Haiti in Brief: US soldier heads home to help

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The Independent US

An American soldier who was born in Haiti has persuaded his battalion in Afghanistan to let him join up with forces in Port-au-Prince to aid in the reconstruction process. Lt Ramses Brunache, who has been in Kandahar since July, learned of the death of his sister in a 3am phone call; now he hopes to act as a translator. "I would like to help as many people as possible," he told AP news agency. "If I have to pick up debris, I can do that."

Basil to block out smell of death

Surgical face masks have become a status symbol in Haiti, but those who don't have one are using anything they can lay their hands on to block out the nauseating smell of putrefying corpses which hangs over Port-au-Prince. Some paint a stripe of toothpaste across their top lip to block out the stench, some have stuck a plastic tube of menthol nasal decongestant up one nostril, with others resorting to a couple of sprigs of basil.

Senegal to 'offer land to Haitians'

The President of Senegal, Abdoulaye Wade, has said that African nations should offer Haitians the chance to resettle in "the land of their ancestors". "Africa should offer Haitians the chance to return home. It is their right," Mr Wade said on his website. Officials have been quoted as saying the West African country was ready to offer parcels of land to Haitians. If enough show up, an entire area of the country may be given to them.