South America

More than 100 dead in Ecuador’s latest prison violence

by Santiago PIEDRA SILVA GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador (AFP) — The death toll from bloody clashes between rival gangs in an Ecuador prison has surpassed 100, with 52 more wounded, the government prison authority said Wednesday, as soldiers surrounded the facility — one of the country’s many overburdened and understaffed jails. Inmates went to war armed with guns and grenades on Tuesday at the Guayaquil prison complex: a clash between prisoners believed to be linked to Mexican […]

24 dead, 42 wounded in Ecuador prison fight: police

QUITO, Ecuador (AFP) — At least 24 prisoners were killed and another 42 wounded in a fight between armed inmates in an Ecuador prison in Guayaquil, police said Tuesday. The regional police commander, General Fausto Buenano, confirmed the toll via the official Twitter account of the government of Guayas province. When police entered prison wing number five, where most of the violence was reported, they found the bodies of prisoners shot to death or killed […]

Argentina makes $1.9 billion debt payment to IMF

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AFP) — Argentina on Wednesday made a nearly $1.9 billion payment toward a $44 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. The payment was confirmed to AFP by Argentine officials. Argentina has received $44 billion of a $57 billion loan from the IMF arranged under former president Mauricio Macri. After taking office, his successor Alberto Fernandez refused to accept the rest of the loan. So far this year, Argentina has paid the […]

6.5 quake hits off west coast of Nicaragua: USGS

A shallow 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the west coast of Nicaragua early Wednesday, the US Geological Survey said, but there was no risk of a tsunami. The quake hit 48 miles (78 kilometers) southwest of Jiquilillo, the USGS said, revising down its initial measurement of 6.7 magnitude. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that “based on all available data there is no tsunami threat from this earthquake.” In its preliminary assessment, the USGS said: […]

Brazil’s health official tests positive for Covid-19 at UN gathering

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga tested positive for Covid-19 Tuesday after attending the UN General Assembly in New York that was inaugurated by his president, Jair Bolsonaro, according to an official statement. “The other members of the delegation have been tested and are negative,” said the official Brazilian government press release. Queiroga, who had received a Covid-19 vaccine, was the second member of Bolsonaro’s entourage to test positive for the virus […]

Brazil’s Bolsonaro going to UN meet despite being unvaccinated

  BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — Brazil’s Covid-unvaccinated President Jair Bolsonaro said Thursday he will attend next week’s United Nations conclave in New York, effectively defying city authorities who recently announced proof-of-vaccination requirements for all attending leaders and diplomats. “Next week I will be at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), where I will give an opening speech” on Tuesday, the president said during a social media broadcast. It will be “a calm speech, very objective, focused […]

At least 23 dead after bus plunges off cliff in Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AFP) — At least 23 people, including three children, were killed after a bus plunged off a cliff in central Bolivia, police and witnesses said. The bus, carrying 33 people, plummeted 400 meters (1,300 feet) down a cliff in Cochabamba state at around 11 am Monday. “I stepped on the brake and there was no brake,” said the driver, whose wife died in the accident. The dead also included three children aged […]

Climate and weather related disasters surge five-fold over 50 years, but early warnings save lives – WMO report

  Climate change and increasingly extreme weather events, have caused a surge in natural disasters over the past 50 years disproportionately impacting poorer countries, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) said on Wednesday. According to the agencies’ Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes, from 1970 to 2019, these natural hazards accounted for 50 per cent of all disasters, 45 per cent of […]

Thirty-two die as bus plunges off cliff in Peru

LIMA, Peru (AFP) — Thirty-two passengers died, including two children, and more than 20 were injured when a bus plummeted from a cliff in Peru early Tuesday, officials said, in the country’s third multiple-victim transport accident in four days. The accident happened on a narrow stretch of the Carretera Central road some 37 miles (60 kilometers) east of the capital Lima. “Unfortunately, at the moment, there are 32 dead,” said police commander Cesar Cervantes. A […]

At least 20 dead after torrential rains in Venezuela

  MÉRIDA, Venezuela (AFP) — The death toll from heavy rains that triggered mudslides and floods in western Venezuela has risen to 20, local authorities said Wednesday, with 17 other people missing. Nine states are in an “emergency” situation and more than 54,000 people have been affected by the downpours, Interior Minister Remigio Ceballos told state television. On Tuesday he warned it would continue to rain “for the next 10 days.” The hardest-hit areas are […]

Torrential rains leave 13 dead in Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — At least 13 people died in the Venezuelan Andes after heavy rains triggered mud and rock slides, local authorities said Tuesday. Several hours of downpours in the Mocoties valley, a farming region in western Merida state that attracts a lot of tourism, caused boulders to tumble down mountainsides, blocking off roads. Eleven people died in the village of Tovar and two children died in Pinto Salinas, Merida governor Ramon Guevara said. […]

Argentina starts distributing local Sputnik vaccine

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AFP) — Argentina on Thursday began distributing the first batch of more than one million doses of the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine produced domestically. The South American country announced in June that a local pharmaceutical company would manufacture the vaccine using an antigen provided by the Moscow-based maker of Sputnik. So far Laboratorios Richmond, the pharmaceutical company tasked with the effort, has produced 995,000 units of the first dose and 152,000 […]