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Suspected “French Connection” In Bo Xilai Affair Arrested

Worldcrunch

LE FIGARO, LE MONDE, AFP (France)

After weeks of relative silence, the Bo Xilai affair that has shaken China's highest echelons of power has taken a new turn with the arrest of a French architect known to have close connections to the disgraced politician and his jailed wife.

A spokeswoman for the French Embassy in Phnom Penh confirmed Patrick Devillers was arrested on Tuesday, French daily Le Figaro reported. Agence-France Presse later reported that Cambodian police said the arrest was carried out with the cooperation of Chinese authorities, who are seeking Devillers' extradition.

Bo, the former leader of the southwestern Chinese region of Chongqing who'd appeared destined for a top position in the Communist party ranks, is being investigated for corruption allegations, while his wife, Gu Kailai, has been arrested for suspected involvement in last year's murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

Press reports in China had delved into possible connections between Devillers, 52, and the business dealings of Heywood. In an extensive interview last month with Le Monde that took place in a hotel in Phnom Penh, Devillers denied any involvement with corruption or foul play, yet he spoke openly about his many interactions with Bo. The Frenchman worked in the department of architecture and urban affairs of Dalian, the city where Bo had became China's youngest big-city mayor. "In his eyes, I was a sort of artist," Devillers said of the rising politician.

Of the slain Heywood, Devillers said the two had been connected in the 1990s in large part because they were both married to Chinese women. "He had a grand nobility," he recalled, "in the best English tradition of honor."

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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