Kemerovo Governor Resigns After Fire

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Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev. The Kremlin.

The governor of the Russian region of Kemerovo, Aman Tuleyev, has resigned amidst a shopping mall fire that killed dozens. The Winter Cherry shopping center went up in flames last week after alleged safety failings, particularly broken fire alarms and unresponsive security guards. Over 60 people were killed, 41 of them children, using entertainment facilities such as theaters at the top of the building whose doors were supposedly locked. Thousands of protestors took to the streets in the aftermath of the tragedy, blaming the incident on political corruption and governmental incompetence.

In his final video address to the region, Tuleyev, whose niece was one of the victims, referred to stepping aside as “the right, conscious, and only true decision.” President Vladimir Putin previously met with him, blaming the act on “criminal negligence”, but abstained from firing Mr. Tuleyev as the Kremlin is able to do.  However under immense pubic pressure, experts speculate that the Kremlin indirectly forced Mr. Tuleyev out so as to calm community outrage without giving the impression that the office can be swayed by public opinion. Mr. Tuleyev’s has been governor of the Siberian region since 1997.

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Brazil Mourns Slain Councilwoman

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Rio de Janeiro City Councilor Marielle Franco. Flickr.

Thousands have taken to the streets of Rio de Janeiro to mourn Marielle Franco, a 38 year old City Councilor who campaigned against police brutality. She was shot dead returning from a black women’s empowerment event Wednesday. A former resident of Favela de Mare, one of Rio’s most violent slums, Ms. Franco was known for heavily criticizing President Michel Temer’s decision to deploy military forces to Brazil’s favelas to decrease violent crimes. His policy was announced in February after it was revealed the country experienced 2,125 violent deaths in the past year.

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France’s National Front Rebrands

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National Front Party Leader Marine Le Pen. Wikimedia Commons.

A visit by Steve Bannon. A vote to change the party name. These were just some of the elements at the far-right National Front’s conference in Lille, France this past weekend. The conference comes amidst substantive presidential and legislative losses for the party as well as accusations that it has not done enough to distance itself from its Nazi origins. In response, party leader Marine Le Pen has noted the need for rebranding, hoping the efforts will change public attitudes, revive member support, and make it easier to form political alliances.

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Debt Crisis Hinders Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria Relief

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Months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20th, 2017, relief efforts continue to be stalled by the island’s damaged infrastructure. Outdated power and water systems were already in need of fixing long before the storm’s landfall because of bankrupt public service agencies following the island’s debt crisis. Coupled with previous damage from Hurricane Irma and the fact that many power and water lines were outdated and above ground, Maria’s landfall meant a complete breakdown of both power and pipelines. Contrary to Texas and Florida, which completely restored electricity and water seventeen days after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma respectively, experts predict Puerto Rico is likely to go at least six months without power.

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The Search for Argentina’s Missing Submarine Continues

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The Missing A.R.A. San Juan. Wikimedia Commons. 

On Wednesday, Nov 15th, an Argentine Submarine – the ARA San Juan –vanished 240 miles from the country’s coast with 44 crewmembers aboard. The Argentine Navy reports they first lost signal with the vessel near the Valdez Peninsula while the craft was completing a routine voyage back from Ushuaia in Patagonia to Mar del Plata south of Buenos Aires. On Saturday, Argentine Defense Minister Oscar Aguad remarked the receipt of seven satellite calls seeming to originate from the submarine, signaling hope that the crew is still alive.

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Argentinian Activist’s Body Found Amid Congressional Elections

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Protestors After the Finding of Maldonado’s Body. AP. 

Santiago Maldonado, a 28 year old indigenous rights activist for Argentina’s Mapuche people, was found dead in Chubut River near Buenos Aires on Saturday. He had been missing since August 1st after he and other protesters clashed with police at an indigenous rights demonstration in Patagonia. Authorities transferred his body to the city for identification and an autopsy, where his brother Sergio was able to identify him and morticians were able to deny visible wounds on the body. His death has been highly politicized amid Argentina’s upcoming Congressional Elections, with the leftist opposition accusing security officers for his death and President Mauricio Macri of covering it up.

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Puerto Rico Continues to Feel Maria

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Flooding in Puerto Rico Following Hurricane Maria. Wikimedia Commons. 

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on September 20th, the island has seen an influx of aid from American federal agencies. Relief efforts are focused on repairing broken power grids, fixing roads and infrastructure, and draining excess water. However, ten days after the storm’s landing, 90% of the population is still without access to power, food, or water, especially in rural areas.

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No MÁS: The Time Has Come for Evo Morales to Step Down

Quito, Ceremonia de entrega de las "Llaves de la Ciudad"President Evo Morales has made his legacy in Bolivia by presenting himself as a man of the people. Under his socialist administration, he decreased poverty by more than 60 percent through public spending and social programs, successfully re-nationalized natural resources, and, as the country’s first indigenous president, implemented a new constitution that strengthens Bolivia’s indigenous rights. However, recent events indicate Morales is transitioning from a moderate populist towards an undemocratic autocrat. In addition to corruption scandals, desperate attempts to control free speech, and a falling approval rating, Morales is now attempting to out the constitution to remain in power longer than its term limits allow. Despite a failed referendum that would have allowed him to run for a fourth term, Morales defied the voters and accepted his Movement To Socialism (MAS) party’s nomination for president. But in order to avoid moving Bolivia towards autocracy, Mr. Morales must instead step down and name a successor.

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OAS to Discuss Venezuela Crisis

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A protestor waves a Venezuela flag in front of police. Wikimedia Commons. 

The Organization of American States (OAS) will meet Tuesday in Washington, D.C. to discuss the ongoing politico-economic crisis in Venezuela after fourteen of its members called on President Nicolas Maduro to restore democracy in the country. Venezuela has been experiencing massive inflation due to dropping oil prices, leading to extreme good shortages. Many have criticized Maduro of mismanaging the economy in response to the crisis.  Meanwhile, Maduro has also stifled political opposition, indefinitely delaying congressional and recall elections that were projected losses for his party, while mitigating Congressional laws through judges loyal to him.

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Obama Lifts Visa-Free Residency for Cubans

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raúl Castro in Havana. Wikimedia Commons. 

Last Friday, President Obama ended a 20-year policy that allows Cubans to apply for citizenship in the United States without applying for a visa. Commonly known as the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, the law permits migrants with “at least one dry foot” on U.S. soil to become permanent residents after a year within the country. The Cuban government sees the policy as largely responsible for the country’s brain drain and encouraging migrants to risk their lives travelling to the Florida border. Meanwhile, many Latino communities view the law as unfairly favoring Cuban immigrants as opposed to other migrants.

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