Bolivians unfurl massive flag in support for sea access claim

LA PAZ (Reuters) – Bolivia unfurled a nearly 200-km long (124 miles) bright blue flag on Saturday in a show of support for the landlocked country’s bid to regain sovereign access to the sea.

Tens of thousands of Bolivians held the so-called “flag of maritime revindication,” which stretched like a long ribbon along a highway in the Andes between the towns Oruro and Apacheta, on the outskirts of La Paz.

The display of patriotism aims to cheer on Bolivia’s legal team ahead of oral arguments it will deliver at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the country’s claim to sovereign access to Chile’s Pacific coast.

Bolivia lost its access to the Pacific Ocean in a late 19th century war with Chile, but maintains a navy and wants a corridor to the sea to boost its exports of natural gas and minerals.

“We’ll show the International Court of Justice and all people on the planet that our cause is just, reasonable and sound,” President Evo Morales said after flying over the flag in a helicopter.

Morales has faced street protests in recent months over his plan to seek a fourth presidential term next year, after a court eliminated term limits last year.

Bolivia and Chile will start nine days of oral arguments before the ICJ on March 19.


China urges U.S. away from “brink” as Trump picks trade weapons

BEIJING/SHANGHAI,  (Reuters) – China urged the United States yesterday to “pull back from the brink” as President Donald Trump’s plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods moved the world’s two largest economies closer to a trade war.

Ghana votes to host U.S. military; opposition boycotts vote

ACCRA, (Reuters) – Ghana’s parliament last  night ratified a deal granting “unimpeded” access to the United States to deploy troops and military equipment in the West African nation in a vote boycotted by the opposition, legislators said.

Ex-Playboy model tells CNN she ‘was in love’ with Trump

WASHINGTON,  (Reuters) – Former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who claims to have had a 10-month affair with U.S.

Zambia slaps miner First Quantum with $8 bln tax bill

VANCOUVER/LUSAKA,  (Reuters) – First Quantum Minerals said on Tuesday that Zambia’s tax agency had slapped it with 76.5 billion Zambian kwacha ($8.04 billion) bill for unpaid import duties, a potentially huge blow for the Canadian miner that earns most its profit in the southern African country.

Spain to try Catalan separatist leaders for rebellion

MADRID,  (Reuters) – Twenty-five Catalan leaders will be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state, Spain’s Supreme Court ruled on Friday, in a sharp escalation of legal action against separatists in the northeastern region.


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