International roundup

International roundup

 

Landslides caused by heavy rain have killed at least 17 people in the city of Manizales, in central Colombia, officials say.

The search continues for at least seven others who are missing, they add. Mud and rocks have destroyed several precarious houses built on steep hills.

Running water, electricity and gas services have been suspended.

The landslides happened after the monthly average of rain fell in one night, the city’s mayor said.

Earlier this month, more than 300 people were killed in landslides in Mocoa, in southern Putumayo province.

President Juan Manuel Santos visited the area and said humanitarian aid was being sent.

Mr. Santos said the death toll was likely to rise as hopes were fading in the search for the missing.

The mayor of Manizales, José Octavio Cardona, said the city was cut off by “rock slides, mudslides, floods”.

On Twitter he said he would declare it a disaster zone and ask the federal government for funds to rebuild the hardest-hit areas.

VENEZUELA GAVE MILLIONS TO TRUMP

Venezuela has donated $500,000 to US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, newly released records show.

Citgo Petroleum, a US-based subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, is named in papers filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The revelation comes as the Venezuelan economy appears to be crippled by food shortages, violent crime and inflation.

Three people were killed in protests on Wednesday as tens of thousands took to the streets to demand new elections

Other major corporations named in the documents include Pepsi and Walmart, which gave $250,000 and $150,000 respectively, while owners of NFL teams or their companies gave more than $5 m.

Venezuela is in the middle of a major economic crisis, which has the oil-rich country flirting with hyperinflation.

This Wednesday, street protests demanding the resignation of President Nicolas Maduro resulted in at least two persons shot dead.

In this chaotic context, it is perhaps less surprising that Venezuelan media did not seem to dedicate much time to cover the news that their government gave, through a state-owned oil company, a US $500,000 contribution to Trump’s inauguration.

Still, some analysts in Venezuela are expressing anger at the news.

“We have been experiencing four consecutive years of recession, we have the highest inflation in the world and are facing scarcity in many basic goods. It is scandalous that Venezuela, facing such a crisis, would make those donations to the inauguration of a US president, who at least in theory, is ideologically confronted with the revolution,” Jose Manuel Puente, a professor of public policy at IESA university in Caracas, tells the BBC.

VENEZUELA TOOK OVER GM

General Motors has said its Venezuelan car plant has been seized by the government as political tension rises in the country.

Long-standing divisions in Venezuela have been brought to the fore by a deepening economic crisis.

GM said its Venezolana plant in the city of Valencia had been “unexpectedly taken by the public authorities”.

The US car giant said it would “take all legal actions” to defend its interests.

It said other assets, including vehicles, had been taken from the plant in the industrial hub of Valencia, which is one of country’s largest cities.

The car firm added that the seizure would cause irreparable damage to the company, its 2,678 workers, its 79 dealers and to its suppliers.

Venezuela’s Information Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.

At least three people were killed in protests this week against the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela’s car industry has been hit by a lack of raw materials due to currency controls and stagnant local production.

BRAZIL KEEPER FACES ARREST

Brazil’s chief prosecutor has requested the arrest of a football player released from jail after serving only part of a lengthy murder sentence.

Bruno Fernandes played as goalkeeper for Brazil’s most popular football club, Flamengo, until 2010.

He was sentenced in 2013 to 22 years in jail for ordering the murder of his former girlfriend, Eliza Samudio.

The Supreme Court will meet on Tuesday to rule on prosecutor Rodrigo Janot’s request.

The court ordered his temporary release in February on the grounds that he was appealing against the murder sentence.

Fernandes, 32, signed a contract with second division club Boa Esporte last month and has since played several matches.

He has served less than a third of his sentence, taking into the account the time he spend in prison before his trial.

His early release has angered many in Brazil, including campaigners to end violence against women.

Ms. Samudio had been demanding maintenance for their new-born child, known as Bruninho, which Fernandes refused to pay.

Friends of Fernandes confessed to abducting Ms. Samudio, strangling her, cutting her body into pieces and feeding it to dogs.

Fernandes said his friends told him of the murder, but he denied ordering her killing.

In an interview with Globo Television last month, he said he was determined to rebuild his life.

“Even if there was life imprisonment in Brazil, that wouldn’t bring the victim back,” he said.

Fernandes said he would request a DNA test to confirm whether he was Bruninho’s biological father.

The child is being brought up by Eliza Samudio’s mother, Sonia de Moura.

 

 

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