TIME Colombia

31 Children Die in Colombian Bus Inferno

The charred remains of a bus, in which children died in, is seen in Fundacion, northern Colombia, on May 18, 2014
The charred remains of a bus, in which children died in, is seen in Fundacion, northern Colombia, on May 18, 2014 Reuters

A bus that was returning from a religious service in Fundación, near the historic city of Cartagena, on Sunday erupted in flames and caused 31 children and an adult to burn to death, and another 24 kids to be injured

Thirty-one children and one adult burned to death and another 24 youngsters were injured after a bus caught fire in northern Colombia.

The vehicle was returning from a religious service in the town of Fundación, near the historic city of Cartagena, when it erupted in flames around noon on Sunday, the local mayor, Luz Stella Duran, told reporters.

Most of the victims were between 1 and 8 years old, and many of the survivors are battling horrific injuries in hospitals in the area of nearby Santa Marta.

“The injured have second- and third-degree burns, and many are still in a critical condition,” Cesar Uruena, working for the Red Cross, told Agence France-Presse.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to Fundación on Sunday, where he promised that the authorities would cover all medical and funeral expenses faced by the families.

“The entire country is in mourning for the death of these children,” said Santos, who is currently in the midst of a bitter election campaign ahead of May 25 national polls.

The police initially blamed the blaze on a mechanical problem. Nevertheless, furious locals quickly besieged the home of the driver, who vanished shortly after the incident.

One witness told CNN affiliate Caracol that the driver had left the children to put gasoline into the vehicle’s tank.

TIME South America

Powerful Aftershock Rocks Chile a Day After Massive Earthquake

A resident walks along a damaged road after an earthquake and tsunami hit the northern port of Iquique
A resident walks along a damaged road to Alto Hospicio commune after an earthquake and tsunami hit the northern port of Iquique April 2, 2014. Ivan Alvarado - Reuters

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit northern Chile late on Wednesday night, shaking the same area where a more powerful earthquake hit just a day before and caused some damage and six deaths

A massive aftershock struck northern Chile on Wednesday night, just a day after an earthquake prompted evacuations of cities along the coast, generated a 7-ft tsunami that crashed into the country’s northern coast, and set off tsunami warnings across the Pacific.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center posted a regional tsunami warning after Wednesday’s aftershock, but said there were no indications of a substantial threat to communities elsewhere in the Pacific.

Wednesday night’s 7.8 magnitude quake was the largest of myriad aftershocks in the past 24 hours and struck about 14 miles south of Iquique, setting off evacuations in northern Chile, where six people were killed by the quake on Tuesday.

 

TIME South America

Venezuelan Student Leader Killed in Anti-Government Clashes

Clashes between anti-government protesters and state security forces have resulted in the death of student leader

A student leader was fatally shot in the chest Monday night in the Venezuelan university city of San Cristobal, as protests continue to rock the country.

The mayor of the city, Daniel Ceballos, said the student, Daniel Tinoco, had been killed after dark, although he did not say who might be responsible, the Associated Press reports. The incident came after a full day of street clashes between both peaceful and violent protesters and the Venezuelan security forces.

Anti-government sentiments have run hot in San Cristobal, where for the last month there have been on-going protests against escalating inflation, high murder rates and short supplies of basic goods. Venezuelan National Guardsmen fired teargas and plastic shotgun pellets at the demonstrators.

Ceballos accused the government forces of reacting disproportionately, claiming that “where the government sees paramilitaries, in truth there are just citizens who are defending themselves.”

[AP]

TIME Venezuela

Venezuela Marks First Anniversary Of Chavez’s Death

While President Nicolas Maduro struggles to live up to his legacy

Supporters of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took to the streets across the country Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of his death from cancer.

A planned military parade in the capital city of Caracas was set to demonstrate current president Nicolas Maduro’s ability to mobilize the population, reports Reuters, as a series of violent anti-government protests continue to undermine his leadership.

Chavez was immensely popular among the poorest members of Venezuela’s population, thanks to his anti-American rhetoric and generous spending on slum projects. Yet barely a year after his death, his successor has faced a series of challenges from the protests, which have resulted in a reported 18 deaths. Maduro has been blamed for not doing enough to overcome many of the country’s problems, including rampant crime and spiraling living costs.

However, Chavez’s cousin Guillermo Frias claimed that although Chavez “changed Venezuela forever,” he insisted that “Maduro is also a poor man, like us. He’s handling things fine. Perhaps he just needs a stronger hand.”

[Reuters]

TIME Marshall Islands

Castaway Fisherman ‘Survives 13 Months’ at Sea on Turtle Blood and Fish

+ READ ARTICLE

Jose Salvador Albarengo, 37, a fisherman from El Salvador, told officials that he survived more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean, drinking turtle blood and catching fish with his bare hands.

Albarengo said he went on what was supposed to be a one-day fishing trip more than a year ago from Mexico, but was blown out to sea.

He was found in a disoriented state on a remote coral atoll, Reuters reported.

But the acting secretary of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands, Gee Bing, said he was skeptical of Albarengo’s account.

“It does sound like an incredible story and I’m not sure if I believe his story,” Bing said. ‘”When we saw him, he was not really thin compared to other survivors in the past. I may have some doubts. Once we start communicating with where he’s from, we’ll be able to find out more information.”

Albarengo was found with no identification with him.

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