Alleged US spy charged
Chief prosecutor Tarek Saab on Monday announced charges of terrorism and weapons trafficking against alleged US “spy,” Matthew John Heath, who was detained last week. Saab said Heath was plotting attacks against the nation’s oil industry and electricity system. He also claimed that Health was carrying a “coin” linking him to the CIA. Three local citizens, including one member of the military, were also charged with treason as part of the plot, Saab said.
Lula faces new charge
Car Wash corruption investigation prosecutors on Monday charged former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with money laundering. Prosecutors said Lula received bribes from construction giant Odebrecht disguised as donations to the institute that carries his name between December 2013 and March 2014 in exchange for granting contracts with state-run oil company Petrobras. Attorneys for the ex-president said they were surprised by the charges and that prosecutors have no evidence to back them. Prosecutors also charged Lula’s first finance minister and the head of his institute, Paulo Okamotto.
Ex-rebel leaders apologize
Eight former commanders of the demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas on Monday asked forgiveness for kidnappings committed by the rebels and said they regretted the grave error. It is the first time since the November 2016 peace deal between the government and FARC that a group of former commanders, including leader Rodrigo Londono, have asked for forgiveness and accepted they had made mistakes. “We are here to publicly ask forgiveness of all our victims and their families from the bottom of our hearts,” the members of the FARC political party said.
Human rights organizations on Monday denounced the number of hysterectomies carried out on immigrant women at the privately run Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia, after one detainee described it as like “an experimental concentration camp.” Information about the operations emerged after a whistle-blower revealed practices, where some detainees are held under Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody. “When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp. It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies,” said one detainee interviewed by the Project South organization, which filed a complaint to the government. The whistle-blower, a nurse at the facility, said that detainees told her they did not fully understand why they had to have a hysterectomy.
‘Deer crash’ victim human
South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg reported hitting a deer with his vehicle on Saturday night last week, when he had actually struck and killed a pedestrian whose body was not found until the next day, authorities said on Monday. Ravnsborg said in a statement that he was cooperating with the investigation and offered his sympathies to family of the dead man, 55-year-old Joseph Boever. Ravnsborg, who was driving home alone from a Republican fundraiser, reported to police at about 10:24pm that he had been involved in a “car-deer crash,” authorities said. Boever’s family voiced fears that the case would be covered up, including a possible hit-and-run.
Australian scientists have raised questions over the efficacy of the AstraZeneca and University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in establishing herd immunity, calling for a pause on its widespread rollout as the country recorded one new case of the virus yesterday. Opposition to the vaccine casts a cloud over Australia’s immunization plans, with 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab already on hand. “The question is really whether it is able to provide herd immunity. We are playing a long game here. We don’t know how long that will take,” Australian and New Zealand Society for Immunology president Stephen Turner said. Turner added
A racing pigeon has survived an extraordinary 13,000km Pacific Ocean crossing from the US to find a new home in Australia. Now authorities consider the bird a quarantine risk and plan to kill it. Kevin Celli-Bird yesterday said he discovered that the exhausted bird that arrived in his Melbourne backyard on Dec. 26 last year had disappeared from a race in the US state of Oregon on Oct. 29. Experts suspect the pigeon that Celli-Bird has named Joe — after US president-elect Joe Biden — hitched a ride on a cargo ship to cross the Pacific. Joe’s feat has attracted the attention
A persistent blizzard on Saturday blanketed large parts of Spain with an unusual amount of snow, killing at least four people and leaving thousands trapped in vehicles or at train stations and airports that suspended all services. The national weather agency reported that as of 7am, the snowfall in Madrid reached a level unseen in a half-century. More than 50cm of snow fell in the Spanish capital, the weather agency AEMET said. The bodies of a man and woman were recovered by the Andalucia region emergency service after their car was washed away by a flooded river near the town of Fuengirola.
China has recorded the biggest daily jump in COVID-19 cases in more than five months, despite four cities in lockdown, increased testing and other measures aimed at preventing another wave of infections in the world’s second-biggest economy. Most of the new infections were reported near the capital, Beijing, but a province in northeast China also saw a rise in new cases, official data showed yesterday, amid a resurgence that has seen more than 28 million people under home quarantine. The Chinese National Health Commission said in a statement that a total of 115 new confirmed cases were reported in the country, compared