- - Monday, December 3, 2012

BOGOTA — Colombian military authorities said they recovered six bodies of FARC rebels slain in an air raid on three guerrilla camps in a southwestern jungle region.

The regional army commander told The Associated Press that at least 20 Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) fighters were killed in the pre-dawn attack Sunday near the town of Ricuarte in Narino state.

Gen. Jorge Alberto Segura said 60 rebels were in the three camps, which were located with the help of local residents.

The attack comes amid peace talks in Cuba between the government and Colombia’s main leftist rebel band that began Nov. 19.

On that day, the FARC declared a unilateral two-month cease-fire and said it also would halt sabotage. Colombia’s government has refused to honor the cease-fire.


U.N. court hears sea border dispute

THE HAGUE — The Peruvian government is asking the U.N.’s highest court to set a maritime border between Peru and Chile in a case that will carve up control over the rich seas off the two Andean neighbors’ Pacific coasts.

Peru launched the case in 2008, arguing that there has never been a maritime boundary set and that two agreements Chile claims set the border are nonbinding and merely established some fishing zones.

Chile insists the border between the two countries was clearly set in treaties signed in 1952 and 1954.

Peru lawyer Alain Pellet told the court Monday there is a “flagrant lack of any maritime delimitation” between the two countries and that Chile’s proposed border “radically cuts off Peru’s access to the high seas.”


Gunmen assassinate peasant leader

ASUNCION — Gunmen murdered one of the surviving leaders of a peasant movement whose land dispute with a powerful politician prompted the end of Fernando Lugo’s presidency in June.

Vidal Vega, 48, was shot four times early Saturday with a 12-gauge shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver fired by two unidentified men who sped away on a motorcycle, according to an official report prepared at the police headquarters in the provincial capital of Curuguaty.

Mr. Vega was among the public faces of a commission of landless peasants from the settlement of Yby Pyta, which means “Red Dirt” in their native Guarani language.

He had lobbied the government for many years to redistribute some of the ranchland that Colorado Party Sen. Blas Riquelme began occupying in the 1960s.

By this past May, the peasants finally lost patience and moved onto the land.


Canada, Denmark settle Arctic territorial dispute

OTTAWA — Canada and Denmark have settled a decades-old dispute over an Arctic maritime boundary, though disagreement remains over ownership of a key tiny island.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and his Danish counterpart, Villy Sovndal, said last week they reached a tentative deal on where to draw the boundary in the Lincoln Sea, a body of water north of Ellesmere Island, in far north-eastern Canada, and Greenland.

The agreement to strike a line equidistant from each coastline, however, does not address the sovereignty of Hans Island, a 0.5 square mile rock that sits between Ellesmere and Greenland.

Negotiations will continue over the uninhabited snow-covered island, which has been at the center of a decades-long spat that on the surface seems absurd but has become essential for economic development and environmental stewardship of the Arctic.

With the onset of global warming, more ships are expected to sail between Ellesmere and Greenland, and the area will now open up to mining, fishing, and oil and gas drilling operations.

The dispute over the Lincoln Sea and Hans Island dates back to 1973, when the border was drawn between Canada and Greenland, part of the Danish kingdom.


Report says metro areas drive Brazilian economy

RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s 13 largest metropolitan areas are the country’s economic engines, concentrating more than half of national gross domestic product and driving their states forward, according to a report released by the Brookings Institution.

The study by the Washington think-tank’s Metropolitan Policy Program was issued Friday during an international conference hosted in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, by the Global Cities Initiative, a joint Brookings Institution-JPMorgan Chase project aimed at getting metropolitan leadership engage more broadly with global markets.

In its “Metro Brazil” report, Brookings analyzed for the first time economic and demographic data pertaining to Brazil’s most significant cities.

It shows that metropolitan areas not only play an essential role in the country’s financial landscape but also display dynamic economies that continue to grow despite slowed growth at the national level.

The numbers underscore the healthy state of these metro areas.

With 33 percent of the population, they account for 56 percent of national GDP, concentrate half of the country’s college graduates, and are responsible for at least 45 percent of their states’ GDP.

Globally, these metro areas are responsible for one-third of Brazil’s exports.


Faithful to walk miles to see pope

RIO DE JANEIRO — Those people hoping to attend next year’s open air papal Mass in Brazil will have to be in good physical condition.

The website of the organizing committee for Pope Benedict XVI’s visit says the Mass will be held on a farm in Guaratiba, in a remote rural area of western Rio de Janeiro state.

It says the faithful will be taken to nearby towns by bus, then choose among three trails up to 8 miles each to walk the rest of the way to the site.

More than 2 million are expected to attend the Mass.

The pope will be in Brazil from July 23 to 28 to celebrate World Youth Day and will officiate two ceremonies on Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana beach.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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