and Mr. Lugo has agreed to take a DNA test in one of the cases.

Celibacy “is a personal option of faith required by the Catholic Church,” but everything humans do is flawed, the president said in an interview published Sunday by Argentine newspaper Clarin.

Mr. Lugo added that he is slowly adapting to fatherhood.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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