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Caribbean news briefs

Caribbean news briefs

PUERTO RICO: US island seeks federal prosecution of crimes to help quell violence
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Puerto Rico will partner with federal agencies to prosecute criminal cases and help a struggling police force contain growing violence, the island's governor announced Tuesday.
At least a dozen crimes will be prosecuted at a federal level, including carjackings, drive-by shootings and weapon possessions, as part of a partnership with agencies including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to Gov. Luis Fortuno.
The temporary initiative applies to only five of Puerto Rico's 13 judicial regions. Those involved include the capital of San Juan, the northern coastal city of Carolina and the southern city of Ponce, the island's second largest city.
Fortuno said he believes the partnership will help drive down crime because obtaining bail at a federal level is much harder and sentencing much harsher.
The U.S. territory of 4 million people is nearing a record number of killings, with 831 people killed so far this year compared with 702 killed in the same period last year. Puerto Rico registered its second highest number of homicides last year, with 955 people killed. A record 995 were reported killed in 1995.
Fortuno denied the partnership means the local government is unable to cope with the violence.
He said some Puerto Rican police will be trained to work with federal agents, and that six local prosecutors will work with the Department of Justice to handle what they anticipate will be a jump in cases.
The initiative might be expanded to other regions, said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodriguez.
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HAITI: US probes care of deportee who died in custody at police station
MIAMI (AP) _ A Haitian man who suffered cholera-like symptoms and died in his Caribbean homeland after the U.S. deported him had no pre-existing health problems that might have contributed to his death, medical records from his time in immigration custody show.
Wildrick Guerrier, 34, was sent back to Haiti on Jan. 20. He became severely ill while being held at a police station as is customary for deportees to Haiti. He died Jan. 29 and was buried in Haiti without an autopsy. Other deportees reported that Guerrier began suffering from diarrhea and vomiting after he tried to help other sick detainees.
After his death, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials ordered a review of his medical care while in U.S. immigration custody.
"This medical records review failed to reveal any underlying abnormalities that may have contributed to his sudden death upon deportation to Haiti," the review states.
The attorney representing Guerrier's fiancee said Tuesday that ICE's conclusion makes his death all the more shocking.
"If Mr. Guerrier was healthy when he was deported, this is definitive proof of the extreme nature of the danger faced by deportees sent back to Haiti. The United States must not deport people back to Haiti when we know that they will be detained in unsanitary conditions that spread cholera and other life-threatening diseases," said Rebecca Sharpless, director of the immigration clinic at the University of Miami School of Law.
The Associated Press obtained the medical review and other records from Guerrier's 109 days in immigration custody through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Guerrier was among the first Haitians deported by the U.S. since a catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti's capital in January 2010.
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FRENCH GUIANA: Strike at French Guiana rocket site postpones launches of 2 communication satellites
KOUROU, French Guiana (AP) _ A strike has postponed the launch of two communication satellites from the South American country of French Guiana.
European satellite company SES says in a statement that the walkout by the Trade Union of French Guiana Workers prevented Tuesday's launch of the SES-2 satellite. It is meant to replace the AMC-3 satellite that provides communication services to a variety of global customers.
Arianespace also had been scheduled to launch the Arabsat-5C telecommunications satellite Tuesday. Arianespace is the commercial arm of the 13-country European Space Agency.
A new launch date has not been announced.
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JAMAICA: Top security officials travel to Honduras to discuss illegal fishing, smuggling
KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) _ Jamaica's top security officials are meeting with their counterparts in Honduras to discuss ways of battling illegal fishing and the smuggling of weapons and drugs.
A Jamaican government statement issued Tuesday says matters to be discussed include illegal fishing in Jamaica's economic exclusion zone.
Earlier this year, Honduras' navy commander accused the Jamaican coast guard of using excessive force trying to stop a Honduran boat in lobster- and conch-rich waters of Jamaica's Pedro Cays. The boat's captain was fatally shot and two crewmen were wounded.
It was just the latest of numerous flare-ups between Jamaican marine patrols and Honduran boats in recent years.
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GUYANA: Swarm of aggressive Africanized bees kills mechanic in his home
GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) _ Authorities say aggressive Africanized bees have killed a 49-year-old mechanic in Guyana.
Imram Hassan was attacked late Monday by a large swarm of what after often called killer bees.
The bees swarmed inside Hassan's home in Eccles in central Guyana. The agriculture ministry said in a Tuesday statement that the bees had a hive in a derelict building nearby.
The ministry has sent a team of beekeepers and exterminators to the area to capture the bees and destroy the hive.
Africanized bees were first brought to Brazil from South Africa in the late 1950s for a crossbreeding program and some were accidentally were let loose. In Guyana, the insects are commonly referred to as Brazilian bees.
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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Police say man kills self, family by setting house on fire
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ Authorities in the Dominican Republic say a man locked himself and his family inside their house, then set it on fire, killing all five people.
Prosecutor Gendris Ramirez says neighbors told police they saw 28-year-old Romelio Frias douse the house with gasoline before dawn Tuesday. The victims include his 36-year-old wife, their 3-year-old daughter and 9-year-old twin boys that she had from a previous marriage.
The fire occurred in the community of Veron, just east of the capital of Santo Domingo.
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HAITI: NBC crime show star Maria Bello joins advisory panel on Haiti's economic development
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Actress Maria Bello says she has been invited to join a Haiti advisory panel that is to help develop the quake-damaged country's economy.
The star of NBC's new crime drama "Prime Suspect" will join a board of 30-plus leaders, executives and philanthropists. They include an adviser to Haitian President Michel Martelly, former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohammad Yunus.
Bello plans to focus on projects that help women and girls in Haiti as the country tries to recover from last year's earthquake. She has worked in Haiti the past three years with various aid groups, most of which concern women and health issues.
The announcement was made Tuesday.
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BASEBALL: Official: Manny Ramirez to begin training with league team in Dominican Republic
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) _ Former World Series MVP Manny Ramirez, who retired in April after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, hopes to play for a winter league team in his Caribbean homeland.
Winston Llenas, president of the Cibao Eagles, a winter league team in the northern Dominican Republic for whom Ramirez played in 1993-94, told The Associated Press during a Tuesday phone interview that Ramirez is expected to start training with his former team next week.
Llenas said the 39-year-old Ramirez told team officials he wants to "play before the Dominican fans and to perhaps motivate other Major League stars to also play in the country."
Ramirez retired in April after he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance while with the Tampa Bay Rays. Rather than face a 100-game suspension for a second violation of Major League Baseball's drug policy, the 12-time All-Star left the game.
Ramirez previously served a 50-game ban in 2009 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
His first positive test _ for human chorionic gonadotropin, a banned female fertility drug often used to help mask steroid use _ would not prevent him from playing in the Dominican Republic.
Ramirez last played in the Dominican winter league during that 1993-94 season with the Eagles.
He also is facing criminal prosecution in Florida on charges that he slapped his wife during a recent argument. He told investigators only that he grabbed his wife by the shoulders during an argument and "shrugged" her, causing her to hit her head on the headboard of their bed.
Ramirez was named MVP of the World Series in 2004 and helped the Boston Red Sox end an 86-year title drought.