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France and Italy to join Britain in aiding Libya rebels BY STEVEN ERLANGER

New York Times Service

Earlier this month, 12 soldiers, including a captain and lieutenant colonel assigned to the Puerto Plata airport anti-drug agency were arrested in a scheme to smuggle 33 kilos of cocaine to Canada in a child’s suitcase, prosecutors announced. An internal affairs lieutenant investigating dirty cops was murdered in January. A commission that probed last year’s high profile arrest of fugitive Puerto Rican kingpin Jose David Figueroa Agosto recommended the dismissal of 13 police officers, including six bosses. The issue exploded here in August 2008, when seven Colombian men were found dead in Paya, a village near Bani, a southern Dominican city. Twenty two people — among them soldiers who posed as drug agents — were convicted of robbing the Colombians of more than 2,800 pounds of cocaine and then murdering them.

PARIS — France and Italy said on Wednesday that they would join Britain in sending some liaison officers to support the rebel army in Libya, in what military analysts said was a sign that there will be no quick and easy end to the war in Libya. The dispatching of the liaison officers — probably fewer than 40 of them, and carefully not designated as military trainers — is a sign also, they said, that only a combination of military pressure from the sky, economic pressure on the regime and a better-organized and coordinated rebel force will finally convince Moammar Gadhafi that he has no option but to quit. “Some countries thought the Libya operation could be over quickly,” said a senior NATO ambassador. “But no military commander thinks so.” Sending advisors to Libya is the latest in a series of signs of trouble for the NATO campaign, which began in earnest with a stinging, U.S.led attack but has seemed to fizzle since operational command was transferred to NATO on March 31. After that, a rebel offensive was smashed by Gadhafi forces, who sent the rebels reeeling toward the eastern city of Ajdabiya. New tactics by the Gadhafi forces of mixing with civilian populations, camouflaging weapons and driving pickup trucks instead of military vehicles have made it hard for NATO pilots to find targets.



Dominican authorities acknowledge that thousands of law enforcement officers have become hit men, thieves or drug traffickers.



Elias Enmanuel Nunez is an ex-policeman on the run. The former lieutenant with the Dominican Republic’s National Police anti-narcotics unit accused his supervisors of protecting drug dealers and stealing dope. He was fired, threatened with death, and officially logged as one of the 5,000 crooked police officers, soldiers or anti-narcotics agents sacked in the past three years. “I would arrest a drug dealer for having however many kilos of cocaine, and the next day the drugs I seized would be gone, and the guy would be back on his corner,” Nunez told The Miami Herald. “I did not offer myself to that kind of thing, and now I can’t even get a job as a security guard.” Nunez eventually went public, and the colonels in question were suspended. They are among thousands of law enforcement officers that Dominican authorities acknowledge have become hit men,

thieves or drug traffickers. Many formed business partnerships with the Dominican drug dealers and Colombian cartels that move massive amounts of cocaine by through the island of Hispaniola. As more Colombian drugs move through the Dominican Republic on their way to Europe and the United States, traffickers have corrupted the very institutions charged with keeping them at bay, destabilizing already weak agencies plagued by low pay and graft. Entire trafficking networks have been dismantled from within the armed forces, National Police and the country’s specialized quasi-military anti-drug corps. More than 20 percent of the National Drug Control Directorate, the country’s equivalent of the DEA, was fired last year, underscoring the need for massive reform in a country where U.S. anti-drug aid has dwindled. “There is no question that most of the heavy lifting in drug trafficking in the Dominican Repub-

lic is being done by the military: They are the ones who facilitate the entry of drugs,” said Miami attorney Joaquin Perez, who represents traffickers. “They get a commission, in the form of drugs, and then find someone to sell it.”


Quirino Paulino Castillo, a former Dominican army captain, was arrested in 2004 for being one of the country’s top cocaine smugglers.

Syria activists regroup after crackdown BY ANTHONY SHADID

New York Times Service

BEIRUT — Protests erupted Wednesday in the town that unleashed Syria’s five-week uprising, and security forces detained a prominent organizer in the restive city of Homs, casting into doubt government pledges to repeal the harsh emergency laws and grant civil rights in one of the Arab world’s most repressive countries. Though the demonstrations paled before those of past days, organizers vowed to turn out their largest numbers yet on what protesters have begun to call “Great Friday.” Some residents said security forces were already deploying in hopes of damping the turnout, and organizers across Syria called the day potentially decisive for the uprising’s momentum.

The demonstrations may serve as a referendum of sorts on the declaration by President Bashar al Assad’s government that it would repeal emergency law in place since 1963, when the Baath Party seized power in Syria, and institute a series of reforms — from allowing civil liberties to abolishing draconian courts. Some have called the promises a hard-won gain of an uprising that has shaken the 40-year rule of the Assad family, while others were dismissive of initiatives that may prove elusive and seemed aimed at blunting the demonstrations’ momentum and maintaining Assad’s relentless grip on power. “People don’t trust the regime anymore,” said Haithem Maleh, a former judge and an often imprisoned human rights activist in Damascus, the Syrian capital. “I

don’t think that the Syrian people are going to stop before they bring down this regime.” But Syria is a complicated country, with sizable minorities of Christians and heterodox Muslim sects that have looked with trepidation to the example offered by Iraq’s civil war. The prospect that Maleh raised — the government’s fall — has alarmed some, particularly among the minorities, who worry about society’s lack of independent institutions to navigate a transition and the fearsome prospect of score-settling in chaos. “Everything is possible today,” said Michel Kilo, another veteran government critic in Damascus. “If the regime believes that with security they can handle everything, • TURN TO SYRIA, 2A

Experts predict lengthy cleanup in Japan BY MATTHEW L. WALD

New York Times Service

Veterans of the Three Mile Island cleanup said a much larger task faces the engineers trying to contain and secure the damaged reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. And Three Mile Island took 14 years. Lake Barrett, the senior Nuclear Regulatory Commission engineer at Three Mile Island during the early phases of the cleanup said that “it was a walk in the park compared to what they’ve got”. The Fukushima Daiichi reactors are similar to those in Pennsylvania — “the cores are probably really similar, partially melted,” Barrett


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said — but engineers pointed out several key differences in the aftermath of the accidents. In Japan, four separate reactors are damaged, and fixing each one is complicated by the presence of its leaking neighbors. It will also require a major infusion of equipment to replace parts far from the reactor’s core, like pumps and switchgear that were destroyed by the tsunami. In the short term, weather is a factor: According to engineers who managed the U.S. cleanup, which ran from 1979 to 1993, Tokyo Electric Power has only a few weeks to patch up the three smashed secondary containments before the coming rainy season, when down-


pours could wash more contamination into the environment. And the company will have to carefully watch that the number of workers with the necessary skills do not burn out under the size of the task or absorb so much radiation that they have to quit. Still, Barrett and others say that the mess at Fukushima Daiichi can be contained, cleaned up and even securely wrapped up for long-term disposal. The plant may benefit from past experience, because it is the second major accident worldwide in a big watercooled reactor, they say. • TURN TO JAPAN, 2A


Study raises new concerns about safety of calcium taking it when they got into the research project were at 13 percent to A study is raising new ques- 22 percent increased risk. The risk tions about the safety of calcium, occurred regardless of whether the which many women take to pro- women were taking calcium alone tect their bones. or with Vitamin D, the researchers An analysis of data collected on found. more than 16,000 women who parThe researchers also analyzed ticipated in the landmark Women’s data from 13 other studies involvHealth Initiative found that those ing 29,000 people all together, and who started taking calcium as part found increases in the risk for heart of the study were at increased risk attacks and strokes among those for heart attacks and strokes. taking calcium. The federally funded Women’s The researchers speculate that Health Initiative is the big study there may be something about that, among other things, stunned suddenly starting calcium that doctors and women in 2002 when boosts the risk, perhaps by causing it determined that the risks of tak- calcification, or hardening, of the ing hormones for menopause out- arteries. Calcium may also make weighed the benefits. it more likely that blood clots will When data from that form, they said. study was originally “These data justify analyzed, it found no ina reassessment of the creased risk for heart use of calcium suppleproblems among womments in older peoen taking calcium and ple,” the researchers Vitamin D. But most wrote. women in the study In an editorial were already takaccompanying the ing calcium on their analysis, Bo Abraown, which may have hamsen of the hidden any risks. Gentofte Hospital in So Ian Reid of the Copenhagen, DenUniversity of Auckmark, and Opinder land and his colleagues Sohota of Queen’s reanalyzed the data to Medical Centre in try to take that into acNottingham, Engcount. The new analyland, argue that sis of data from 16,718 there is still too little women, published in information to know the British medical for sure if calcium journal known as boosts the risk. BMJ, found that “Clearly further the women who studies are needed were not taking caland the debate recium when the study mains ongoing,” started but began they wrote. JARED LAZARUS/MIAMI HERALD STAFF BY ROB STEIN

Washington Post Service


INDEX NEWS EXTRA .............3A THE AMERICAS ..........4A OPINION .......................7A COMICS & PUZZLES ..6B

4/21/2011 4:37:59 AM




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Edition, 21 april 2011