South America

WHO chief ‘confident’ Olympics will be safe despite Zika

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) — The head of the World Health Organization said Tuesday she is confident Brazil can host the Rio Olympics safely despite the Zika threat, though she warned of a long battle against the mosquito-borne virus. Margaret Chan, who was in Brazil for a 48-hour visit, praised the Brazilian government’s efforts to stamp out mosquitoes and its coordination with various international bodies, including the WHO and the International Olympic Movement, ahead of the Games’ kick-off […]

Six die as protesters burn Bolivian government office

EL ALTO, Bolivia (Reuters) — Six local government workers died of asphyxiation in the Bolivian city of El Alto after a group of protesters occupied and set fire to the municipal offices on Wednesday (February 17), El Alto’s local government said. The municipal government of El Alto – a fast-growing satellite city of La Paz – said in a statement that six of its workers had died after the violent occupation of their offices by […]

Venezuela devalues bolivar, raises fuel price amid crisis

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Wednesday (February 17) devalued the currency and raised heavily subsidized fuel prices in an effort to stem a widening economic crisis, though critics of the socialist leader quickly dismissed the moves as insufficient. The measures are meant to help shore up the OPEC nation’s finances as plummeting oil prices and a collapsing state-led economic model have left the country with a severe recession, triple-digit inflation and […]

Fighting terrorism is still main job of DHS, says official

CCTV — U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson said on Thursday that the United States continues to step up its efforts to stop terrorism at airports, ports and on social media. He made the remarks at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C. where he answered questions following his State of Homeland Security address and emphasized that active shooter training is one of the best ways to protect U.S. citizens against self-radicalized terrorists, who […]

Fish, other mosquitoes now warriors in Zika battle

SAN DIEGO, El Salvador (AFP) — With larva-chomping fish and genetically modified insects, Latin Americans are deploying legions of little helpers to destroy mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus in the world’s latest mass health scare. Scientists are devising numerous ways to try and stamp out the mosquitoes whose bites spread the virus, which they suspect can cause brain damage in babies and paralysis in adults. Some want to wipe out baby mosquito larvae in standing […]

Strong 6.3-magnitude quake shakes Chile

SANTIAGO, Chile (AFP) — A strong 6.3-magnitude earthquake jolted central Chile on Tuesday, though there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage to property, the US Geological Survey reported. The quake struck at 7:33 pm (0033 GMT Wednesday) 326 kilometers (203 miles) north-northwest of Santiago, according to USGS. It had a depth of 31.5 kilometers. The quake’s strength and depth however were not powerful enough for a tsunami alert to be issued, the navy’s Water and […]

More than 3,100 pregnant women in Colombia have Zika virus -gov’t

  (Reuters) — More than 3,100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday (February 6), as the disease continues its rapid spread across the Americas. The virus has been linked to the devastating birth defect microcephaly, which prevents fetus’ brains from developing properly. There is no vaccine or treatment. There are so far no recorded cases of Zika-linked microcephaly in Colombia, Santos said. “Today, there […]

Colombia confirms first three Zika deaths

(Reuters) — Colombia’s Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed the first three deaths from the Zika virus at a press conference. “We have studied six suspected cases, and have confirmed three of them to be caused by the Zika virus. These three deaths are the first ones confirmed by us; other cases are still under review,” said Martha Lucia, director of National Health Institute. The three cases include one man and one woman who died […]

Unsanitary conditions in slums provide breeding grounds for mosquitos spreading Zika virus

Unsanitary conditions in Brazil’s slum areas are provided potential breeding grounds for Aedes mosquitoes that can transmit viruses including Zika and dengue. In the city of Recife, capital of the northeastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, ditches are found with waste water and even other garbage discharged by local residents, with foul smells given out from time to time. Algae and weeds have grown in the water, and rat carcasses as well as other floating garbage […]

Scuffles in Ecuador as pro-Kurdish protesters turn out against Erdogan

Violent scenes in Ecuador’s capital of Quito on Thursday (February 04) as Kurdish supporters turned out to protest Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is in the South American country on an official visit. The protest started out peacefully outside the country’s National Higher Studies Institute before Erdogan was due to arrive. Security was high with police and soldiers trying to keep back protesters. Scuffles later erupted when some protesters found their way into the […]

Turkey’s Erdogan and Peru’s Humala sign bilateral accords

TURKISH President Tayyip Erdogan and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala signed bilateral accords on Tuesday (February 2) to increase bilateral economic and social cooperation. Accompanied by Peruvian Foreign Minister Ana Maria Sanchez and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, the two presidents held a private meeting at the Salon de Embajadores (Ambassadors’ Hall) in the presidential palace. The foreign ministers signed bilateral agreements for cooperation among the two countries’ Chambers of Commerce and official news agencies. The agreements […]

Ecuadorian and Venezuelan FMs meet opposition as President Martelly’s term nears end with no successor

Representing CELAC (The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan foreign ministers met with opposition parties on Tuesday (February 02) as the international community seeks to resolve political deadlock in the Caribbean nation after presidential elections were cancelled late last month amidst violence and accusations of fraud. Government supporters took to the streets as Haiti’s opposition rejected a proposal by outgoing President Michel Martelly to form a temporary government to organise […]