- - Monday, January 14, 2013

KINGSTON — A British schoolgirl visiting relatives in a tiny rural village in northern Jamaica was fatally shot when a lone gunman opened fire on a family at a roadside shop, officials said Sunday.

Imani Green, 8, of Balham in south London, was standing inside a clapboard grocery store and bar with relatives on Friday evening when a gunman wearing a hoodie shot the child in the head and shoulder before also shooting three adult members of her family.

Police said Sunday that the shooting it is believed to be some sort of retaliatory attack, but investigations were ongoing in the normally quiet Red Dirt district of Duncans in Trelawny parish.

The roadside business where apparently is owned by a female relative of the slain girl. There have been no arrests.

The girl died while undergoing treatment at a hospital in nearby Falmouth, a historic coastal town that is home to the tourism-dependent island’s newest cruise ship port.

The three adults were listed in stable condition.

The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office says it is providing consular assistance to the family and working with authorities in Jamaica.

James Mortimer, a press officer with the British CFO, said Sunday that Imani’s relatives were “very distressed” and “appealing for privacy.”

Imani, her mother and sister had planned on visiting relatives in Jamaica until the end of the month.

Janella Parmer, the slain child’s sister, told the BBC that she found her young sibling in a pool of blood after hearing gunshots outside.


Peace talks with FARC resume in Havana

HAVANA — Colombia’s main rebel group says it will end its unilateral cease-fire this weekend despite ongoing peace talks.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as FARC, also is calling on the government to show that it is serious about making progress in the negotiations by moving ahead more quickly.

Talks restarted Monday in the Cuban capital after a monthlong Christmas break.

The rebels’ chief negotiator, Ivan Marquez, says it is time for “clear proposals” from the government side. He also has outlined specific measures for agrarian reform, one of the main points of contention between the sides.

Talks began in October in Oslo and continued the following month in Havana.

The rebels have been fighting the Colombian government since the 1960s. The rebels’ cease-fire ends Sunday.


Indigenous squatters resist eviction

RIO DE JANEIRO — Police in riot gear surrounded a settlement of indigenous people next to Rio de Janeiro’s storied Maracana stadium Saturday, preparing to evict them as soon as an expected court order arrived.

The site commander, police Lt. Alex Melo, said officers were “waiting for the order, and understand it can come at any time.”

But the order still had not arrived after a tense, daylong standoff. Frightened residents wondered why law enforcement came without an order to enter, and federal public defenders who have worked on the protracted legal battle over the space tried to mediate.

The indigenous group includes men and women of about 10 ethnicities who have been squatting for years in 10 homes they built on the site of an old Indian Museum, abandoned since 1977.

The police arrived early in the morning and surrounded the compound.

By noon, the residents locked the main gate. As supporters arrived, the Indians lowered a wooden ladder over the brick wall surrounding the complex to let them in, later pulling the ladder back up.


Breast-feeding protest held at shopping mall

SAN JOSE — At least 50 mothers sat down in a mall’s fast-food area and breast-fed infants for nearly two hours Saturday in a protest against the shopping center’s dictate a week earlier telling a woman to stop nursing her daughter.

The action by Lincoln Square mall managers set off a furor on Costa Rican social media and even prompted a statement from the president — a reaction that seemed to shock the mall’s management, which quickly apologized for the incident and announced that breast-feeding would be allowed anywhere in the shopping center.

Despite the retreat, some women decided to go ahead with the “mamaton” protest to show solidarity with Patricia Barrantes, who left the mall the previous weekend rather than comply with a security guard’s order to stop nursing her daughter and move to a special lactation room.

Anger was widespread after reports of what happened to Ms. Barrantes.

Thousands of angry comments were posted on Twitter and Facebook, mainly by women in Costa Rica and other countries in the region.

Women’s and children’s groups said the incident set a terrible example in a region where they are trying to encourage more breast-feeding instead of the widespread use of baby formula in order to improve infant health.

Governments in Costa Rica and other Central American nations try to encourage breast-feeding with laws that include mandatory time off during the work day for new mothers to feed their babies or pump breast milk. But women’s and children’s advocates say rates of breast-feeding remain far too low.

The Costa Rican National Women’s Institute sent the mall a formal letter warning that there is no legal justification for barring breast-feeding in public areas.

Last Tuesday, President Laura Chinchilla admonished Lincoln Plaza’s managers, saying interfering with breast-feeding in public is unjust and stressing that the provision of lactation rooms is only “so that women have an alternative location” to breast-feed if they wish.

The mall backed down later that day.


Dog recovers from abuse by drug traffickers

MEXICO CITY — A dog reportedly mutilated by Mexican drug traffickers is recovering at a sanctuary for abused and abandoned dogs.

Sanctuary owner Patricia Ruiz says Pay de Limon, or “Lemon Pie,” was fitted with prosthetic front legs last year. The Belgian shepherd mix now walks, jumps and runs.

Ms. Ruiz says the dog was left in a trash can to die after his two front legs were cut off. She says people who asked her to help Pay de Limon told her that drug traffickers used the dog to practice for mutilating humans.

Pay de Limon is one of 128 abused dogs living at the Milagros Caninos sanctuary. Dogs on wheelchairs, blind, deaf or ill frolic and run around the huge sanctuary in the southern part of Mexico City.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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