- - Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Chileans protest pro-Pinochet tribute

SANTIAGO — Chilean police fired tear gas and clashed with demonstrators who protested against an event honoring a former military officer imprisoned for killings during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

At least seven people were injured, including six police officers, during the clashes Monday night outside an exclusive club in Santiago, where about 1,000 protesters had congregated.

Protesters hurled rocks at police, and nine demonstrators were arrested.

Chilean human rights activists organized the protest to condemn the gathering in honor of ex-Brigadier Miguel Krassnoff, who is serving a 144-year prison sentence for crimes related to the kidnappings and killings of government opponents during Pinochet’s rule from 1973 to 1990.

Several hundred people attended the tribute.


Many famine victims afraid to return home

DOLO — Lush patches of green dot this once-barren land, allowing goats and camels to graze. A nearby field is full of large, purple onions thanks to a U.N.-funded project.

Four months after the U.N. declared famine in much of Somalia, some regions are beginning a slow recovery from a disaster that has killed tens of thousands of people.

But many Somalis - women, mostly - living in a stick-hut camp in this border town say they won’t return home because they’re afraid of hard-line Islamist militants stalking the country, and of being unable to feed themselves and their children.

The U.N. last week reduced the number of famine zones in Somalia from six to three and said the number of people at risk of starvation has dropped from 750,000 to 250,000.

Since the July 20 famine declaration, the U.N. has received $800 million in aid for Somalia, and the U.S. has provided $650 million to drought-stricken Horn of Africa nations, including Somalia.

Still, the fate of 13 million people affected by East Africa’s worst drought in decades remains in doubt.


Border screening creates security alert

OTTAWA — Canada’s flawed visa system may be letting in terrorists, mobsters or travelers carrying deadly diseases, officials warned Tuesday.

In a report to parliament, Auditor-General John Wiersema said immigration and border officials “need to do a much better job of managing the health, safety and security risks associated with determining admissibility before issuing a visa.”

He cited shortcomings in the training of visa officers and out-of-date indicators used to identify high-risk applicants as the main problems.

Canada is one of few nations actively encouraging immigration to boost its population of 34.5 million.


Officials say oil slick has shrunk significantly

SAO PAULO — The size of the oil slick at a well operated by U.S.-based Chevron Corp. off the coast of Rio de Janeiro state is more than 80 percent smaller than it was four days ago, said Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency Tuesday.

The agency said in a statement that the slick at the water’s surface covered 0.78 square miles, compared to the 4.63 square miles registered on Nov. 18.

The agency also said the oil slick continues moving away from Brazil’s coastline.

Despite the announcement, Rio de Janeiro state’s Environment Secretary Carlos Minc told reporters that in two weeks to a month the oil could reach beaches west of the city of Rio that are popular with tourists.


University hit by new climate leak ahead of talks

LONDON — The British university whose stolen emails caused a global climate science controversy in 2009 says those behind the breach have apparently released a second and potentially far larger batch of old messages.

University of East Anglia spokesman Simon Dunford said that while academics didn’t have the chance yet to examine the roughly 5,000 emails apparently dumped into the public domain Tuesday, a small sample examined by the university “appears to be genuine.”

The university said in a statement that the emails did not appear to be the result of a new breach.

Instead, the statement said that the emails appeared to have been stolen two years ago and held back until now “to cause maximum disruption” to the imminent U.N. climate talks next week in Durban, South Africa.

If that is confirmed, the timing and nature of the leak would follow the pattern set by the so-called “Climategate” emails, which caught prominent scientists stonewalling critics and discussing ways to keep opponents’ research out of peer-reviewed journals.

Those hostile to climate science claimed the exchanges proved that the threat of global warming was being hyped.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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