South America

Nicaragua crisis: how democracy dies in the era of fake news

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For decades, Central America was mostly sidelined as far as global news was concerned. Doug Specht The Conversation That all looked set to change with the advent of digital media, which initially promised to put previously marginalised voices on the world stage. But instead, the age of social media and fake news might have ushered in something much worse than obscurity: an entanglement of news and rumour that’s dividing populations, spilling blood on the streets, and transforming the relationship between ... Read More »

The stacks of cash needed to buy basic goods tell Venezuela’s insane inflation story

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In a desperate bid to curb its runaway inflation rate, Venezuela has lopped five zeros from its currency. Edmund Heaphy Quartz The move yesterday, which came along with a 95% devaluation of the currency—known as the “strong bolívar”—was also accompanied by a hike in gas prices and a 3,000% increase in the minimum wage. New banknotes for the currency, now called the the “sovereign bolívar”, were introduced. The redenominated bolívar is now pegged to the petro, a state-run cryptocurrency that doesn’t ... Read More »

Argentina retains strict abortion laws by rejecting elective procedures

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Argentina’s decision to retain its stringent abortion laws has left Latin America and the Caribbean with some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the world. ABC Argentine senators this week narrowly rejected a bill to legalise abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, overcoming support for a surging abortion rights movement in the homeland of Pope Francis. The Senate’s 38-31 vote against the proposed legislation could echo across Latin America, where anti-abortion forces remains strong even if the ... Read More »

Venezuela crisis: Brazil briefly shuts border to migrants

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Brazil has re-opened its northern border with Venezuela to those fleeing economic and political turmoil there, after briefly closing it. BBC The Supreme Court overturned an earlier order to shut the frontier until Brazil could put in place the right conditions to receive the huge influx of people. Authorities in the state of Roraima in Brazil’s Amazon region say some 500 Venezuelans cross the border every day. The border was re-opened to Venezuelan migrants after a few hours on Monday. ... Read More »

Lawyers defending immigrant children in detention are relying on a court case from the 80s

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The Trump administration’s immigration policies have brought an old court case back to life in defense of immigrant children at the border, often referred to as “the Flores settlement.” Kevin Johnson The Conversation The case, which was filed in 1985 and settled in 1997, set the rules that the government must follow when it keeps migrant children in its custody. The latest court order based on the settlement took place on July 30, in which a judge barred immigration authorities ... Read More »

Deal to Protect Waters Around ‘Jurassic Park Island’ Falls Through

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Costa Rica’s government failed to execute a commitment to protect 4,000 square miles around Cocos Island National Park, a critical shark habitat. Stephen Leahy National Geographic A commitment to create a marine protected area around Cocos Island fell through, though the country’s new government may take another look. Two years ago, former Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís made international news by committing to a 4,000-square-mile expansion of the marine protected area around the extraordinarily biodiverse waters of Cocos Island ... Read More »

A guide to the longest full eclipse of the moon this century, and more

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On July 27th, 2018 most of the world will be treated to an extraordinary evening of activity in the sky. Daniel Cunnama The Conversation First, there will be a total lunar eclipse and although uncommon, this one is special because it’s going to last a lot longer than usual – in fact the longest this century. But that’s not all. Mars will shine brighter than it has in 15 years. Caroline Southey asked Dr Daniel Cunnama to explain the… There’s ... Read More »

2017 was deadliest year for environmental activism: report

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At least 207 activists were killed, with Brazil, the Philippines and Colombia named as the most dangerous countries. Charlotte Mitchell AlJazeera Nearly four land and environmental activists were killed each week in 2017, making it the deadliest year on record, according to a new report by Global Witness. In the report, published on Tuesday, the UK-based watchdog said 207 people lost their lives last year in their fight against companies and governments that seize land and harm the environment. Latin America was once ... Read More »

Mexican anti-poverty program targeting poor women may help men most, study finds

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Economic empowerment programs that target women may have an unintended effect: They help men instead. Nora Haenn The Conversation A growing number of economic development programs worldwide provide cash specifically to women in poor communities. Giving women access to money empowers them, the theory goes. And empowered women – especially mothers – can lift entire families out of poverty. Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for launching a microloan program just for women. Nine Indian states ... Read More »

Ortega puts blame on ‘satanists,’ bishops

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Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega blamed “satanical criminals,” Catholic bishops and the US for a wave of unrest he has violently sought to extinguish, as he marked on July 19 the 39th anniversary of the… MANAGUA Hurriyet The protesters, financed by the “North American empire” and domestic business chiefs, had been conspiring to mount a “coup d’etat” in the Central American nation, Ortega claimed to a… Catholic bishops who had attempted to mediate dialogue between him and the opposition were also “behaving like coup plotters,” he said, ... Read More »

Amlo: How often do world leaders take a pay cut?

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Mexico’s incoming president Andrés Manuel López Obrador plans to take a 60% pay cut when he takes office in December. BBC The winning left-wing candidate will now earn a salary equivalent to about $5,707 (£4,310) a month and no other public official will be able to earn more than him. Mr López Obrador said the official residence, Los Pinos, will become a cultural centre. The Mexican politician is certainly not the first leader to make the statement of lowering his or ... Read More »

The Missing Peace: Colombia’s New Government and Last Guerrillas

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Talks in Havana with the ELN, Colombia’s last insurgency, are advancing at a slow pace. ICG Backed by international actors, the current government and guerrilla negotiators should aim for rapid progress in negotiations to minimise the chance of a… What’s new? Peace talks with Colombia’s last guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), could be under threat after the election of Iván Duque as the new president. Tangible short-term results are essential to ensure negotiations continue when Duque… Why does ... Read More »

EU lawmakers issue call to take in Venezuelan migrants

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A new resolution in the European Parliament is calling on EU countries to give refuge to migrants from Venezuela. Mirra Banchon DW The UN’s migration agency estimates that 200,000 Venezuelans are already living in Spain. The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday urging member states to provide “immediate protection-oriented responses” to Venezuelan migrants in the EU, including humanitarian visas, special stay arrangements and… Lawmakers also demanded that the Venezuelan government allow the entry of humanitarian aid to the… EU lawmakers issue… Read More »

Trump asked advisers about invading Venezuela in 2017

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(CNN) – President Donald Trump last August asked several top foreign policy advisers about the possibility of invading Venezuela during a meeting about diplomatic sanctions the US was enacting on the autocratic government, a… By Jeremy Diamond, CNN Trump’s aides, including then-national security adviser HR McMaster, vigorously urged him against the notion of a military invasion of Venezuela, warning him it could backfire and explaining that US allies in the… Taking military action against Venezuela would be a dramatic escalation of ... Read More »

Why the World is Not Becoming Multipolar

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In Russia, the concept of multipolarity is usually associated with Yevgeny Primakov. Indeed, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation marked the start of the transition to multipolarity as a key trend in contemporary international life back in 1996.[i] Andrey Kortunov RIAC During his visit to New Delhi as Prime Minister in late 1998, Primakov proposed a plan of trilateral cooperation between Russia, China, and India (RIC) as a practical mechanism for promoting global multipolarity. Sergey Lavrov ... Read More »

UN Human Rights Council Should Act on Venezuela

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Venezuelan Crisis needs to be a Council Priority Leila Swan HRW No one was surprised when Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro was re-elected last May, or when the opposition alleged voting irregularities. Unofficial reports estimated low voter turnout, less than 40%, despite government officials’ frantic attempts to increase participation. Upon hearing the results, Maduro sang victory, claiming “The whole of Venezuela has triumphed! Democracy has triumphed! Peace has triumphed!”. Yet the elections were rejected by democracies world-wide. The Lima Group – comprised… UN ... Read More »