La Señal Informativa de América Latina <![CDATA[Germany: 25 People Injured in Explosion]]> Sun, 24 Jun 2018 08:00:00 -0400 German police officials are reporting that at least 25 people have been injured after an explosion ripped through a building in the city of Wuppertal.

49 Missing in Sao Paulo Blaze Building Collapse: Firefighters

"It can currently not be ruled out that there are still other people in the building. The rescue efforts are ongoing," the police release said.

Police reports say the area where the explosion took place has been evacuated, however, the cause of the blast remains unknown and is being investigated.

Fires broke out in several sections of the housing unit resulting in the structure collapsing which made it difficult for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

Emergency services were tasked with attempting to stabilize the building to prevent it from falling down. Several persons managed to escape the ill-fated structure without aid while others were assisted by rescue service.


<![CDATA[Saudi Arabia: Women Start Driving Following Midnight Ban Lift]]> Sun, 24 Jun 2018 06:45:00 -0400 Saudi Arabian women are now allowed to drive freely after a ban was lifted a restriction on women motorists for the first time in decades.

Saudi Arabia: Several Women's Rights Activists Arrested

Women reportedly began driving in Riyadh and other several other cities soon after the ban was lifted at midnight. A television presenter, Sabika al-Dosari, said the end of the ban was “a historic moment for every Saudi woman,” before driving across the border to Bahrain.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has made several changes to the constitution in a bid to modernize the largely conservative kingdom. The lifting of the ban eliminates Saudi women's previous dependence on private chauffeurs or male relatives and the emergence of female driving schools across multiple cities

“I always knew this day would come. But it came fast. Sudden,” a talk show host and writer, Samar Almogren, said while driving across the capital. “I feel free like a bird.”

According to the consultancy firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, some three million women in Saudi Arabia are eligible to receive licenses to begin driving by 2020. Saudi Arabia had begun issuing licenses to women earlier this month.

Prince Mohammed also lifted a ban on women attending cinemas and mixed-gender concerts, after vowing to revert Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam. The removing on the driving restriction includes the Crown Prince's plan to increase the female workforce from 22% to 30% by 2030.

“To all men I say, be gentle towards women [drivers],” popular Saudi singer Mohammed Abdu posted in an online video.

<![CDATA[Corbyn: A Labour Gov't Will Recognize Palestine Statehood]]> Sun, 24 Jun 2018 04:39:00 -0400 During a trip to Palestinian refugee camps in Jordan, British opposition and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn remarked that a government under his leadership would recognize Palestine as a state.

World Refugee Day: End Wars to Halt Refugee Crisis

Corbyn declared said if he was successful in his 2022 prime minister bid he would take steps to “very early on” come to “a genuine two-state solution” to the Israeli-Palestine conflict. The Labour leader said "there is no place whatsoever for anti-Semitism in our society” but “there has to be a peace process, and there has to be a right of the Palestinian people to live in peace, as well as the right of Israel (to live in peace).”

The British politician commented that U.S. President Donald Trump's administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and moving the U.S. Embassy was a “catastrophic mistake.”

Palestine seeks to establish a state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, lands which Israel has annexed since 1967.

“I think there has to be a recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people to their own state which we as a Labour Party said we would recognize in government as a full State as part of the United Nations,” Corbyn said.

In addition to visiting Jordan's largest camp for Syrian refugees, the Labour leader viewed a solar power plant that provides about 12 hours of electricity to the camp's 80,000 residents, daily. Corbyn stated that a Labour government would also “work very, very hard to regenerate the peace process” in Syria.

“The conflict will continue, more people will die in Syria and many many more will go to refugee camps, either here in Jordan or come to Europe or elsewhere,” the British opposition leader told The Associated Press.

More than six million Syrians have fled civil war in their homeland, hundreds of thousands of which have migrated to Europe, mainly Germany.

Corbyn narrowly lost to Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservative Party in the 2017 snap elections.

<![CDATA[Live Updates: Turkey Presidential, Parliamentary Elections ]]> Sun, 24 Jun 2018 00:48:00 -0400 Some 53 million Turkish-based citizens and three million others abroad, from among the 56 million eligible voters, are expected to cast their ballots in the June 24 elections. The polls opened at 8:00 a.m. local time for the unprecedented elections which will determine, for the first time, presidential and parliamentary positions at the same time.

Turkey: Polls Prepare To Open In Pivotal Elections

Following constitutional reforms made last year, the parliamentary system will transition into an executive presidential one. The reforms will also bestow upon the newly elected president significant power such as the appoint of vice presidents, ministers and high-level officials including judges.

The presidential candidates are Muharrem Ince (Republican People's Party), Meral Aksener (Good Party), Selahattin Demirtas (Peoples' Democratic Party) and the incumbent President Tayyip Erdogan (Justice and Development Party) – who has been at the helm for the past 16 years.

If no candidate receives more than '50 percent plus one' of the votes, a second round will be held on July 8.

Polls are expected to close at 5:00 p.m. local time. 

2:47 p.m. Turkey Time:

Turkish election authorities comment on the electoral process. 

1:45 p.m. Turkey Time:

Erdogan speaks to reporters after casting his vote: ""With this election, Turkey is carrying out a democratic revolution."

2:47 p.m. Turkey Time:

1:30 p.m. Turkey Time:

Current President Erdogan cast his vote in Uskudar, Istanbul. 

1:15 p.m. Turkey Time: 

Former President Abdullah Gul cast his vote. 

11:56 a.m. Turkey Time:

Co-leader of Turkey's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Sezai Temelli casts his vote.

11:47 a.m. Turkey Time:

After voting, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said: "We exercised our right to vote and carried out our national duty. All the best to our people and our country. I hope for a peaceful, calm and brotherly election process."

11:32 a.m. Turkey Time:

Imprisoned presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas @hdpdemirtas Twitter account posted: "We have also voted from prison. I hope that everyone is going the ballot boxes to use democracy for the future of the country. I hope that the electoral process will be completed in a peaceful and calm manner. I believe the results will be very good. All the best." 

11:28 a.m. Turkey Time:

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) votes in Ankara.

11:23 a.m. Turkey Time:

Large crowds await incumbent President Tayyip Erdogan, who is expected to cast his vote within the hour. TRTWorld says the president is likely to be accompanied by the First Lady as well as possible some grandchildren. 

11:10 a.m. Turkey Time: 

TRTWorld reports that the results from the southern regions of the country will be very important and integral in deciding who becomes the next Turkish President.

11:08 a.m. Turkey Time: 

teleSUR correspondent Sergio Rodrigo reports that local print media have largely focused on the elections with titles such as "We Continue or We Finish" and "Elections of the Century."

11:01 a.m. Turkey Time:

Presidential candidate from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Muharrem Ince, cast his vote in his hometown of Yalova. Ince is the only candidate who does not lead a political party to participate in the election.

10:54 a.m. Turkey Time:

The wife of HDP’s imprisoned presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas, Basak Demirtas, earlier commented that “One vote will change much. Good days are near, democracy, peace and freedom will win,” while casting her vote in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. 

10:52 a.m. Turkey Time:

Iyi (Good) Party leader and presidential candidate, Meral Aksener, casts her vote in Istanbul.

10:48 a.m. Turkey Time:

Some voters are seen exiting a polling station after casting their ballots.

9:50 a.m. Turkey Time:

Soon after the polls were open, voters in Yalova, Turkey flocked to the polling station to cast their ballots in the crucial elections.

9:43 a.m. Turkey Time:

Earlier, voters in Istanbul, Turkey cast their vote in the snap election.

9:35 a.m. Turkey Time:

teleSUR correspondent Sergio Rodrigo is reporting that six presidential candidates and some 600 deputies will be chosen by about 60 million voters in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

9:20 a.m. Turkey Time:

According to teleSUR correspondent Sergio Rodrigo, there is visible police presence but small crowds of voters observed in the first hour of voting. However, some 90% participation is expected. 

9:20 a.m. Turkey Time:

Turkish citizens casting their ballots.

8:30 a.m. Turkey Time: 

One Turkey polling station is opened in Ankara. Social democratic candidate and head of the CHP party, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is expected to cast his vote at this location.

8:00 a.m. Turkey Time:

Polls opened in Turkey elections. 

<![CDATA[Zimbabwe President Narrowly Escapes Blast; 2 Dead, 150 Injured]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 22:12:00 -0400 Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly escaped injury when a blast exploded at a political rally on Saturday: something "exploded a few inches away from me, but it is not my time," he said.

Who's Afraid to Celebrate Robert Mugabe Day?

Although Mnangagwa escaped harm, Vice President Kembo Mohadi, his wife Constantino Chieqnga and several government ministers were injured. Two people have been reported dead and about 150 injured, after the blast. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa confirmed that at least 41 people have been severely injured.

"These are my mortal enemies and the attempts have been so many. It's not the first attempt [on] my life. I'm used to it. Six times my office has been broken into; cyanide was put in my offices so many times. I will continue," Mnangagwa remarked.

The blast came as Zimbabwe prepared to hold its first post-Mugabe presidential election on July 30, with 75-year-old Mnangagwa and 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, the main contenders.

The rally was Mnangagwa's first in Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold where the ZANU-PF party of former President Robert Mugabe and now Mnangagwa has not won a national election since 2000.

The cause of the blast is unknown and there have been no immediate claims of responsibility. The pre-election season had previously been peaceful.

"The campaign so far has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections," Mnangagwa said. "It's just an element of defeatists in the struggle of freedom. The country is peaceful."

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa expressed sympathy to the victims of the attack and called for a thorough police investigation. "Political violence of any nature from any quarter is totally unacceptable," Chamisa said.

Attempts on Mnangagwa's life have been made before, so much so that after Saturday's blast the president said he was "used to" it. At a rally last August, when Mugabe was still president, Mnangagwa was poisoned.

<![CDATA[Nicaragua: One-Year-Old Child Killed As Violent Riots Escalate]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 22:02:00 -0400 A one-year-old child and a woman were murdered on Saturday in the ongoing conflict that has plagued Nicaragua since mid-April, killing at least 170 people so far.

Nicaragua Rejects 'Partial' OAS Report, Slams 'Fake News'

The child, Teyler Leonardo Lorio Navarrete, was killed by a stray bullet during an armed attack on the Mayor's Office in Managua while police officers were removing roadblocks.

Hours later, in Masaya, armed and hooded protesters attacked the municipal Mayor's Office, killing staff member Carolina de los Angeles Collado Delgadillo.

Earlier in the day, in Managua, masked rioters armed with guns, mortars and Molotov cocktails stationed near the Rubén Dario University Campus reportedly attacked local families. Three were arrested and have been handed over to the authorities.

In a statement, the National Police called for "respect for life, public and private property, the right of people to move freely" and reiterated a commitment to "peace, security and tranquility."

National protests erupted in April after President Daniel Ortega announced plans to slash pension benefits to cover a widening social security gap.

The proposed reforms triggered demonstrations that quickly turned fatal and led to demands for his resignation.

<![CDATA[Turkey: Polls Open In Pivotal Elections]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 21:23:00 -0400 Turkey polls for the presidential and parliamentary elections opened at 8:00 a.m. local time following candidates' campaign ads and broadcasts being wrapped up. The polls are scheduled to close at 5:00 p.m. 

Turkey Elections: From Parliamentary System to Powerful Presidency

Approximately 56.39 million Turkish citizens are eligible to cast their ballots in these elections. Some 53.34 million are in Turkey while another 3.05 million will participate in the elections from abroad.

The crucial elections will choose the direction of the country, and be the first time presidential and parliamentary elections are held at the same time. This is in line with constitutional reforms made last year, transforming the previous parliamentary system to an executive presidential one.

The elected president will be significantly more powerful: able to appoint vice presidents, ministers and high-level officials and judges. The power of cabinet and parliament, which have held most of the executive and legislative authority for decades, will decrease.

Presidential candidates are Muharrem Ince (Republican People's Party); Meral Aksener (Good Party); Selahattin Demirtas (Peoples' Democratic Party), and current President Tayyip Erdogan (Justice and Development Party).  If no candidate receives more than '50 percent plus one' of the votes, a second round will be held on July 8. 

Ince is the main challenger to incumbent Erdogan, who has led Turkey for the past 16 years. A former schoolteacher, Ince has managed to attract support from beyond the Republican People's Party's traditional base. 

The Justice and Development Party joined forces with right-wing Nationalist Movement Party to create the 'People's Alliance' bloc.

An opposition alliance formed by the right-wing Good Party, conservative Felicity Party and center-right Democrat Party is challenging the People's Alliance with the Nation Alliance. Alliances were previously banned under the old constitutional system.

Overshadowing the elections is the coup attempt of 2016, which resulted in a crackdown on military and state officials who were believed to have orchestrated the plot.

An economic slowdown since the coup and increased pressure from Western governments has pushed Erdogan increasingly toward alternative alliances, such as Russia and China.

Ince has managed to take advantage of the economic downturn and fears over what critics say is Erdogan's consolidation of power, to build a strong electoral challenge.

The vote is expected to be close, however, and voting will continue to a second round if no clear winner emerges.

<![CDATA[Paraguay's Faithful Celebrate First Female Beatification  ]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 21:17:00 -0400 Paraguay has formally beatified a woman for the first time in a huge ceremony honoring Carmelite nun Maria Felicia de Jesus Sacramentado, better known as 'Chiquitunga.'

Catholics Celebrate First Beatification of Paraguayan Woman

Thousands gathered on Saturday in the Pablo Rojas stadium in the capital, Asunsion, for a mass presided over by Cardinal Angelo Amato, special envoy of Pope Francis and prefect for the Congregation of the Cause of Saints.

Cardinal Amato read aloud a biography of Chiquitunga, saying: "She was a person who responded 100 percent to the call of her baptism and her faith was solid. 

"The witnesses speak of an immense, convinced, expansive faith that manifested daily in her obedience, her exquisite charity and in asking for forgiveness for her own mistakes and those of others."

Among the attendees was 15-year-old Angel Ramon Dominguez, whose miraculous 'resurrection' was considered one of the main grounds for the nun's beatification.

Dominguez was stillborn in August 2002 and the attending obstetrician, Blanca Duarte, appealed directly to Chiquitunga for help.
"I asked 'Chiqui' for intervention; I asked for mercy for the baby's deaf-mute parents and that they could have him (their son) in their arms," Duarte said. "I did not know how I was going to explain to his parents that their son had been born without life."

Thirty minutes later, Angel having already been declared dead, "the baby took a deep breath and his heart began to beat with all its rhythm, and I became aware that this baby was alive through the intersection of Chiquitunga," the doctor said.

Born on January 2, 1925, Maria Felicia Guggiari Echeverria joined Catholic Action at the age of 16. At 30, she joined the Carmelitas Descalzas as a nun, where she was renamed María Felicia de Jesus Sacramentado, but died of hepatitis four years later in 1959.

Cardinal Amato said Chiquitunga – so-called because of her small stature – "was always available to collaborate, help, for harmony." Because of her willingness to help the elderly, the poor and the sick, "some witnesses compare her with Mother Teresa of Calcutta."


<![CDATA[Over 700 African Migrants Rescued In Makeshift Boats Near Spain]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 18:54:00 -0400 The Spanish Coast Guard has rescued another 769 people migrating across the Mediterranean Sea from Sub-Saharan Africa in dinghies, wooden rafts and canoes, many in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Over 220 Migrants Drowned Near Libya This Week: UN Report

Last week, Spain accepted 630 people rescued on the aid ship Aquarius after it was refused entry by Italian ports. In response to criticism, Italian authorities simply reiterated that its ports would be closed to aid vessels carrying rescued migrants.

Most of the rescued leave from Libya, where traffickers help them board makeshift boats to embark on the dangerous journey to Europe. Ships regularly capsize, and it is unknown exactly how many people have drowned in the process.

Spain has taken a softer approach to immigrants arriving from Africa, since the new center-left government of Pedro Sanchez came to power.

Italy, on the other hand, has cracked down on arrivals. Italian far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said migrants would only see Italy "on a postcard."

Italy on Saturday said "arrogant" France risked becoming its "No.1 enemy" on immigration issues, a day before European leaders convene in Brussels for a hastily arranged meeting on the topic.

<![CDATA[Colombia's Duque Commits to Pressure Venezuela With Mike Pence]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 17:49:00 -0400 President-Elect Ivan Duque of Colombia has held a phone conversation with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, during which the pair reportedly discussed ways to ramp up the drug war and committed to applying pressure on Venezuela.

Colombia: Duque Torpedoes Peace Before Taking Office

"Spoke with President-Elect Ivan Duque of Colombia today, stressing the need to move decisively to cut drug production and trafficking. We discussed the humanitarian crisis and authoritarian conditions in Venezuela and committed to continue to press for the restoration of democracy," Pence tweeted late Friday.

Duque tweeted that the call was "friendly" and also focused primarily on "security" and the strengthening of comercial ties between the United States and Colombia.

"This is the beginning of a relationship that I hope can continue to grow, and increase cooperation with the United States," Duque said in a video posted to social media.

Duque was elected on the ticket of the far-right Centro Democratico party founded by former president Alvaro Uribe, who's under investigation for ties to paramilitaries and whose terms in office triggered the heightened militarization of Colombia and a spike in the killings of social leaders.

Duque has long been an outspoken critic of the peace process between the Colombian government under current President Juan Manuel Santos and the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombiaa (FARC).

Colombia also recently became an affiliate member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

<![CDATA[Ecuador Slams Colombia's Handling Of Murdered El Comercio Staff]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 17:12:00 -0400 Efforts to formally identify bodies believed to be those of the three El Comercio newspaper staff murdered by a Colombian armed group in April are continuing after Ecuador accused Colombia of releasing unverified information.

Colombia Identifies Bodies Of Murdered El Comercio Staff

On Friday, Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maria Angela Holguin told reporters she had contacted the chancellor of Ecuador, where El Comercio is based, to confirm the bodies had been found.

But on Saturday, Colombia's National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences said dental charts weren't enough to fully identify the remains and DNA tests must now be carried out.

"It is reported that after the necropsy, the dental chart is totally insufficient to grant the full identity of the corpses found in rural area of Tumaco," the institute said on its Twitter account.


Jairo Silva, director of Legal Medicine in the city of Cali, said: "There is no reliable, complete and scientifically identifiable identification of the bodies. The confirmation of the identity will be obtained only after the genetic tests."

Ecuador has written to Colombia's Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin, criticizing officials for "advancing forensic information without full scientific verification" and calling for those responsible to be sanctioned.

Relatives of El Comercio journalist Javier Ortega, photographer Paul Rivas and driver Efrain Segarra have asked the governments of Ecuador and Colombia to better coordinate their efforts.

"We demand that both countries show coordination," they said in a statement. "It's unheard of that Twitter is the communication channel of two governments in such a delicate matter. Paul, Javier and Efrain deserve better than a tweet."

<![CDATA[Mexico: Court Disqualifies 15 Election Candidates Who Pretended to be Trans to Meet Gender Quota]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 14:44:00 -0400 Mexico's electoral court has decided to disqualify 15 local government candidates, who were pretending to traditional Muxes in Oaxaca, after ruling their attempted to use gender fluid characters to qualify under a gender quota rule amounted to fraud.

Mexico: Attacks Against Journalists Spiral As Election Nears

“In order to avoid a fraud against the principle of gender parity, the court has decided to annul 15 of the 17 candidacies to the council in several municipalities of Oaxaca,” the court announced through an official statement.

The ruling was issued after Muxe, Mexico's third gender, organizations in Oaxaca reported that 17 male candidates from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), Citizen Movement, New Alliance, and the Democratic Revolutionary parties were pretending to be Muxes to meet a gender quota.

In Oaxaca, especially in the city of Juchitan, Muxes are recognized as a third gender. They are Indigenous people who are born with male genitalia but dress as women and have "assumed their social roles." They have existed since pre-hispanic times, and are often raised from an early age to become Muxes.

In Oaxaca, electoral norms establish parties must present the same number of male and female candidates in local elections. By pretending to be Muxes, the male candidates attempted to take the over spots that had to be reserved for women.

Mexico’s national electoral court approved only two Muxe candidates, Santos Cruz and Yhair Hernandez.

Mexicans will elect a new president, legislators, and local authorities on July 1.

<![CDATA[Hazard, Lukaku Score as Belgium Thump Tunisia 5-2, Advance to World Cup Knockout Phase]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 13:17:00 -0400 Two goals each for Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard helped Belgium to a 5-2 thrashing of Tunisia Saturday that showcased their attacking verve, star quality and put them firmly on course for the World Cup knockout phase.


A World Cup Without Immigrants? Here's What Your Favourite Teams Would Look Like Without Them

Michy Batshuayi came off the bench to add a late fifth but it was by no means all plain sailing for Roberto Martinez's side, and they will be aware that they will need to tighten up at the back considerably if they are to finally make a push to a major tournament summit after so many false dawns.

Despite topping Group G with six points and a goal difference of plus-six, there is still the slimmest of chances Belgium might yet not qualify, though even a heavy defeat in their final game against England would be extremely unlikely to derail them.

An English victory over Panama Sunday would send England and Belgium through while a draw would be enough to confirm Belgium's progress.

England have three points, with Panama and Tunisia on nought. Tunisia, also without a point after two matches having extended their 40-year World Cup winless run to 13 games, are also still in with a theoretical chance of making it on through three points - for a day at least.

"It's not easy to score that amount of goals in two games," said Martinez, as his team impressively followed up their 3-0 opening win over Panama and helped Russia 2018 set a World Cup record for 27 tournament games without a goalless draw.

"We had to suffer in spells, but when we were in full flow going forward, we look really sharp. On top, you have the talent and the quality, but since we came together, it's been a joy to see a group of players working so hard."

Martinez said Lukaku and Hazard, who were withdrawn in the second half, and midfielder Dries Mertens had slight injuries and could be among a series of changes for the England game.

<![CDATA[Ecuador’s Teatro Sucre Pays Homage to Kichwa Culture with the Magic Flute of the Andes]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 13:03:00 -0400 Ecuador’s Teatro Sucre has thrilled music lovers in Ecuador with an Andean rendition of Mozart’s last opera, The Magic Flute, in a beautiful tribute to Indigenous cultures this past week.

Bolivia's Cholitas Showcase Indigenous Culture in Art And Sports

The Magic Flute of the Andes has been in the works for over two years after the theater’s director Chia Patiño contacted Segundo Condor, an Ecuadorean musician, and composer who in 2008 embarked on the task of transcribing Mozart's melodies and harmonies, created for a European orchestra, for the Andean Instruments Orchestra.

Almost 40 musicians interpret Mozart’s opera with charangos (a small Andean stringed instrument), sikus (Andean panpipes), flutes, and Andean drums.

Condor passed away a couple of years ago, so he was unable to accompany the opera’s production process.

Musical director Carmen Helena Téllez said in a recent interview “what I did was to reorder (Condor’s) work based on the master's guidelines. Polyphony and harmony have been respected: Mozart lovers will listen to Mozart. What differs is the Andean sonority.”

The opera also required translation from German to Spanish and Kichwa.

Kichwa is one of Ecuador’s official languages, predominantly spoken by the country’s indigenous population of the Andes and some parts of the Amazon.

Mestizos rarely speak it, and until recently it was regarded as an inferior language. It was not until the 2008 Constitution that Kichwa was recognized as an official language in Ecuador.  

By exposing a predominantly mestizo and middle-upper class audience to Kichwa words and phrases, the Magic Flute of the Andes is also pedagogical exercise.

Spectators not only learned that amauta is a teacher, or that inti is kichwa for sun, but they also got a glimpse into the myths and stories that shape Kichwa values.  

Prince Tamino, the hero, becomes the Runa (kichwa word for human being) Auki. The sorcerer Sarastro, a sovereign who rules through wisdom and reason, becomes a spiritual leader named Inti who urges Tamino to listen and be patient to let the light rule in his heart and mind.

Inti and the Queen easily represent the light and the darkness, Hanan Pacha where the gods live, and Uku Pacha, where the dead and the unborn reside.

<![CDATA[Jamaica: Gov't Moving Apace to Develop Medical Marijuana Industry]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 11:59:00 -0400 Audley Shaw, Jamaica's Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture, and Fisheries vowed Thursday to waste no more time in guaranteeing benefits from the ever-expanding global medical cannabis or medical marijuana industry.

Uruguay: Legal Weed Yes, Weed Supply No

“Time is not on our side,” he stressed while addressing the Agricultural Technology Symposium, which was convened under the theme 'Sustained Growth in the Agriculture Sector with Science and Technology Engineering.'

The event was hosted at the Isratech Jamaica Limited Group of Companies in Jamaica's Manchester Parish and saw the participation of the Jamaica Institute of Engineers.

Shaw confirmed that he is collaborating with the Ministry of Health and the Cannabis Licensing Authority, or CLA, “to move faster and more aggressively to get up to the level of world competition.”

He said the Jamaican government, having only decriminalized the use of a maximum of two ounces of marijuana and issued a handful of licenses for processing and production, needs to step up its efforts to reap the benefits of marijuana growing and the manufacture of cannabis marijuana-based products.

Shaw warned attendees that the market is quickly developing as marijuana has been legalized in Canada and its medicinal and recreational use has been legalized in 31 states in the United States, according to the Jamaica Observer.

Apart from the marijuana industry, Shaw told participants that Jamaica's agricultural sector is vital for the country to achieve sustained, high levels of economic growth.

To ensure growth, he stressed that agriculture programmes targeting youths should be developed, as well as rationalizing idle land and seeking markets in the Caribbean Community, or Caricom.

<![CDATA[Armed Groups Have Threatened, Denied Free Movement to Indigenous Families in Northern Colombia: UN]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 11:56:00 -0400 Clashes between armed groups in the northeastern Choco department in Colombia have forced over 1,500 Indigenous Colombians into confinement according to the United Nations.

Colombia: Duque Torpedoes Peace Before Taking Office

“For a month, approximately, territorial disputes between armed group linked to organized crime and non-state armed groups… have caused the confinement of at least 1,548 people who belong to six Indigenous communities,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in a public statement Friday.

The organization estimated that 331 families of the Embera ethnicity in the municipality of Nuqui remain isolated due to “threats against the community… and the risk of recruitment of minors.”

The right to freedom of movement of the members of these communities, along with others in the Choco area, have been severely affected. With the Colombian state virtually unable to provide humanitarian aid due to security concerns.   

UNOCHA also issued a warning saying the situation could lead to “massive displacement.”

Reports say that the National Liberation Army (ELN), which is engaged in peace talks with the Colombian government, and the narco-paramilitary group known as the Gulf Clan are present in the Choco area.

Communities are also facing shortages of staple goods due to the confrontations between armed groups seeking to take control of territories that were previously held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which abandoned armed resistance after signing a peace agreement with President Juan Manuel Santos in 2016.

Approximately 3,525 Indigenous and Afro-Colombians are facing the same situation in the municipality of Bojaya, also in the Choco department. Choco is one of Colombia's poorest departments. 

<![CDATA[US: Protest Enter 3rd Day After Police Shooting of Black Youth]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 11:20:00 -0400 Hundreds of protestors took to the streets of Pittsburgh in the United States Friday to condemn the fatal police shooting of Antwon Rose Jr, a 17-year-old Black youth.

London Police Kill Young Black Man During Arrest

“Three shots in the back. How do you justify that?” they chanted, according to media reports. They also repeated segments of a poem Rose wrote for his honors award he received in his High School English Class two years ago.

"I am confused and afraid / I wonder what path I will take / I hear that there's only two ways out / I see mothers bury their sons / I want my mom to never feel that pain. I am confused and afraid / I pretend all is fine / I feel like I'm suffocating / I touch nothing so I believe all is fine / I worry that it isn't though / I cry no more / I am confused and afraid / I understand people believe I am just a statistic / I say to them I'm different / I dream of life getting easier / I try my best to make my dream come true / I hope that it does / I am confused and afraid/," the poem read.

Michael Rosfeld, the police officer, at the center of the incident pulled over Rosfeld's vehicle, which believed was involved in a nearby shooting according to the police. Rose, who was inside the car, fled emerged unarmed but was still shot.

Lee Merritt, an attorney representing the family of Rose, said: “these facts, without more, simply leave little room to justify the use of deadly force by this officer.”

Rosfeld confessed to local media outlets that he had been officially sworn in as a member of the East Pittsburgh police department on the night he killed Rose Jr.

Video of the deadly shooting has surfaced online. Tom Wolf, the governor of the state of Pennsylvania, said “the video of this incident is deeply disturbing. Like in all police-involved shootings, there must be a thorough, swift and transparent review and investigation of his (Rose Jr.) death."

Black activists and community organizers have described Rose's death as another example of institutionalized racism.

The Washington Post's Fatal Force database reveals that at least 495 people have been killed by police this year alone. Last year it reported that over 980 people were killed.

While the Guardian explained that despite African-Americans making up approximately 12 percent of the total U.S. population, they represented nearly a quarter of the 1,090 people killed by U.S. police forces in 2016.

<![CDATA[Mexico Build Momentum, Korea to the Sword in Second World Cup Win]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 10:57:00 -0400

Mexico built on the momentum from their stunning opening victory over world champions Germany by comprehensively beating South Korea 2-1 Saturday and taking a giant leap towards reaching the last-16 of a World Cup.


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Carlos Vela smashed them into the lead from the penalty spot in the 26th minute at Rostov Arena, which had been taken over by Mexico's sea of fanatical supporters.

All-time top scorer Javier Hernandez sealed victory in the second half, finishing off an unstoppable move from breakout player Hirving Lozano.

The goal was Hernandez's fourth strike at a World Cup and took him level with Luis Hernandez as Mexico's leading scorer in football biggest competition.

Korea's talismanic forward Son Heung-min struck a scorching consolation goal in injury time from outside the area.

Mexico will clinch their place in the next round if Germany fails to beat Sweden in the other Group F game.

The hapless Koreans, who have no points after two games and have only won one of their last 11 World Cup fixtures, will be eliminated if Sweden draws or win against Germany.

As the game kicked off Mexico fans sang 'We are the home team' and with green shirts dotted all over the stadium and rousing chants of 'Ole!' bellowing around the arena every time their side passed the ball, it was hard to disagree.

Conditioned by the dry heat that has been a feature of every game at the Rostov Arena, Mexico did not quite have the same thrust and energy as against Germany although they still controlled most of the play and looked far more dangerous.

Korea saw improvement from their opening defeat to Sweden although their main tactic consisted of searching for Son Heung-min with long balls behind the defensive line.

The closest they came to scoring was with a header from a corner which Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa tipped over the bar.

Mexico's breakthrough came when a stray arm blocked captain Andres Guardado's cross from Korean defender Jang Hyun-soo, and Vela kept his nerve from the spot, sending goalkeeper Cho Hyeon-woo the wrong way and blasting down the middle.

Lozano proved a constant threat to Korea whenever he came darting down either wing, blasting over in the first half and later having a goalbound shot blocked by opposing captain Ki Sung-Yeung.

His remarkable pace punished Korea, catching them out on the break, allowing Hernandez to finish them off.

<![CDATA[Brazil: Hundreds Take to Streets of Rio De Janeiro to Demand Decriminalization of Abortion]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 10:20:00 -0400 Hundreds of women in Brazil marched in the streets of Rio de Janeiro Friday to demand authorities take steps to decriminalize abortion and allow women to have safe access to them.

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“The rich have abortions, the poor die,” one protester's sign said.

“A woman should not be forced to be a mother,” Tina Tigri, a producer of cultural events who has two children and participated in the protest said. “We just want it (abortion) to be legal, safe, in a hospital.”

According to experts, between 400,000 and 800,000 women have abortions every year in Brazil, the vast majority of them, however, take place under unsafe conditions exacerbated by the procedures illegality.

Friday's march, which many believe was inspired by the women’s movement in Argentina where the lower chamber of Congress approved a bill legalizing elective abortions, is one of many seen across Latin America and the Caribbean in recent weeks.

Supporters of the women's and reproductive rights weren't; however, the only ones inspired by the success of the Argentine women's movement. On June 19, anti-choice activists gathered in front of the Congress, in Brasilia, to reject abortion and what they have called “judicial activism.” The action was in response to a debate in front of the country's Supreme Court, which is reviewing a request by the Socialism and Freedom Party to invalidate article 124 and 126 of the penal code, which criminalizes abortion.

The movement Brazil Without Abortion has argued Congress, and not the courts, should legislate. They are also seeking to pass an amendment to the Brazilian constitution that would "defend life at conception."

Brazil like most of Latin America has a large population of Catholics, and a growing population of Evangelical Christians, many persons from both groups oppose the decriminalization of abortions.

According to pro-choice activists, the debate is not on state support for abortions but rather on the need to recognize a public health problem caused by the criminalization of abortion.

Currently, abortions are legal in Brazil only when the mother’s life is in danger, in cases of rape, and when the fetus has anencephaly. On August 6 Brazil’s Supreme Court will hold a public hearing to discuss the decriminalization of abortion within the first trimester.  

<![CDATA[Brazil: Transwoman Beaten to Death by Pro Footballer]]> Sat, 23 Jun 2018 09:28:00 -0400 Thalia Costa Barbosa, a 33-year-old transwoman, was found dead, with signs of being assaulted, in the Brazilian municipality of Sao Borja, Rio Grande do Sul, near the bank of the Uruguaia River on June 21.

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The primary suspect, according to the chief of police Marcos Viana, is Douglas Gluszszak, a 22-year-old professional footballer who plays for the second division team Sao Borja Sporting Association.

Viana said that Gluszszak confessed to the crime, saying that he maintained a relationship with Costa Barbosa over the past two weeks and that, “over the past few days, started to receive threats from the victim.”

Those threats allegedly included publishing “photos of him with her on social media,” Viana said.

He went on to note that police investigators are still unsure “how he killed the victim, but there are marks on her face which appear to have come from a sharp object as if it were a bottle. We'll only know for sure after forensic review.”

Sao Borja Sporting Association's sports director, Eduardo Rocha Santos, described Gluszszak as a “disciplined sportsman.” He said the athlete “always participated in training sessions,” that the team “never had problems with him,” and that he had “excellent relationships with his fellow teammates. His imprisonment comes as a big surprise for the whole team.”

The National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals reported 179 murders of transgender people in Brazil in 2017, the highest rate in the last decade. The number also places the South American country as a global leader in this type of crime.