- - Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Brazilian president begins trade-heavy visit

BEIJING | Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff began a state visit to China on Tuesday at the head of a push by Latin America’s biggest economy for more favorable economic ties with its biggest trading partner.

Mrs. Rousseff’s trip is her first to China since taking over from close Chinese ally Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Jan. 1. She already has shown herself more sympathetic than her predecessor to Brazilian businesses who are concerned about losing out to Chinese competitors.

Smoothing Mrs. Rousseff’s way, Brazilian plane maker Embraer on Tuesday announced the sale of 30 of its 190 regional passenger jets to Chinese operators in a major boost for the company’s prospects in the increasingly competitive China market.

One-year-old airline Hebei Airlines agreed to buy 10 of the 99-seat planes, while CDB Leasing Co. ordered 10 for use by major carrier China Southern in the far northwestern region of Xinjiang and signed a letter of intent to buy 10 more, Embraer said.


Roadside bomb kills five workers

KABUL | A roadside bomb on Tuesday killed five construction workers in eastern Afghanistan who were in a car driving near the Pakistani border, an Afghan official said.

Earlier, a similar bomb killed two Afghan police officers as they were destroying opium poppies in the southern province of Kandahar, while three children died from an insurgent grenade tossed during a NATO operation in the north.

Ahmad Zia Abdulzai, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangahar province, said the five Afghan men were all in a car owned by a local construction company. He said the incident occurred just north of Jalalabad, the provincial capital. There have been numerous insurgent attacks in the area.


Court acquits official of graft charges

NAIROBI | A Kenyan court on Tuesday acquitted former Education Minister William Ruto of corruption charges.

The acquittal came a day after Mr. Ruto returned from the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.

A Kenyan magistrate said the prosecution had not done enough to prove the allegations that Mr. Ruto and two others defrauded the government’s Kenya Pipeline Corp. of more than $1 million by selling it protected forest land.

Mr. Ruto said the case was politically motivated.

He and five other influential Kenyans have been accused by the ICC prosecutor of orchestrating violence after Kenya’s disputed 2007 presidential election. Post-vote violence killed more than 1,000 people.


Vatican sanctions bishop who abused nephew

The Vatican has sanctioned a Belgian bishop who resigned last year after admitting he had sexually abused his nephew, saying he can no longer act as a priest in public and may risk further church sanctions.

The Vatican on Tuesday clarified the punishment against the former Bruges Bishop Roger Vangheluwe after Belgian bishops reported over the weekend that he had merely been sent outside Belgium for spiritual and psychological counseling.

The decision was the first known application of the Vatican’s new sex abuse norms approved last year giving the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith jurisdiction to investigate and punish bishops - not just priests - who abuse minors.


Gunfire rings out in main city

ABIDJAN | Sporadic gunfire rang out Tuesday after President Alassane Ouattara called on all fighters to put down their arms now that the country’s longtime strongman has been captured.

More than 1 million civilians fled their homes and untold numbers were killed in the more than four-month power struggle between the two rivals. The standoff threatened to re-ignite a civil war in the world’s largest cocoa producer, once divided in two by violence nearly a decade ago.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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