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WORLD IN BRIEF

Saturday, February 19, 2005; Page A28

Canada Mulls Banning Patented Drug Exports

OTTAWA -- The Canadian government is considering a ban on all exports of patented drugs as a way to preserve the country's lower prices for medicine, Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh said Friday.

It is the newest of several ideas the government is weighing that could effectively shut down Canada's billion-dollar mail-order pharmacy market in the United States.



Technically, the mechanism would stipulate that whenever the government agency that regulates the prices of patented medicine approves a drug, it would add the requirement that the drug is for use in Canada. Generic drugs would be exempted.

THE AMERICAS

ASUNCION, Paraguay -- Thousands of Paraguayans chanting, "Justice! Justice!" crowded into a cemetery to say farewell to former president Raul Cubas's daughter, who was found dead this week after being kidnapped five months ago.

Hundreds more lined streets of the capital, reaching out to touch the hearse carrying the body of Cecilia Cubas, 32. Police on motorcycles led the funeral cortege.

Her father, president from August 1998 to March 1999, was driven from power by deadly street riots and turmoil set off by the assassination of his vice president.

• BOGOTA, Colombia -- A Colombian court ordered a recount of a million votes lodged for Senate candidates in 2002, citing fraud.

The decision, announced by the State Council, could mean that some senators are replaced but would have no effect on laws the Senate has approved since 2002. The body will continue functioning while the recount proceeds.

The recount will affect only a fraction of total votes cast in the 2002 election by Colombia's approximately 25 million voters.

• LIMA, Peru -- A Peruvian hospital in a notorious drug-trafficking zone said 13 people were admitted with symptoms of chemical poisoning, despite official denials that the government has begun spraying coca crops in its U.S.-backed war on drugs.

For several days, the government denied reports by growers that crops had been sprayed with chemicals from helicopters and reiterated that spraying was not official policy.

• HAVANA -- In a rare display of public dissent, the wives of several Cuban dissidents, wearing pictures of their husbands on their shirts, marched to Revolution Plaza to demand amnesty for all political prisoners. The women delivered a letter containing their demands to state offices located behind the plaza's monument to independence hero Jose Marti.

• BUENOS AIRES -- Argentine President Nestor Kirchner fired his air force chief, Brig. Gen. Carlos Rohde, over a cocaine trafficking case that exposed lax security at the country's main international airport.


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