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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 11:36 AM
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Colombia's highest court legalizes abortion up to 24 weeks

Colombia became the latest country in Latin America to expand access to abortion Monday as the nation’s Constitutional Court voted to legalize the procedure until the 24th week of pregnancy.

The decision by the tribunal of nine judges fell short of the expectations of pro-choice groups that had been pushing for abortion to be completely decriminalized in Colombia.

But it was nevertheless described as a historic event by women’s rights groups, which estimate 400,000 women get clandestine abortions in the country each year.

Before the ruling, Colombia allowed abortions only when a woman’s life was in danger, a fetus had malformations or a pregnancy resulted from rape.

At: https://www.thaipbsworld.com/colombias-highest-court-legalizes-abortion-up-to-24-weeks/

Women's rights supporters celebrate today's Colombian Supreme Court ruling in Bogotá, which decriminalize abortion up to 24 weeks.

The ruling makes Colombia the 5th Latin American nation to broadly legalize the procedure, after Cuba, Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico - together, three in eight Latin American women.

State police raid home of top Michigan Republicans amid disturbing allegations

On Tuesday, reports came out of Michigan that the home of Republican Lee Chatfield’s former chief of staff was searched by state police.

Rob Minard served under Chatfield, 33, while the latter was speaker of the Michigan House (2019-21). Minard’s wife, Anne Minard, was a longtime Chatfield adviser and treasurer.

State police told reporters that this search was a part of an "ongoing investigation.”

The Detroit News reports that Chatfield’s position at the top of the Michigan GOP developed out of his prolificacy as a fundraiser in the Wolverine State legislature. The large amounts of money Chatfield moved around seem to be the subject of the investigation that led to Tuesday’s raid.

“Political accounts tied to Chatfield directed at least $900,000 in campaign and nonprofit funds to family members, legislative staffers, and organizations they led for wages and consulting fees.”

But it probably gets worse; anyone following Chatfield’s recent media coverage will know that this speculation about financial hokey pokey is the least of his problems.

At: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2022/2/15/2080486/-State-police-raid-home-of-top-Michigan-Republicans-amid-disturbing-allegations

Former Michigan House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R).

Rebekah Chatfield - his sister-in-law - filed a complaint against him for allegedly sexually assaulting her since she was 15.

Argentina fires rage on in Corrientes, burning an important wetland

Wildfires in Argentina's north have continued to spread through the province of Corrientes, burning more than 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres), scarring farmlands and killing protected animals and plants in the major Iberá National Park, an important wetland area.

Local and federal authorities have sent firefighters, planes, police and volunteers to fight some 15 blazes that have ripped through the region near the border with Paraguay, burning over 6% of the entire province - which has been hit by drought and high temperatures since late last year.

At: https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/argentina-fires-rage-corrientes-burning-an-important-wetland-2022-02-18/

Footage of ongoing wildfires in Corrientes Province, in NE Argentina - with neighboring Paraguay facing a similar situation.

The wildfires, among the worst in the grassland province's history, have triggered a political firestorm in Argentina - with the governor blaming federal authorities for being slow to respond.

But Environmental Monitoring Secretary Sergio Federovisky noted that "the National Fire Management Law determines that provinces are responsible for the initial response, and for soliciting federal resources."

Argentine Intelligence Agency locates 105,000 wiretaps illegally stored during Macri administration

Argentina's Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) reported the discovery of 105,000 audio files illegally archived by the agency during the right-wing administration of former President Mauricio Macri (2015-19).

The practice appeared to be in violation of the country's 2001 Intelligence Law, which allows the AFI to wiretap Argentine nationals - though only with a court order, and on condition the files be destroyed once copies are relinquished to the requesting judge.

"The files were kept even after the judges requested them," AFI Director Cristina Caamaño explained. "The judges would receive CD copies - but not the original files, which are what we found."

It remains to be determined if all 105,000 files were themselves legally obtained, given Macri's history of ordering warrantless wiretaps against public figures and relatives alike - a policy that has already earned him indictments in 2010 and 2021.

According to the complaint, the AFI wiretaps were stored by a computer program, SIDEA - to be used at appropriate times at Macri's discretion.

"Conversations were stored that in many cases were not of interest to the investigations," Caamaño noted.

One such wiretap - on Macri's predecessor and chief rival, former President Cristina Kirchner - was leaked ahead of the 2017 mid-term elections, during which she was a Senate candidate (she is now Vice President).

Caamaño likewise denounced DAJUDECO - the agency created by Macri in a 2015 decree to administer federal wiretaps - of relaying telephone conversations to the AFI by using a digital address with a point-to-point system in order to evade detection.

At: https://www-pagina12-com-ar.translate.goog/401991-espionaje-ilegal-encontraron-105-000-escuchas-guardadas-por-?_x_tr_sl=auto&_x_tr_tl=en&_x_tr_hl=en&_x_tr_pto=wapp

Former Argentine President Mauricio Macri; his head of intelligence (and erstwhile business partner) Gustavo Arribas; and Arribas' deputy (and operational head of intelligence), Silvia Majdalani.

All three are among at least 49 officials indicted since 2020 for a policy of wide-reaching - though often warrantless - surveillance against both critics and supporters.

Macri faces numerous other charges - including self-dealing in a $750 million payout to toll road operators (in which he was a shareholder), the attempted write-off of 98% of his family's Postal Service debt, and the illicit shipment of anti-riot munitions and gear to Bolivia during that country's 2019 coup.

Back to the future? The DeLorean is coming back as an all-electric sports car

DeLorean’s future is electric.

After years of rumors, one of the most iconic vehicles of the 1980s is officially coming back. Nearly 40 years after first stealing our imaginations in 1985’s Back to the Future, the DMC-12 will be reborn as an EV.

Shortly before Sunday’s Super Bowl, the DeLorean Motor Company announced its return in a 15-second video clip uploaded to its official social media accounts.

Unfortunately, the video doesn’t reveal what the EV will look like, although the teased silhouette will definitely remind you of Marty McFly’s vehicle of choice. Oh, and in case you were worried, the signature gullwing doors are along for the ride.

At: https://robbreport.com/motors/cars/delorean-motor-company-dmc-12-battery-powered-ev-1234664073/


Ivan Reitman, producer, 'Ghostbusters' director, dies at 75

Source: AP

Ivan Reitman, the influential filmmaker and producer behind many of the most beloved comedies of the late 20th century, from “Animal House” to “Ghostbusters,” has died. He was 75.

Reitman died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night at his home in Montecito, Calif., his family told The Associated Press.

Known for bawdy comedies that caught the spirit of their time, Reitman’s big break came with the raucous, college fraternity sendup “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” which he produced.

He directed Bill Murray in his first starring role in the summer camp flick “Meatballs,” and then again in 1981′s “Stripes,” but his most significant success came with 1984’s “Ghostbusters.”

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/ivan-reitman-dead-d67947aa895371cd9f5840e6e9339440

Director Ivan Reitman, 1946-2022.

Luc Montagnier, co-discoverer of HIV, dies aged 89

Source: BBC

Luc Montagnier, the French virologist credited as a co-discoverer of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has died aged 89.

Montagnier was jointly awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize for his work in isolating the virus that causes Aids.

He was lauded for this work, but later criticised for unscientific claims about autism and Covid-19.

Local news site FranceSoir reported he died on Tuesday in Neuilly-sur-Seine "surrounded by his children".

The virologist first began working on the virus in the early 1980s while at France's Pasteur Institute, a non-profit research foundation.

Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-60340504

Dr. Luc Montagnier, 1932-2022, with his Pasteur Institute colleagues and co-discoverers of HIV, Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Jean-Claude Chermann.

Laguna Beach fire: Hundreds ordered to evacuate as Emerald Bay blaze burns seven acres

A brush fire has prompted widespread evacuations in Laguna Beach, California, with thousands of residents urged to leave their homes immediately.

The fire broke out just after 4am Thursday in Emerald Bay, a gated community with the only private beach in the state.

People living in that neighborhood as well as Irvine Cove are now under immediate evacuation orders, with an evacuation warning in place in North Laguna.

“Homes are currently threatened with the possibility of more structures threatened if the fire spreads,” the City of Laguna Beach said in a statement.

The fire has since spread across seven acres, fuelled by the devastatingly dry Santa Ana winds.

The cause of the blaze has not been determined.

At: https://news.yahoo.com/laguna-beach-fire-live-hundreds-153235000.html

Threatening some of the most expensive neighborhoods in the country, the Emerald Bay fire has become the worst in Laguna Beach since 1993.

Ex-president heads into Costa Rica run-off, ex-finance minister likely awaits

Former President José María Figueres comfortably led the preliminary vote count in Sunday's Costa Rican presidential election, with former Finance Minister Rodrigo Chaves poised to defy expectations to face him in a second-round run-off.

Figueres, 67, was seen winning 27.3% of the vote based on returns from nearly three-quarters of polling stations, with economist Chaves, 60, pulling past evangelical Christián Alvarado to carve out an advantage in second with 16.6% of the tally.

At: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/costa-ricans-head-polls-largely-undecided-runoff-expected-2022-02-06/

Former Costa Rican Finance Minister Rodrigo Chaves and former President José María Figueres will face off in the Central American nation's presidential runoff on April 3rd.

Either of the two Harvard graduates - the progressive Figueres and the more conservative Chaves - will inherit an economy battered by the collapse in international tourism during the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Argentina joins China's Belt and Road initiative, eyes US$23 billion investment

Argentina’s government has confirmed that the country has signed up to China’s sweeping Belt and Road initiative, paving the way for investments worth more than US$23 billion.

The deal is expected to be finalized in the next few hours during a closely watched bilateral meeting between President Alberto Fernández and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, as part of the Argentine leader's three-day visit to Beijing.

A memorandum of understanding committing both nations to the deal has already been signed.

The news will see the two nations “sign different agreements that guarantee financing for investments and works for more than US$23.7 billion, generating a new milestone in the bilateral relationship that in the last 15 years has expanded and strengthened notably."

Xi launched BRI in 2013, aiming to harness China's strengths in financing and infrastructure construction to "build a broad community of shared interests" throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America.

At: https://www.batimes.com.ar/news/argentina/argentina-joins-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative-eyes-us23-billion-investment.phtml

Argentine President Alberto Fernández and Chinese President Xi Jinping pose at Beijing's Great Hall of the People during a bilateral meeting today in which Fernández joined China's Belt and Road initiative.

The agreement makes up to $23.7 billion in Chinese infrastructure investment available over the next several years for the cash-strapped South American nation.

Argentina has been largely cut off from international financing since a 100 billion-dollar foreign debt bubble under Fernández's predecessor Mauricio Macri burst in April 2018.
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