A city suffocating: most polluted city in Americas struggles to change

Wood smoke smothers Coyhaique, Chile, in June and July. Yet despite the WHO ranking its air worst in the Americas, residents are reluctant to alter their habits I was born and raised beside a roaring fire, says Yasna Seguel proudly, as wet snowflakes tap against the kitchen window behind her and orange flames warm an outstretched palm. A tobacco-yellow stain soaks into the table cloth as she sets her mate gourd down to select a fresh log for the fire. Every evening through the bitterly cold winter months of June and July, the southern city of Coyhaique, the most populous in the region of Aysn in Chilean Patagonia, is smothered by a thick, fragrant blanket of damp wood smoke that …

The new drug highway: Pacific islands at centre of cocaine trafficking boom

Explosion in number of boats carrying cocaine and meth from Latin America to Australia is causing havoc for islands on the way It is the drug route youve never heard of: a multibillion-dollar operation involving cocaine and methamphetamines being packed into the hulls of sailing boats in the US and Latin America and transported to Australia via New Caledonia, whose waters and beaches are being used as storage grounds for billions of dollars worth of illicit drugs. Hundreds of kilograms of cocaine have washed up on remote Pacific beaches, ships laden with drugs have run aground on far-flung coral reefs, and locals have discovered huge caches of drugs stored in underwater nets attached to GPS beacons. Draw a direct line …

Italian mafia boss escapes from Uruguayan prison

(CNN)An Italian mafia boss has escaped from a detention center in Uruguay, where he was awaiting extradition to Italy, the Uruguayan Ministry of Interior said in a statement. Morabito was arrested in 2017 in Uruguay after more than 20 years on the run. Convicted in absentia for drug trafficking and organized-crime activities in Italy, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Up to four avocado trucks stolen in Mexican state every day

Packers and exporters took out newspaper adverts to decry situation in Michoacn, a battleground for warring crime factions Up to four trucks carrying avocados are stolen every day in the violent Mexican state of Michoacn, as organized crime groups seek to take advantage of consumers seemingly insatiable appetite for the fruit. Avocado packers and exporters took out newspaper adverts on Friday to decry a worsening security situation in the state, which has long been a battle ground for warring crime factions. The banditry has become so severe that packing plants have promised to pay growers 15 pesos a kilogram (78 cents) for any avocados stolen during the transportation. Its impossible to continue taking these losses, the advert said. Failing to …

McDonald’s investigated over racism and harassment claims in Brazil

Federal prosecutors say complaint presents worrying evidence of sexual harassment and discrimination It was a busy day at a McDonalds branch in So Paulo. Marcelo says he was struggling to keep up with demand while manning the chips and white meat stations when the shift boss called him a damned stupid blackie. Marcelo protested and said he would pursue legal action for racism. The store manager fired him the next day, according to his statement in court documents seen by the Guardian. His is one of 25 individual allegations of racism and sexual harassment found in two of Brazils 26 states, which have sparked an investigation by federal labour prosecutors against McDonalds in the country. The investigation was due to …

Venezuela: prominent journalist taken by intelligence service

Luis Carlos Daz, who went missing at about 5.30pm Monday, was taken by Sebin, fellow journalists confirmed A prominent Venezuelan journalist who had been reporting on the countrys escalating political crisis and blackout out has been seized by secret police, sparking international condemnation. #DndeEstLuisCarlos or agents raided Dazs home shortly before dawn, seizing computers and pen drives as the handcuffed journalist looked on. Daz is the notorious El Helicoide political prison. Luz Mely Reyes, being seized at his home in Caracas. A rightwing German journalist, Billy Six, has denouncing Maduros persecution of journalists. The UN Human Rights chief Michelle Bachelet a conspiratorial video on Twitter insinuating Daz was part of a rancid rightwing US-backed plot to destroy Venezuelas electricity network. …

Cubans overwhelmingly vote in favor of new constitution

(CNN)Cubans have overwhelmingly voted to approve a new constitution that enshrines the one-party system and ushers in a series of economic and social changes, according to government officials. The updated constitution was crafted with the input of ordinary Cubans, through thousands of meetings between government officials and citizens to suggest modifications to the constitution. The new document replaces the 1976 Soviet-era charter enacted under Fidel Castro. It protects private property and foreign investment, and for the first time places two five-year terms on the office of the presidency. However, following a backlash by conservative religious groups, the government backed off from language that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the constitution. A matter of patriotism The referendum was widely seen …

Her son was shot dead in front of her. And she says a policeman did it

Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN)Tires were burning in nearby streets. Tear gas was in the air. Crowds were gathering. So Pricil Journal told her son Roberto to hide the wheelbarrow they used as a cookie stall outside the general hospital. “When he was done killing my son…That cop then swapped guns with another nearby cop – and he then went to hide inside the hospital,” she said in an interview with CNN. She alleged that the riot policeman who killed her son covered his face and pulled down a visor on his helmet. She said that there were numerous witnesses to the alleged killing by a policeman on the scene. She said that she’s not reported the crime, because she fears retribution …

Venezuela’s Maduro says Trump making mistakes that will ‘stain his hands with blood’

Bogota, Colombia (CNN)Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro has warned US President Donald Trump that he risks staining “his hands with blood” should he pursue military action in the crisis-hit South American nation. Maduro has faced intense pressure since Guaido’s declaration last month, with the US upping sanctions on Venezuela and a number of Washington’s allies recognizing the previously largely unknown opposition leader as the country’s President. Despite the pressure, however, Maduro showed no signs of slipping, and the opposition has appeared at times to be on the back foot. On Sunday, Guaido called on the Venezuelan military — which has so far been loyal to the government — to permit aid into the country from neighboring Colombia and Brazil, both of …