Adamant: Hardest metal

77-year-old US veteran shoots burglar between the eyes at residence in Catia la Mar

Venezuela's Electronic News
Posted: Friday, June 20, 2003
By: Patrick J. O'Donoghue

US II WW veteran Piskalt Roberts Hestinic (77) is under arrest for shooting and killing Omar Antonio Aristiguieta (23) as the latter attempted to enter and burgle his house. The incident took place at 4.30 in the morning in Quinta Loma de Las Tunitas (Catia la Mar) when Aristigueta allegedly scaled a window in the kitchen to enter the house.

Roberts is said to have taken his Browning 6.35 mm pistol and shot the intruder between the eyes.

Thinking that he had missed but scared the would-be thief, Roberts found the man at 6.00 a.m. on the floor in the patio with a tube stuck in the head. Vargas State Metropolitan Police agents say Aristigueta received a bullet between the eyes and must hit the tube when he fell back.

Roberts has told investigators that the dead man had been harassing him for a long time and had stolen his war medals, offering to return them for 20,000 bolivares, which the veteran had refused ... Roberts, who lives alone, has been here in Venezuela for 52 years.

UNHCR expects government to appoint special committee

Venezuela's Electronic News
Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2003
By: Patrick J. O'Donoghue

The United Nations High Commissioner's Office for Refugees (UNHCR) representative Maria Virginia Trimarco says she hopes the Venezuelan government will appoint the committee that will regularize the migratory status of at least 2,000 Colombians that have fled to Venezuela escaping political violence.

"We expect the government to name members of the committee on Friday coinciding with World Refugee Day."

Executive Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel had promised to help the UNHCR in implementing the Venezuelan Refugee law passed in 2001, which stipulates the conformation of the committee with representatives from the Defense and Foreign ministries, as well as other relevant institutions.

Trimarco highlights the plight of Colombians living in border areas and warns that the situation will become worse ... "we also hope that the committee will deal with a large number of Colombian citizens living illegally in Venezuela."

According to Trimarco, Ecuador and Costa Rica have the best legislation on displaced persons ... "those governments have also implemented and acted on the law."

NGOs call for corruption investigation at National Children's Right Council 

Venezuela's Electronic News
Posted: Monday, June 16, 2003
By: Patrick J. O'Donoghue

Ten of Venezuela's most important NGOs have issued a statement complaining about the National Children's Rights Council (CNDN) and have called for a thorough investigation into allegedly shady administrative practices.

After months of internal bickering and in-fighting, the board of directors finally resigned last week.

The NGOs led by Cecodap and PROVEA indicate that personal and client-based interests ran amok in the council, causing a diversion of funds away from children's needs to bureaucracy, adverts and staff salaries ... "the board has shown an absence of governance and incapacity."

Arguing that children should not be used as pawns in personal and political conflicts, the NGOs want to see a new board that coordinates policies and activities with the Social Cabinet. They also called on the National Assembly (AN) to abolish the Children's Welfare Office (INAM) for once and for all.

Among the resigning directors are: Ramon Gonzalez (president), Rosauro Leon Salazar (executive director), Noris Perez Marcano (deputy president), Damelis Yeguez (for Social Development ministry) and Lidice Navas (for Infrastructure Ministry), accused of nepotism, squandering money on travels abroad and office improvements.

New Negotiations Lower Prices of HIV Drugs in 10 Countries of the Americas

Washington, DC, June 12, 2003 (PAHO)—The director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Dr. Mirta Roses Periago, today praised 10 Latin American countries for their successful negotiation to reduce the prices of antiretroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS treatment. The agreement will allow the countries to save up to $120 million a year, which amounts to 150,000 annual treatments.

"These savings are a demonstration of what can be achieved when governments and the pharmaceutical companies are truly committed to the well-being of the population," said Roses. Antiretroviral drug treatment drastically reduces the incidence of opportunistic infections and substantially improves the quality of life for those living with HIV/AIDS.

The reduction of prices will benefit Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay. The agreement was negotiated June 5 to 7 in Lima , Peru, by the ministries of health of the countries with support from PAHO, the Andean Health Organism (ORAS) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The process of negotiations was accompanied by representatives of people living with HIV.

The biggest reductions were offered by seven manufacturers of generic antirretrovirals. There also were reductions in the prices of one brand name drug manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories. All the companies meet the quality requirements established by the negotiating countries, which are based on standards outlined by the World Health Organization prequalification process.

In the 10 countries, the prices of first line therapy (the most common treatment for people living with HIV) will be reduced between 30 percent and 92 percent. The therapy prices varied from $1,000 to $5,000 and after the negotiation will fluctuate from $350 to $690. "We congratulate the countries on their commitment in utilizing this benefit to improve the care of people living with HIV in the Region," Roses said.

The negotiations will also improve the prices of the laboratory reagents, which are used for diagnosis and follow up. Five manufacturers of reagents offered reductions from 62 percent to 81 percent for the rapid tests of diagnosis, from 13 percent to 33 percent for the ELISA test, from 5 percent to 70 percent for the CD4 count test and from 22 percent to 82 percent for the viral load test.

The negotiation of the 10 countries is the third to take place in the Latin American and Caribbean Region. Other important discounts were obtained for the Caribbean countries, in June 2002, and for those of Central America, in February of this year. It is estimated that 60 percent of the people in the developing world under antiretroviral treatment live in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Pan American Health Organization, founded 100 years ago, works with all the countries in the Americas to improve the health and well being of all their peoples. PAHO also serves as the regional office of the World Health Organization.

New Global Criminal Court Ratified by 90 Nations

Thu June 12, 2003 11:43 AM ET
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - A total of 90 countries to date have ratified a 1998 treaty creating the new International Criminal Court. The 90th ratification came from Lithuania on May 12.

The court, bitterly opposed by the United States, is the first permanent world tribunal set up to prosecute individuals for war crimes, genocide and other gross human right violations and will sit in the Hague, Netherlands.

The following countries have ratified the treaty:

Albania, Afghanistan, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia, Bosnia, Botswana, Brazil, Britain, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, East Timor, Ecuador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Honduras, Hungary and Iceland.

Ireland, Italy, Jordan, South Korea, Latvia, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malawi, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zambia.

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