South America

Venezuela opposition claims million signatures against president

by Alexander MARTINEZ CARACAS , Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuela’s opposition tried to sack the food minister Thursday for shortages in the crisis-hit country and claimed a million people backed its call for a referendum to remove the president. President Nicolas Maduro promptly rejected the demand, the latest offensive in the battle to replace the government over a crisis that has families queuing up for food rations. “We are facing the worst food emergency in Venezuela’s […]

Red tide affects thousands of molluscs along Chile’s coast

ISLA DE CHILOE, Chile (Reuters) — Thousands of molluscs, such as clams and mussels, were found stranded on the island of Chiloe, located in southern Chile, after being infected by a toxic red tide. In a statement on its website, the Chilean Navy said the molluscs were found in Playa Grande de Cucao, Huentemo and Chanquin, all islands belonging to the archipelago of Chiloe. Smaller quantities of crabs were also spotted in an area covering […]

Brazil: Zika outbreaks tops 91,000 cases

BRASILIA, Brazil (AFP) Wednesday 4/27/2016 – Brazil’s outbreak of Zika — which has been linked to the devastating microcephaly birth defect in newborns — has topped 91,000 cases, health officials said on Tuesday. Between January 3 and April 2, 91,387 suspected cases of Zika were reported, with a disproportionate share (30,286) in the poorer northeast of the country, the Health Ministry said. Three people have died of the mosquito-borne virus, it said. Despite a flurry of research, very […]

Venezuela enforces public sector leave on three weekdays

CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP) — Venezuela’s government Tuesday announced enforced leave for public sector workers from Wednesday to Friday, meaning they will only work two days a week in efforts to tackle an electricity shortage. “There will be no work in the public sector on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, except for fundamental and necessary tasks,” Vice President Aristobulo Isturiz said in a television broadcast. © 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Quake toll reaches more than 600 as aftershocks spook Ecuador

The death toll from Ecuador’s devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake rose to 602 people on Friday, as dozens of aftershocks shook cities and towns around the country, spooking residents but causing no further damage. Saturday’s quake, the worst in nearly seven decades, injured 12,492 people and left 130 missing, emergency management authorities said in a bulletin. Survivors were shaken again late on Thursday night when a powerful 6.0 magnitude quake struck off Ecuador’s coast about 100 […]

Anxious search for missing after deadly Mexico blast

by Ignacio Carvajal Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz State, Mexico (AFP) — Anguished relatives nervously awaited news of their loved ones Thursday outside a Mexican petrochemical plant where an explosion killed at least 24 people and sent toxic smoke billowing into the air. Starting at dawn, family members flocked to a military cordon set up around the plant after Wednesday’s explosion, which blew out the windows of nearby stores and homes and triggered panic among locals still haunted […]

USGS: A magnitude 6.0 earthquake strikes disaster-hit Ecuador

(Reuters) A powerful earthquake measuring 6.0 magnitude struck Ecuador on Thursday, as the country was still struggling to recover from a deadly quake that killed 587 people, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake’s epicenter was 100 km (62 miles) north-northwest of Portoviejo and at a depth of 10 km (six miles), said the USGS. A massive 7.8 magnitude quake hit Ecuador on Saturday.  

Two dead after new bike lane collapses in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) — At least two people were killed on Thursday (April 21) when part of a new cycle lane collapsed into the ocean in the Olympic city of Rio de Janeiro, the city’s fire department said. Officers from two fire stations and an airborne operations team were called into action on Thursday morning after several cyclists fell into the sea, a fire official said. The 50-meter long lane that collapsed skirted […]

Ecuador’s Correa raises death toll to 525

Hours after a 6.2 magnitude quake shook Ecuador, President Rafael Correa said on Wednesday (April 20) that the death toll was 525 from Saturday’s even bigger quake. The latest big tremor, which followed several hundred aftershocks from Saturday’s 7.8 quake, hit not far from Saturday’s quake– 25 km (15 miles) off the island of Muisne on the northwest coast at a depth of 15 km (9 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said. Correa said that, […]

Venezuela to ration electricity in power crisis

CARACAS,Venezuela (AFP) — Recession-wracked Venezuela is to ration electricity in 10 of its most populous and industrialized states, including metropolitan Caracas, the socialist government said Wednesday. It is the latest drastic measure to alleviate a severe electricity crisis which President Nicolas Maduro and his government blame on the El Nino weather phenomenon that causes drought. Critics say it’s the result of years of economic mismanagement. Luis Motta Dominguez, minister for electric power, made the announcement […]

Coffins pile up in Ecuador stadium-turned-morgue

by Santiago Piedra Silva Pedernales, Ecuador (AFP) — A hodgepodge of donated coffins in various shapes, sizes and colors is piled in a corner of the football stadium in the Ecuadoran resort town of Pedernales. The stadium has taken on an eerie new identity as a morgue in the aftermath of the country’s devastating earthquake, which killed more than 500 people. Medical examiners in white uniforms criss-cross the makeshift facility, working to identify decomposing bodies pulled […]