LIMA, Peru

Gold mine opponents object to emergency declaration

Opponents of Peru’s biggest mining investment said Monday they felt betrayed by the president’s decision to impose a state of emergency to end violent protests against the $4.8 billion highlands gold mine, saying they had already halted a general strike and agreed to negotiations.

President Ollanta Humala said Sunday night’s emergency declaration aimed to restore order and to reopen schools and roads paralyzed by a general strike and clashes with police in which dozens of people have been injured.

But Cajamarca state Gov. Gregorio Santos, who has been leading the protests, said demonstrators had suspended a weeklong general strike Thursday when they agreed to talks with the government.

He said Monday that the president was “deceiving” Peruvians with the decree.


Presidential candidate can’t remember three book titles

Politicians north of the border aren’t the only ones struggling with gaffes this campaign season.

Mexico’s leading presidential contender floundered in confusion for about four minutes when the audience at a book fair asked him to name three books that had influenced him. He was able to correctly name only one he has read “parts of:” the Bible.

Former Mexico State Gov. Enrique Pena Nieto holds a comfortable lead in opinion polls for Mexico’s July 1 presidential election.

The floundering by Pena Nieto, a strikingly handsome man married to a television actress, fed into the images critics have tried to spin around him: telegenic but hollow.


Communists ask that judge have poet’s body exhumed

Chile’s Communist Party is asking a judge to order the exhumation of the remains of famed poet Pablo Neruda due to allegations that he may have been poisoned.

Party member Juan Andres Lagos said Monday that the request will be reviewed by Judge Mario Carroza, who is probing deaths allegedly caused by abuses during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990.

Manuel Araya, who was Neruda’s chauffeur and assistant, has told reporters in recent months that he and Neruda’s wife received a phone call from him on the day of his death from a hospital where he was being treated for prostate cancer.

Araya reported that Neruda said to “come quickly, because while I was asleep a doctor entered and gave me a shot.”

The 69-year-old poet, who had won the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature, died on Sept. 23, 1973, in the Santa Maria Clinic in Santiago.

Neruda died 12 days after the military coup that swept Pinochet to power and ousted socialist President Salvador Allende, who was a friend of the poet.


Alan Sues from ‘Laugh-In’ dies of cardiac arrest

Alan Sues, who brought his flamboyant and over-the-top comic persona to the hit television show “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” in the 1960s and 1970s, has died, a close friend said Sunday.

Sues died of cardiac arrest Thursday at his home in West Hollywood, said Michael Gregg Michaud, a friend since 1975. He was 85.

A native Californian who moved to New York in 1952, Sues began his career as a serious actor and in 1953 appeared in director Elia Kazan’s “Tea and Sympathy” on Broadway.

But he would be remembered for his wild comic characters.

They included “Big Al,” an effeminate sportscaster, and “Uncle Al the Kiddies Pal,” a hung-over children’s show host, on “Laugh-In.” Sues also donned tights as the commercial spokesman for Peter Pan peanut butter, and appeared in the popular 1964 “Twilight Zone” episode “The Masks.”


Brown wants to raise taxes on state’s highest earners

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday proposed raising taxes on high earners and boosting the sales tax by a half-cent for the next five years.

Brown wants to raise income taxes by 1 percent to 2 percent for individuals making $250,000 or more, in addition to the sales-tax increase, and hopes to qualify the proposal for next November’s ballot.

The new revenue – up to $6.8 billion per year for the five years, according to administration estimates – would be used for public schools and for counties to house more inmates in local jails instead of state prisons.

Republicans immediately dismissed the proposal.