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Last update: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 09am

South America

World - South America

In Cuba, French minister defends Castro SANTIAGO DE CUBA: French Environment Minister Segolene Royal, representing her government at a tribute for Fidel Castro in Cuba, defended the late communist leader's human rights record on Saturday, questioning whether the regime imprisons dissidents.The former socialist presidential candidate called Castro a "monument of history" and a "symbol of a very deep friendship between Cuba and France."She spoke to reporters in Santiago de Cuba before a massive rally in the eastern city on late Saturday. Castro will be buried at the city cemetery on Sunday."Thanks to Fidel Castro, Cubans reclaimed their territory, their lives, their destiny. They were inspired by the French revolution without experiencing the terror that took place during the French revolution," she said.Asked about the human rights violations denounced by the United Nations and dissidents, Royal said the island had "religious freedom" and "freedom of conscience.""There is a lot of disinformation," said the number three official of French President Francois Hollande's government.Acknowledging that there are "always positive and negative" moments in history, ...

World - South America

Massive funeral set for Brazil football team killed in crash CHAPECÓ: The bodies of 50 players, coaches and staff from a Brazilian football team tragically wiped out in a plane crash in Colombia arrived home Saturday for a massive funeral.Fireworks lit up the sky over the stadium in Chapeco as two Brazilian Air Force planes transporting the team's coffins touched down at the southern city's airport in pouring rain.The coffins, draped in the green flag of the club, Chapecoense Real, were unloaded onto a red carpet under military escort as victims' ...

World - South America

South American economic bloc suspends Venezuela RIO DE JANEIRO: The key South American economic bloc Mercosur has suspended crisis-hit Venezuela for failing to meet democratic and trade standards, a government source in member country Brazil said Thursday.Member countries Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay have informed Venezuela that its rights as a member "are suspended," the source, who asked not to be named, told AFP.Mercosur members had already threatened to suspend Venezuela because it has failed to incorporate key Mercosur accords into its national law.The bloc's leaders said last week ...

World - South America

5.5 magnitude quake damages homes in southeast Peru LIMA: A 5.5 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Peru on Thursday, damaging some homes and roads but causing no casualties, the National Civil Defense Institute (INDECI) said.The quake in the Puno region hit at 5:40 pm local time (2240 GMT), its epicenter 58 kilometers (36 miles) from the town of Lampa and at a depth of 30 kilometers, according to the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP)."Eight collapsed homes are reported in Lampa and 40 affected in the Paratia district. People are located ...

World - South America

Football team  LA PAZ: The plane that crashed in Colombia killing 71 people including Brazilian footballers had skipped a scheduled refueling stop, media quoted a representative of the Bolivian airline as saying Wednesday."The plane should have refueled in Bogota," but instead bypassed the Colombian capital and headed straight for its destination Medellin, Gustavo Vargas, a representative of airline LAMIA, was quoted as saying in Bolivian newspaper Pagina Siete."The pilot was the one who took the decision not to enter (into Bogota for refueling), because ...

World - South America

Brazil BRASILIA: Brazil's President Michel Temer, together with congressional leaders, vowed on Sunday to block any attempt by legislators to grant themselves a corruption amnesty as he sought to defuse a series of scandals.In a rare weekend news conference, the president sought to reassure Brazilians that he is fighting corruption among the political elite and working to restore an economy that he predicted will see an upturn in the second quarter of 2017.Temer -- a center-right ...

World - South America

Colombia FARC leader says will support 2018 president who backs peace BOGOTA: Colombia's Marxist FARC will support a presidential candidate in 2018 to prevent a peace accord being modified or scrapped, rebel leader Rodrigo Londono said on Friday, an apparent bid to block former President Alvaro Uribe's right-wing party taking office. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia signed a peace agreement with the government on Thursday, converting it into a political party that will have some weight when President Juan Manuel Santos stands down. Speaking to ...