ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay – Paraguay partners with U.S. to combat corruption: Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo and U.S. Ambassador Liliana Ayalde participated in a ceremony at the López presidential palace to celebrate the signing of the second phase of a U.S. aid programme to combat corruption – the Millennium Challenge Corporation's (MCC) “Threshold Programme”. The agreement provides U.S. funding of US$30 million over two years for Paraguay and involves the police and the ministries of Health, Public Administration, Finance, and Trade and Industry. Also participating are the State Auditor's office and the National Customs Service.
[La Nación, ABC Color, EFE]
BOGOTÁ, Colombia – FARC finance boss captured: Colombia's National Police arrested an alleged regional ringleader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who is also wanted for extradition by the U.S. Thirty-four-year-old Ignacio Leal García, also known as Camilo or El Tuerto, is accused of controlling the finances of the FARC's Front 10 based in north-east Colombia, revealed police. García has been a FARC militant for 17 years and has five pending arrest warrants issued by Colombian authorities for kidnapping, extortion and drug trafficking.
[El Tiempo, AFP, Reuters]
QUITO, Ecuador – Ballots distributed in preparation for elections: Ecuador's National Electoral Council (CNE) began to distribute election materials in preparation for the 26 April elections for the nation's president and vice-president along with members of the National Assembly, municipal mayors and councillors and regional prefects. The ballots and other materials will arrive first at Ecuador's 65 foreign consulates, informed CNE spokesman Fausto Camacho. Approximately 10.5 million Ecuadorian voters are registered to take part in the elections. These elections will conclude the transition period for implementing the new constitutional framework approved in 2008.
[El Comerio, Hoy, EFE]
LIMA, Peru – Shining Path ambush death toll rises to 14: Peruvian Defence Minister Antero Flores-Aráoz announced that a missing soldier was found dead. “The body of a soldier reported missing was found. Of the two missing soldiers, unfortunately one has been found dead. I will not be able to release the identity [of the victim] until it is confirmed,” said Flores-Aráoz. This brings to 14 the number of military casualties in two Shining Path ambush attacks in Vizcatán, in the southern region of Ayacucho, a guerrilla stronghold.
[El Comercio, ANSA, AFP]
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Brazil hosts Latin American arms exhibition: Approximately 300 defence companies from 30 countries will be in Río de Janeiro from 14-17 April to present state-of-the-art military technology at Latin America's biggest arms exhibition. According to organiser Sergio Jardim, “The Latin American Aerospace & Defence (LAAD) show aims to provide exhibitors with an ideal platform for contacting customers and striking deals. The programme for official delegations has gained international attention and attracts defence ministers, military chiefs and top officials from all continents.”
[O Globo, EFE, AP]