South America

patch of amazon forest on a mountain side severely burned

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon up 85 percent in 2019

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) – Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil soared 85 percent in 2019, compared with the previous year, official data showed Tuesday. The 9,166 square kilometers (3,539 square miles) cleared was the highest number in at least five years, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. In 2018, the deforested area was 4,946 square kilometers. The sharp increase overlapped the first year in office of President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate […]

Volcano erupts on ecologically sensitive Galapagos island

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) — A volcano erupted on an uninhabited island in the Galapagos, Ecuadorian authorities said, spewing lava on the ecologically sensitive environment. La Cumbre volcano on Fernandina island, one of the youngest in the archipelago, began erupting Sunday evening, Galapagos National Park (PNG) officials said in a statement. The 1,467 meter high (4,813 feet) volcano has a crack along its south-eastern flank and “a lava flow descends to the coast”, PNG added. The […]

Guaido calls protest Thursday against Venezuela’s Maduro

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido called on supporters to rally Thursday against the government of President Nicolas Maduro in a bid to rekindle popular momentum against an “illegitimate” leader. Guaido urged a new round of protests after he was sworn in earlier this week for another term as National Assembly speaker following a standoff with the armed forces. Amid skepticism that he can still mobilize large crowds as at the height […]

Five dead as vehicles crushed in wall collapse in Ecuador

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) — A concrete wall collapsed and crushed several vehicles in southern Ecuador early Wednesday, killing at least five people, four of them children, emergency services said. “A total of four injured and five dead,” the emergency services said in a statement after rescue workers recovered the bodies from the rubble in Las Lomas, in the southern province of Azuay. Authorities said the dead were two females, aged 37 and seven, and three […]

Dozens of families found homeless after forest fire in Chilean port

VALPARAISO, Chile (AFP) — Dozens of families found themselves homeless on December 25 after a forest fire in the Chilean tourist port city of Valparaiso burned through two hillside neighborhoods. The blaze broke out Tuesday on Rocuant and San Roque hills and continued to burn on Wednesday, though with less intensity. About 200 homes were “affected” by the fire in a matter of hours. There were no deaths from the fire that had burned 150 […]

Morales claims US orchestrated ‘coup’ to tap Bolivia’s lithium

  by Liliana Samuel  BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AFP) — Former Bolivia president Evo Morales told AFP on Tuesday that he was forced from office by a United States-backed coup d’etat aimed at gaining access to the South American country’s vast lithium resources. Demand for lithium is expected to grow globally as it is one of the key components in batteries used in high-tech equipment such as laptops and electric cars. Morales resigned as president on […]

Pentagon suspends training of Saudis for security review

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The Pentagon announced Tuesday it was temporarily suspending operational training for Saudi military students in the United States following a shooting rampage last week by a Saudi air force officer. Saudi Arabian military students in the United States will continue classroom instruction but operational training is halted pending a security review, senior Defense Department officials said. Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21-year-old lieutenant in the Saudi Royal Air Force, opened fire in […]

Chile military plane disappears with 38 aboard: Air Force

  SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — A Chilean military plane with 38 people aboard has gone missing after taking off from the country’s south for a base in Antarctica and is presumed to have crashed, authorities have said. Seventeen of those on board the C-130 aircraft were crew and the others were passengers, Chile’s Air Force said Monday. The plane is considered to have crashed and “all national and international air and maritime means available in […]

Opposition leader Keiko Fujimori leaves prison in Peru

  LIMA, Peru (AFP) — Peru opposition leader Keiko Fujimori was released from prison Friday after spending 13 months in pre-trial detention in a corruption case linked to Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. Her release comes days after the country’s Constitutional Court ordered her freed in a ruling related only to her detention and which otherwise has no bearing on the corruption case against her. “For me, it was the most painful event of my life,” […]

Ex-Morales’ officials take refuge in Mexico embassy in Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AFP) — Some 20 former members of Bolivian ex-president Evo Morales’ government has holed up in Mexico’s embassy in La Paz, Bolivia’s foreign minister said Tuesday, including five wanted for arrest. Among them is Morales’ former top minister Juan Ramon Quintana, who the caretaker government has accused of sedition and terrorism. Morales, who fled to Mexico after being granted political asylum following his November 10 resignation, has been accused of the same […]

23 dead as violent unrest in Chile enters fifth week

by Paulina ABRAMOVICH Agence France Presse SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — The death toll from violent unrest in Chile rose to 23 on Friday as the country entered its fifth week of social unrest. Looting and demonstrations took place in cities across the South American nation, and an agreement on a political roadmap that will see Chile draft a new constitution has halted neither the anger, nor the bloodshed. Furious Chileans have since October 18 been […]

Bolivia leader: Elections will be called soon

by Raúl BURGOA LA PAZ, Bolivia (AFP) — Bolivia’s interim president said Sunday she will call new elections soon, as the country struggles with violent unrest a week after the resignation of Evo Morales. “Very soon we will announce news regarding our main mandate: calling transparent elections,” Jeanine Anez said in a speech at the presidential palace. She did not give details, saying only that the announcement will seek the “recovery of our country’s democratic […]