Monday, January 22, 2007


Bank heist suspect found slain in well

SAO PAULO — A man accused of helping steal more than $70 million from a branch of Brazil’s central bank in 2005 was found dead on a remote ranch, authorities said Sunday.

Anselmo Oliveira Magalhaes, 32, was found by police Saturday with a broken neck and his hands and feet tied inside a 75-foot well at the ranch in the interior city of Santa Izabel, said Luciana Araripi of the Sao Paulo state Public Safety Department. The bodies of two other men were found in the well, but it wasn’t clear whether they had any connection to the bank robbery.

Mr. Magalhaes was one of nearly 40 people formally accused of taking part in the August 2005 heist — one of the world’s largest — at the central bank branch in Fortaleza, 1,500 miles northeast of Sao Paulo. An anonymous tip led police to the ranch, authorities said.


Millions allocated to protect rain forest

VANCOUVER — Canada will spend the equivalent of $25.5 million to preserve the world’s largest coastal temperate rain forest, the federal government announced Sunday.

The fund is intended to protect 15.8 million acres known as the Great Bear Rainforest that stretches 466 miles along British Columbia’s coast and features 300-foot-tall trees that are 1,500 years old. It also contains about 20 percent of the world’s salmon and three kinds of bears.

“We know there is a strong link between a healthy ecosystem, a healthy society and Canada’s economic prosperity,” Environment Minister John Baird said. Local donors and some of the world’s most influential foundations have contributed the equivalent of $51 million.


‘Harlistas’ keep cycles rumbling

HAVANA — Unable to get original parts because of a 45-year-old U.S. embargo, Harley-Davidson aficionados, known as “Harlistas,” resort to ingenuity and Soviet truck parts to keep their decades-old U.S. classics on Cuban roads.

Cuban fans, said to include Ernesto Guevara, a son of the famed revolutionary leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, estimate that 100 Harleys remain in the communist-run state, all of them predating 1960 and most still running.

“It’s a struggle keeping them alive; you have to invent parts and invest a lot of time and money,” said Sergio Morales, covered in grease but glowing with pride as he looked over a shiny 1949 Harley-Davidson panhead restored to splendor.

Weekly notes …

Violent weekend clashes between groups of young Latin American immigrants and Spanish adolescents in a Madrid suburb raised questions about whether the incident was isolated or part of a growing problem of xenophobia. The incident at Alcorcon on Madrid’s outskirts left seven persons injured, one seriously after he was stabbed six times. Police arrested seven young South Americans: three from the Dominican Republic, two Colombians, a Bolivian and an Ecuadoran. … Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez told U.S. officials, “Go to hell, gringos,” and called Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice “Missy” on his weekly radio and TV show Sunday. He began the tirade after the Bush administration voiced concern about a measure to grant the leftist leader broad lawmaking powers. The National Assembly is expected to give final approval this week to what it calls the “enabling law,” allowing Mr. Chavez to pass laws by decree for 18 months.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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