- - Wednesday, January 2, 2013

BOGOTA — Colombia’s national police director is blaming the rebel group FARC for a grenade attack that injured six people on New Year’s Eve, saying the incident breaks a much-publicized truce that the leftist guerrillas unilaterally declared as a goodwill gesture during peace talks.

President Juan Manuel Santos rejected the truce proposal, and that same night, New Year’s Eve, an Air Force bombing killed at least 13 guerrillas.

Police Gen. Jose Roberto Leon Riano said the attack on a police station in the remote Pacific village of Guapi injured four civilians and two officers. He held a news conference Wednesday, declaring that the grenade attack proves the FARC is not keeping its promises.

The FARC said in November that its unilateral truce would last through Jan. 20.


Military admits airstrikes on ethnic rebels

YANGON — Myanmar’s military has acknowledged carrying out airstrikes against ethnic Kachin rebels in the country’s north, and says it has captured a hilltop post from where the insurgents launched attacks on government supply convoys.

The statement broadcast on state television Wednesday contradicted government claims two days earlier that the military was not carrying out offensive air attacks on the Kachin, raising questions about how much control the elected government of reformist President Thein Sein has over the army.

The United States said Wednesday the use of air power in Kachin state was “extremely troubling.” In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland urged the government and the Kachin rebel group to cease their conflict and begin a real dialogue for peace.


Opposition demands details on Chavez’s condition

CARACAS — Venezuela’s opposition demanded that the government reveal specifics of President Hugo Chavez’s condition on Wednesday, criticizing secrecy surrounding the ailing leader’s health more than three weeks after his cancer surgery in Cuba.

Opposition coalition leader Ramon Guillermo Aveledo said at a news conference that the information provided by government officials “continues to be insufficient.”

Mr. Chavez has not been seen or heard from since the Dec. 11 operation, and Vice President Nicolas Maduro on Tuesday said the president’s condition remained “delicate” owing to complications arising from a respiratory infection.

Mr. Maduro also urged Venezuelans to ignore rumors about Mr. Chavez’s condition.

Mr. Aveledo said the opposition has been respectful during Mr. Chavez’s illness, but that “the secrecy is the source of the rumors.” He reiterated the opposition’s call for the government to release a medical report, adding that all indications are that Mr. Chavez won’t be able to be sworn in to begin a new term on Jan. 10.

If Mr. Chavez can’t take office on that date, Mr. Aveledo said the constitution is clear that the National Assembly president should then take over temporarily until a new election is held.

He said what happens next in Venezuela should be guided by “the truth and the constitution.”

If Mr. Chavez dies or is unable to continue in office, the Venezuelan Constitution says a new election should be held within 30 days.


African migrants to be repatriated

JERUSALEM — Israel’s prime minister says thousands of Africans who have infiltrated into Israel will be sent back home.

Benjamin Netanyahu declared Wednesday that Israel has halted the flow of African migrants into Israel over the past seven months. He spoke while visiting the fence Israel built on border with Egypt to keep migrants out.

He said he will soon begin “repatriating the tens of thousands of infiltrators in Israel to their countries of origin.”

About 60,000 Africans have entered Israel in recent years, some seeking asylum and others looking for work.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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