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Issue of readmitting Honduras to OAS continues to split Latin America and U.S.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010; A10

LATIN AMERICA

U.S., OAS divided over Honduras

Last year's coup in Honduras, which took place shortly after the Organization of American States held a general assembly meeting there, continues to divide Latin America and the United States.

At an OAS meeting Monday in Lima, Peru, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urged allowing Honduras to rejoin, saying the new president, Porfirio Lobo, has shown "strong and consistent commitment to democratic governance and constitutional order."

But a majority of ministers opposed even adding the question of Honduras to the agenda.

The Obama administration had joined with the OAS last year in ousting Honduras after then-President Manuel Zelaya was forced out of the country, but it shifted course after new elections were held, arguing that it was time to move on.

Washington's stance has split it from big players in the region, such as Mexico and Brazil, indicating how difficult it is to bridge regional divisions, even after Clinton talked with officials from Mexico and Brazil in Lima about Honduras.

Clinton has invested heavily in building ties with Latin America, making her second trip to the region this year. But the spat over Honduras -- as well as anger over Arizona's new immigration law and U.S. policy toward Cuba -- has made progress difficult.

Clinton will travel later this week to Ecuador, Colombia and Barbados.

-- Glenn Kessler

NORTH KOREA

Kim's brother-in-law gets key defense post

The brother-in-law of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, was promoted Monday by the country's parliament to a key defense role as part of a leadership reshuffle that analysts said appeared to be aimed at ensuring a smooth transition of power from Kim to his third son, Kim Jong Eun.

The reshuffle, unveiled at a rare second annual parliamentary session, saw Kim Yong Il, North Korea's prime minister and the man in charge of economic policy, cast aside for what analysts interpreted as his supervision of last year's failed currency revaluation. Also replaced were three of the country's vice premiers, according to state media.

The moves come as Pyongyang faces mounting tensions with South Korea after Seoul accused the communist regime of torpedoing the navy warship Cheonan, killing 46 sailors. North Korea denies responsibility for the attack.

Kim Jong Il attended the parliamentary session to promote Chang Sung Taek, his brother-in-law, to vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, North Korea's highest military body.

-- Financial Times

YEMEN

12 Americans arrested in Yemen

Yemeni authorities are holding 12 Americans in custody, and the arrests may be linked to a joint U.S.-Yemeni anti-terrorism campaign, a State Department spokesman said Monday.

The spokesman, P.J. Crowley, declined to provide details about the case, except to say that the U.S. government is aware of the arrests and is seeking more information about the people being held.

Washington continues to encourage Yemen to move against militants linked to al-Qaeda who officials fear may be involved in plots to attack the United States or other Western interests.

-- Associated Press

IRAQ

Security forces targeted in attacks

Attackers targeted Iraqi police and anti-insurgent fighters Monday in an apparent campaign of intimidation that left at least 13 dead and multiple homes destroyed.

Also killed were three civilians who died when a bomb-rigged car loaded with ball bearings exploded in a Baghdad shopping district. Elsewhere, drive-by shooters riddled a Christian man with 15 bullets in the disputed city of Kirkuk.

The spate of violence appeared to be aimed at undermining Iraqis' faith in the country's security forces and exacerbating sectarian tensions. It came as political leaders continued jostling for control three months after parliamentary elections left the country's future government uncertain.

-- Associated Press

Gladiator remains are discovered in England: Dozens of headless skeletons excavated from a building site in northern England appear to be the remains of Roman gladiators, one of whom had bites from a lion, tiger, bear or other large animal, archaeologists said Monday. Experts said new forensic evidence suggests the bones belong to the professional fighters, who were often killed while entertaining spectators.

Police seize largest Mexican copper mine: Police took control of Mexico's largest copper mine, ending a three-year strike that paralyzed operations while union leaders demanded safer working conditions. It is unclear whether operations will resume at the Cananea mine, located just south of the Arizona border.

-- From news services

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