Ecuador

Ecuador's foreign minister resigned Jan. 12 after President Rafael Correa criticized his handling of negotiations to prevent oil drilling in a pristine Amazon reserve. Fander Falconi was the third government official to resign over a plan to seek international donations of USD 3 billion over the next 10 years to keep an estimated 850 million barrels of heavy crude oil under the ground in the remote Yasuni National Park. Prospective donors have demanded some control over how the money is spent and asked Ecuador to expand the amount of land protected from development under the initiative. Correa blasted them Saturday, calling their conditions an "unacceptable" and "embarrassing" affront to Ecuador's sovereignty. (AP)

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