Friday, May 31, 2013

Daily Headlines: May 31, 2013

* South America: The Venezuelan government threatened with not meditating in peace talks between Colombian officials and FARC rebels after opposition figure Henrique Capriles met with Colombian leader Juan Manuel Santos in Bogotá.

* Brazil: A judge controversially granted bail to four defendants accused of homicide related to a nightclub fire last January that killed 242 people.

* Mexico: Family members of eleven young adults gone missing and possibly kidnapped from a Mexico City bar blocked traffic along the metropolis’ main boulevard in a sign of protest.

* Chile: President Sebastián Piñera has given the green light to the Pascua Lama mining project, which has been strongly opposed by environmentalists and indigenous groups.

Video Source – YouTube via NTN24 (Last February, then-Vice President Nicolas Maduro blasted Henrique Capriles’ visit to Colombia as part of a “conspiracy” against the Venezuelan government.  Capriles replied by accusing Maduro of being a “mediocre loudmouth.”)

Online Sources- GlobalPost; USA TODAY;; CNN

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Salvadoran Top Court Rejects Abortion Request (Updated)

The Supreme Court of El Salvador rejected a seriously ill pregnant woman’s request to abort her deformed fetus.

“This court determines that the rights of the mother cannot take precedence over those of the unborn child or vice versa, and that there is an absolute bar to authorizing an abortion as contrary to the constitutional protection accorded to human persons 'from the moment of conception,’” according to the court’s 4-1 decision yesterday.

The lone dissenting magistrate claimed that he was not in favor of abortions but did want to ensure that the pregnant woman would receive all medical treatment “without having to recur to legal authorization to protect the life of the mother and the human being she is carrying in her womb.”

The infirm woman, identified as “Beatriz,” has been diagnosed with lupus and kidney disease while her fetus is anencephalic and missing a large part of its brain and skull.  Doctors have warned that “Beatriz” could die trying to give birth to her child, who may not survive beyond a few hours after being born.

(Update: Salvadoran authorities on Thursday permitted doctors to perform an emergency C-section on "Beatriz" next week.  The procedure would be risky, however, and there is no guarantee that she or her fetus would survive).

"We cannot appeal the case because this was the last step, the Supreme Court," said Victor Hugo Mata, Beatriz's lawyer, who also noted that the judges “are saying Beatriz is not in danger and she must pursue the natural way of delivery and we must see what happens.”

As we mentioned earlier this month, President Mauricio Funes said that “Beatriz” has the “right to decide” whether to abort “and not the organizations trying to take advantage of her situation.”

The Salvadoran health ministry, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and women’s rights groups have advocated in favor of providing “Beatriz” with an emergency abortion.  On the other hand, conservative groups like the Salvadoran Catholic Church have argued that the “case should not be used to legislate against human life, especially against the unborn.”

(Update: On Thursday an IACHR spokeswoman urged El Salvador to allow "Beatriz" to undergo an abortion in order to save her life).

Daily Headlines: May 30, 2013

* Brazil: U.S. Vice President Joe Biden continued his official trip to Brazil and urged the country to to further open its economy by encouraging free trade and ties to U.S. businesses.

* U.S.: Two former coaches filed a lawsuit against Major League Soccer team Chivas USA alleging that they were fired for not being Latino.

* Argentina: An Argentine prosecutor investigating the 1994 AMIA bombing claimed that Iran has “infiltrated” numerous Latin American countries with the purpose of carrying out “terrorist activities.

* Mexico: A Mexican man became the first person in Latin America to successfully undergo a permanent implantation of an artificial heart.

Video Source – YouTube via user telesurenglish

Online Sources- Reuters; CNN; LAHT; BBC News

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Daily Headlines: May 29, 2013

* Honduras: Leaders of the dangerous Mara Salavatrucha and 18th Street gangs declared a truce similar to a pact in El Salvador that has helped decrease homicide rates.

* Mexico: A hurricane warning was issued this morning for areas along Mexico’s Pacific coast as Tropical Storm Barbara gains strength on its way towards land.

* Cuba: Starting next week, the government will expand internet access to over one hundred extra outlets though no internet provided directly to private homes and most Cubans cannot afford going online.

* Costa Rica: U.S. law enforcement authorities shut down Liberty Reserve, a Costa Rican-based company specializing in online payments, over allegations of money laundering.

Video Source – YouTube via Al Jazeera English

Online Sources- ABC News; CBS News; Voice of America; Reuters

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Daily Headlines: May 28, 2013

* Mexico: Amat Escalante won the best director prize at the Cannes Film Festival for "Heli," an “ultra-violent” movie that takes place in Mexico.

* Honduras: President Porfirio Lobo said that he’s backing efforts by Catholic Bishop Romulo Emiliani to broker a truce between the Mara Salavatrucha and 18th Street gangs.

* Brazil: A tearful Neymar bid farewell to fans and players of Brazilian side Santos before heading off to soccer giants FC Barcelona.

* U.S.: According to report released earlier this month, electoral officials in the U.S. tend to be biased against Latino voters.

Video Source – YouTube via user filmfonds

Online Sources- ESPN; France 24; Washington Post; Miami Herald

Monday, May 27, 2013

World Watch: Court-ing Kenyatta

* Kenya: African leaders called on the International Criminal Court to transfer charges of human rights abuses against Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to that country’s legal system.

* Australia: Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s top Catholic Church official, publicly apologized for the cover up decades of sexual abuse by priests against children.

* Syria: European Union nations are reportedly undecided over whether or not to sell weapons to Syrian rebels.

* Iraq: At least fifty people were killed when a series of bombs exploded in several areas of the capital city of Baghdad.

Video Source– YouTube via Al Jazeera English 

Online Sources – ABC News; BBC News; The Guardian; Al Jazeera English

Daily Headlines: May 27, 2013

* U.S.: “Finally, they're going to put my ugly face on this trophy,” joked Brazilian-born Tony Kanaan after he won the Indianapolis 500 yesterday for the first time in twelve attempts.

* Guatemala: Alfonso Portillo, the ex-Guatemalan president who on Friday became the first former Latin American leader ever to be extradited to the U.S., is due in a federal court tomorrow.

* Haiti: A “group of black-rights associations” filed a lawsuit seeking reparations from payments made to France after Haiti gained its independence.

* Venezuela: A U.S. State Department report on religious freedom accused the Venezuelan government of attempting “to limit the influence of religious groups in certain geographic, societal, and political areas.”

Video Source – YouTube via ESPN

Online Sources- USA TODAY; AFP; Bloomberg; El Universal