South America

Delta variant circulating in Sao Paulo: health official

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — The highly contagious coronavirus Delta variant “is already circulating” in Brazil’s most populated state, Sao Paulo, said authorities Wednesday in the country with the world’s second-highest death toll. The variant, which has boosted infection numbers even in countries with high vaccination rates, “is already indigenous, that is to say, it is already circulating in our environment in people who have not traveled or have had contact with someone who had […]

Worst June for Brazil Amazon forest fires since 2007: data

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — The Brazilian Amazon has suffered its worst June for forest fires since 2007, official data showed Thursday, indicating another devastating dry season for the world’s largest rainforest. The INPE research institute said its satellites detected 2,308 fires last month, an increase of 2.3 percent from June 2020. The previous record for the month of June was in 2007 with 3,519 fires. The grim statistic comes after May this year saw the […]

Brazil sets daily record for Covid cases, as pandemic third wave breaks

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — Brazil set a new record for Covid-19 infections on Wednesday, with 115,228 new cases identified within 24 hours, the Health Ministry said, confirming the arrival of a third wave of the pandemic. During the same period 2,392 new deaths were recorded, bringing the total to 507,109. Brazil is the second worst-hit in the world in absolute numbers of fatalities, behind the United States which has suffered more than 600,000 deaths. […]

Strong earthquake shakes Peru’s capital

LIMA, Peru (AFP) — A strong earthquake shook Lima and regions of central coastal Peru late Tuesday, with no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Peru’s Seismological Center said it was magnitude 6, while the US Geological Survey which monitors earthquakes worldwide pegged it at magnitude 5.8. It struck at 9:54 pm local time (0254 GMT Wednesday), with an epicenter 33 kilometers southwest of Mala — some 100 kilometers south of Lima — and at […]

Colombia death toll from Covid-19 tops 100,000

BOGOTA, Colombia (AFP) — Colombia’s death toll from Covid-19 passed the 100,000 mark on Monday with a new 24-hour record of almost 650 deaths, the health ministry said. After three weeks of demonstrations that have brought thousands of people into the streets to protest the government of conservative President Ivan Duque, the South American country of 50 million is suffering its worst moment since the pandemic began. It has now recorded 100,582 dead, including 648 […]

Car bomb attack at Colombian military base wounds 36

CUCUTA, Colombia (AFP) — A car bomb blast inside an army base in the Colombian city of Cucuta wounded 36 people Tuesday, officials said, blaming the attack to ELN guerillas. The initial theory is that members of the National Liberation Army (ELN), the country’s last recognized guerrilla group, were behind the attack, Defense minister Diego Molano said, as he condemned the “terrorist act.” Involvement of FARC guerrillas that refused to sign a 2016 peace agreement […]

Gasping for oxygen in Bolivian city battling Covid

by Martín SILVA COCHABAMBA, Bolivia (AFP) — The alarm in the Bolivian hospital pierced through the din of beeping life support machines and hissing ventilators — a patient lay unconscious, oblivious to the warning that his life hung by a thread. The monitor was flashing red. “Low oxygen pressure” it alerted, showing a reading of 25. “It should be 75!” doctor Daniel Quispia said as he jumps to the patient’s aid, adjusting the controls in […]

Brazil’s President Bolsonaro fined for maskless motorcyle rally

  SAO PAULO, Brazil (AFP) — Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was fined $100 Saturday for violating Covid-19 containment measures in Sao Paulo state by failing to wear a face mask and provoking huge crowds at a motorcycle rally for supporters. Thousands of roaring motorcycles took part in the “Accelerate for Christ” rally in Sao Paulo, led by the far-right president, who wore an open-faced helmet and no mask, in violation of state health regulations. Bolsonaro, […]

Puerto Rico electricity firm says hit by cyberattack and fire

MIAMI, United States (AFP) — A fire at an electrical substation in Puerto Rico left thousands of customers in the dark Thursday, shortly after the power company reported a cyberattack that it did not immediately link to the blaze. “There was a fire in a transformer at the Monacillo substation” in San Juan, Luma Energy said, two hours after it said it was the target of a DDOS, or denial of service, attack with two […]

Chile inaugurates Latin America’s first thermosolar plant

SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — Chile on Tuesday inaugurated Latin America’s first-ever thermosolar energy plant, a vast complex dubbed Cerro Dominador in the Atacama desert that gives a boost to the country’s quest for carbon-neutrality by 2050. In an area exceeding 700 hectares, 10,600 mirrors surround a 250-meter-high tower topped with a receiver onto which the Sun’s rays are reflected. Molten salts in the receiver absorb the heat and are then used to generate electricity — […]

Brazil braces for third wave of Covid-19

by Jordi MIRO BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — Already reeling from one of the highest death tolls in the pandemic, Brazil is bracing for the threat of a third wave of Covid-19, fueled by vaccination delays and a lack of containment measures. So far, each pandemic wave has been successively worse in Brazil, peaking at a weekly average of around 1,000 deaths per day in July 2020 during the first wave and 3,000 deaths per day […]

Chile limits use of AstraZeneca after clot case

SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — Chile on Thursday became the latest country to limit use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, linked to rare blood clots, when a 31-year-old man developed thrombosis after being immunized. Pending further investigation and as a “preventative and proactive measure,” the shot will in future be administered only to people 45 and over, the health ministry of the South American country said. It did not give details on the condition of the […]