By Dialogo July 21, 2009 BOGOTA (AP) 7/17/2009 — An hour-long video police found in a computer of an alleged rebel appears to confirm that Colombia’s largest rebel army gave money to the 2006 election campaign of President Rafael Correa of Ecuador. The video shows the second-ranking commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia reading the deathbed manifesto of founding leader Manuel “Sureshot” Marulanda. The manifesto states that the FARC made contributions to Correa’s campaign, but it’s possible that Correa wasn’t aware of them. The video, given to The Associated Press by a government official on condition of anonymity due to political sensitivity, adds weight to evidence found in a half-dozen electronic documents recovered at a rebel camp destroyed in a cross-border raid last year. Correa has accused Colombia of fabricating the documents, despite an investigation by the global police agency Interpol that determined they were not altered. The same rebel manifesto turned up on a different rebel computer recovered in October. But in the video it is read aloud by Jorge Briceno, a member of the FARC’s ruling secretariat and No. 2 commander, which will make it harder to deny. Ties between Colombia and neighboring Ecuador are deeply frayed, and the video is sure to complicate relations further. Colombia is outraged that the FARC, a leftist group on the U.S. State Department’s terror list, was operating out of Ecuador, allegedly with the support of that country’s leftist government. The State Department had no comment on the video. Ecuador broke diplomatic ties after Colombia crossed into its territory last year to raid the rebel camp. Attempts by the Organization of American States and the Carter Center to mediate the dispute have been stymied. Told of the video Friday, Ecuador’s security minister, Miguel Carvajal, denied that Correa’s government had “any relation in the campaign or has any relation with or contributions from groups such as the FARC, and certainly no type of accord.” Correa himself has repeatedly denied any ties to FARC. The video was found on a computer seized May 30 in the Bogota home of a suspected FARC operative, and finally decrypted last week. A senior Colombian prosecutor, anti-terrorism unit chief Hermes Ardila, confirmed that the video was found on one of three computers seized in the arrest of Adela Perez, 36 — “the secretariat’s key player in Bogota.” It shows Briceno reading from a laptop perched on a roughhewn shelf to about 250 somber-looking rebels in a jungle clearing. Briceno first informs the troops of Marulanda’s death and of changes in the rebel leadership. He reads from a missive from someone present when Marulanda died on March 26, 2008, at age 78, of an apparent heart attack. “We awake today with an immense solitude, so very sad. The comrade died yesterday, the 26th, at 18:20 hours,” Briceno reads. The faces of his young audience are grim. They look dumbstruck, distressed. At one point, Briceno pauses briefly and says, “What was that sound? A bomb?” He gets a negative reply from off camera. Briceno then turns to the sobering letter Marulanda wrote just days before his death. The letter stresses the strategic importance of “maintaining good political relations, friendship and confidence with the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador.” It is a grave reflection on devastating blows the FARC has suffered at the hands of the military in Colombia, which has received more than $4 billion in U.S. aid since 2000. It describes the “trophies of war” Colombia obtained when it killed the rebels’ foreign minister, Raul Reyes, and 24 other people in a March 1, 2008 raid on his jungle camp inside Ecuador. Marulanda laments that Colombia seized a trove of electronic documents that badly compromised the rebels and their foreign friends — namely, Correa and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. “The secrets of the FARC have been lost completely,” Briceno reads. Among those secrets is “assistance in dollars to Correa’s campaign and subsequent conversations with his emissaries,” the letter said. It mentions “some agreements, according to documents in the possession of all of us, that are very compromising regarding our ties with friends.” Marulanda’s letter does not say whether Correa personally knew of the money, and does not mention an amount. But it supports four other documents the Colombian government says it found on Reyes’ laptop that were allegedly written in late 2006 by FARC leaders discussing rebel payments of at least $100,000 to Correa’s campaign. It appears unlikely that the video could be fake. AP video experts found no signs of tampering. Also, Briceno is a known FARC leader with whom AP reporters had frequent contact from 1999-2002, and it is clearly him in the video. The Ecuadorean minister, Carvajal, told the AP that if the video is proven to be authentic, his government will want to know who the supposed emissaries are that established ties with the FARC “in the name of the (Correa) electoral campaign.” Late Friday, Ecuador’s foreign minister, Fander Falconi, announced the formation of a commission to investigate the allegations. Correa strongly denies receiving money from the FARC. He has argued that Reyes’ computer equipment could never have survived bombs that ripped apart his jungle camp. Despite revelations about ties to FARC, Correa was re-elected in April by a comfortable margin. Correa this month imposed stiff import tariffs on a broad range of Colombian goods including autos and beef, which will seriously affect Bogota’s $500 million in annual exports to Ecuador. The video, separated into 20 files on a Sony Vaio laptop, took more than a month to decrypt before the code was cracked July 10, said several government officials who spoke on condition they not be identified due to the matter’s sensitivity. The laptop’s owner, Perez, is jailed on charges of terrorism and criminal conspiracy, as the alleged leader of an urban cell engaged in extortion and bombings in the capital, Ardila said. The other two laptops found in her home contained intelligence on senior government officials, including Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, national police director Gen. Oscar Naranjo and Juan Manuel Santos, who as defense minister managed the raid into Ecuador, the officials added. An Ecuadorean prosecutor last month issued an arrest warrant for Santos on murder charges. Interpol refused, however, to circulate the warrant. Colombia’s government says it has no intention of handing over Santos. The Marulanda letter also was found on a laptop seized in a raid on a rebel camp in Putumayo state near the Ecuadorean border on Oct. 31, according to Colombian authorities. The AP obtained a copy of the letter the following month.
Airports in Brazil will receive 6.48 billion reais in investments between now and 2014, when the country will host the World Cup, Infraero superintendent Jonas Lopes said today, days after the country’s World Cup infrastructure was the target of criticism. Out of this total, which will come from Infraero (51%) and the federal government (49%), 5.4 billion reais will be invested in the fourteen airports serving the twelve World Cup host cities, the state-owned company announced. “According to studies commissioned by the Ministry of Defense, during the World Cup, the volume of passengers will increase approximately 10% over the estimated transit for the year,” Infraero said in a statement. The forecast for 2014 without the World Cup would be 26 million passengers, stated Lopes. At some airports, such as Guarulhos (São Paulo), Campinas (São Paulo), and Brasília, Infraero anticipates the installation of operational modules that will support efforts to meet the demand on those terminals. The airport situation is what is most worrisome for the competition that Brazil will host, according to the president of the Brazilian Soccer Confederation and the World Cup organizing committee, Ricardo Teixeira. Last week, in an interview in South Africa, Teixeira was not able to provide information regarding investment and said that the area was Infraero’s responsibility. However, FIFA’s general-secretary, Jerome Valcke, said that Brazil will be divided into “four regions to guarantee that fans will not have to travel for more than one or two hours between stadiums.” The idea is to avoid long trips for the teams between the twelve cities that will host the games: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and São Paulo. By Dialogo July 16, 2010
Matteo Basile, a volunteer at the shelter, says he plays with animals because it makes them happy. (WBNG) — It’s kitten season and the Susquehanna SPCA says they are seeing a lot of feral felines coming into their shelter. “You really need to devote time to spend with them, to get them comfortable with humans, to trust humans,” said Haynes. However, with so many kittens, the shelter says they need volunteers to help out. “You come in to cuddle and and play with kittens,” said Haynes. Feral cats can be difficult to adopt given their wild nature. With nearly 30 feral kittens in their care, the Susquehanna SPCA will work to socialize those kittens, in hopes of finding them families. “It is a process and it does with most feral kittens take some time, but certainly they will come around,” said Haynes. Haynes says by slowing earning their trust, these kittens can grow into adoptable and loving house pets. “We’re always really happy to see feral kittens because we can socialize kittens and find them homes to live in, instead of being wild,” said Susquehanna SPCA Executive Director Stacie Haynes. It’s that simple. For one hour a day, you can volunteer to play with kittens, which can also be life-changing for them. “Maybe they’ll get used to us, maybe they’ll like us,” said Basile. If you would like to volunteer with the “Feral to Friendly” program at the Susquehanna SPCA, call 607-547-8111, extension 102.
A Texas man has been arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting and killing his 9-month-old daughter.According to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, deputies arrested 23-year-old Luis Luna accused of sexually assaulting his infant daughter.Police responded to a report of an unresponsive 9-month-old infant at a Houston apartment complex, last week. The infant was taken to the hospital where she was pronounced dead.Investigators later performed an autopsy and determined the baby girl had been sexually assaulted and died due to asphyxiation during the assault.When officials interviewed Luna they determined he was behind her death. He now faces a charge of capital murder.