- - Sunday, June 5, 2011

ISRAEL

Israel to discuss French peace proposal

JERUSALEM — Israel’s leader said he will discuss a new French peace initiative with the United States before deciding whether to agree to joining a proposed peace conference in Paris.

The Palestinians have agreed to attend, putting pressure on Israel to do so, too.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday that Israel would discuss the French proposal “with our American friends.”

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe visited the region last week and proposed relaunching talks in Paris on the basis of the lines Israel held before the 1967 Mideast war.

The U.S. has proposed something similar.

UNITED NATIONS

U.N. chief very likely to get second term

The worst kept secret at the United Nations is that Ban Ki-moon wants a second term as secretary-general and will almost certainly get it, possibly this month.

As he travels the world, working behind the scenes and publicly to help defuse crises and push for action on issues like climate change and women’s rights, Mr. Ban also has been quietly lobbying for support from the 192 U.N. member states for a second five-year term.

Egypt’s U.N. Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz, whose country heads the 120-member Nonaligned Movement of mainly developing countries and China, said last month that he knew of no opposition to Mr. Ban.

CHILE

3,500 evacuate as volcano erupts

SANTIAGO — A volcano in the Caulle Cordon of southern Chile has erupted violently, billowing smoke and ash high into the sky and prompting more than 3,500 people living nearby to evacuate and forcing cancellation of flights.

Ash and gas continued to billow from the earth on Sunday.

There were no reports of injuries from Saturday’s eruption.

A column of gas six miles high and three miles wide rose from Puyehue-Cordon Caulle complex, according to Chile’s National Geology and Mining Service.

Chilean authorities evacuated an estimated 3,500 people from 22 settlements near the volcano, which produced an eerie show of lightning dancing through its clouds of ash overnight.

Rodrigo Ubilla, Chile’s undersecretary of labor, said some people near the volcano had decided not to leave their homes because they didn’t want to abandon their animals.

Wind carried ash across the Andes to the Argentina, dusting the tourist town of San Carlos de Bariloche, which had to close its airport. Officials there urged people to cover their mouths and noses against the ash, to stock up on food and water and stay indoors if possible.

MEXICO

Tijuana ex-mayor claims weapons frame-up

TIJUANA — Soldiers swept into the compound of flashy gambling tycoon Jorge Hank Rhon, hustling him and his family from bed. They left with a cache of arms and the powerful Mexican politician in custody, though he claimed Sunday he was framed.

The raid was a bold strike against Tijuana’s former mayor, who has prospered through decades of never-proven suspicion that his family’s fortunes are linked to illegal drugs. Troops found 40 rifles, 48 handguns, 9,298 bullets, 70 ammunition clips and a gas grenade in the raid, authorities said.

Mexican law limits ownership of large-caliber firearms to the military and requires licensing of most other guns.

Violations can be punished by as long as 15 years in prison in some cases. Mr. Hank Rhon, 55, was flown to Mexico City, and officials said he was being investigated by a division specializing in organized crime.

Ten others were also in custody with him.

The former mayor told human rights officials in a hand-written account released Sunday that he was awakened Saturday by masked men and military personnel who burst into his bedroom and did not show a search warrant. The men took photographs of him standing next to weapons that he says he had never seen before, the letter states.

PERU

Peruvians pick leftist in presidential election

LIMA — Unofficial results showed leftist military man Ollanta Humala narrowly winning Sunday’s bitterly contested presidential runoff against the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori after promising the poor a greater share of Peru’s mineral wealth.

Results announced by the independent election-watchdog group Transparencia gave Mr. Humala 51.3 percent of the vote against 48.7 percent for Keiko Fujimori with more than 90 percent of the ballots counted.

The error margin was 1 percentage point.

Official results were not expected until later Sunday night, but Transparencia’s track record in previous elections is solid.

Rife with mudslinging and dirty tricks, the election was marred by doubts about both candidates’ commitment to democracy.

Miss Fujimori’s father is serving a 25-year prison term for rights abuses and corruption, and she shares the same inner circle of advisers.

Mr. Humala has been accused of violent excesses as an army counterinsurgency-unit commander in the 1990s.

Mr. Humala, 48, allied himself closely with socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in his first run for the office in 2006, which he narrowly lost to Alan Garcia.

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