Venezuela’s Maduro orders state workers to vote for assembly

CARACAS (Reuters) – With many Venezuelans angry at the government and planning to sit out a July 30 vote for a new superbody assembly, President Nicolas Maduro has ordered all state workers to take part, seeking to avoid an embarrassingly low turnout.

Brazil road protest blocks grains transport to northern ports

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Residents in Brazil’s Amazon region yesterday blocked a key way for the transport of Brazilian grains to northern ports in a protest over increased protections for the rainforest, grains industry groups said yesterday.

Aid agencies adopt war-zone ways to help Central Americans in crisis

TEPIC, Mexico (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Extreme violence in Central America is forcing aid agencies to use conflict-zone tactics to reach people most at risk in gang-plagued nations such as El Salvador and Honduras, where homicide levels are comparable to those in war, experts say.

At least 28 killed in bloody Mexican prison fight

ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) – A brutal fight broke out in a prison in the Mexican Pacific resort of Acapulco on Thursday, leaving at least 28 inmates dead in one of the worst outbreaks of violence in the country’s troubled penal system in recent years.

Venezuelan lawmakers beaten, besieged in latest violence

CARACAS (Reuters) – Pipe-wielding government supporters burst into  Venezuela’s opposition-controlled congress yesterday, witnesses said, attacking and besieging lawmakers in the latest flare-up of violence during a political crisis.

A deep racial divide in T&T, says Panday

...and it will get worse, he says

(Trinidad Express) Former prime minister Basdeo Panday believes that there is a deep racial divide in the country that is going to get worse and trigger a revolution.

Guns being smuggled into T&T via jet skis & ports

(Trinidad Express) There is a $100 million illegal gun trade in this country and some of the drugs and guns are being smuggled in via jet skis and possibly through 40 per cent of containers at the ports that are given a “green light” without any checks.

Costa Rica, Nicaragua border dispute before World Court

The Hague (Reuters) – Costa Rica asked the highest UN court yesterday to establish its maritime boundaries with Nicaragua once and for all to end repeated border disputes with its Central American neighbour.

Brazil ex-minister accused of obstructing corruption probe

(Reuters) – Brazilian police yesterday arrested former minister Geddel Vieira Lima as part of an investigation into loans that state bank Caixa Econômica Federal extended to meatpacking, finance, toll road and real estate companies between 2011 and 2013, the prosecutor-general’s office said.

State-run love motels, once a rousing success, coming back to Cuba

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba is reviving a network of state-run “love motels” in Havana where couples can rent rooms by the hour as the communist government seeks to “diversify options for love,” the official trade union weekly Trabajadores said yesterday.

Flash floods in Port of Spain

(Trinidad Express) Two weeks ago, Port of Spain was spared by Tropical Storm Bret while much of the rest of Trinidad and Tobago suffered.

UN urges Venezuela’s Maduro to uphold rule of law

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations called on Venezuela on Friday to uphold the rule of law and freedom of assembly, and criticised President Nicolas Maduro’s government for moves against the chief state prosecutor.

Amazon’s billion dollar gold rush leaves trail of toxins

PORTO VELHO, Brazil/GUAYARAMERÍN, Bolivia, (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Holding a plastic bottle of toxic mercury with his bare hands on an illegal gold mining barge in the Amazon basin, the 22-year-old miner says he is well aware of the dangers of the job.

Brazil unions protest Temer’s reforms amid political crisis

RIO DE JANEIRO,  (Reuters) – Labour unions staged a nationwide strike yesterday to protest against legislative changes to Brazil’s labour and pension laws that are central to the economic reform agenda of embattled centre-right President Michel Temer.