- Venezuela expels Panama diplomats
Venezuela expels Panama's ambassador and three others as President Nicolas Maduro accuses the country of meddling amid ongoing opposition rallies.
- Venezuela expels Panama ambassador, three others
The Venezuelan government ordered Panama's ambassador and three other diplomats at the mission to leave the country within 48 hours, a Panamanian official said Thursday, a day after Caracas broke ties with Panama City. "We received a note from the foreign ministry of Venezuela that was delivered to our embassy in which it declared four diplomats working in our embassy as 'persona non grata,'" Panama's Deputy Foreign Minister Mayra Arosemena told reporters. The diplomats are Ambassador Pedro Pereira, charge d'affaires Jaime Serrano and two other embassy officials. "We have recalled our staff today and they are traveling (to Panama) tomorrow," Arosemena said.
- Lawsuit: Univision newscaster's book had false ID
MIAMI (AP) — A Guatemalan man claims in a lawsuit that Univision news host Jorge Ramos wrongly identified him as an U.S. immigration agent in a 2005 book about a fatal migrant smuggling venture, prompting death threats and forcing the man and his family to leave Guatemala.
- Maduro wants South America to meet on Venezuela crisis
President Nicolas Maduro called Thursday for a meeting of South American leaders on the turmoil in Venezuela after more than a month of anti-government street protests. Maduro made the request to visiting Suriname President Desi Bouterse, the current head of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur). The move came a day after the Venezuelan leader broke off relations with Panama following its call for a meeting of the rival Washington-based Organization of American States on the crisis. In a speech Wednesday, Maduro angrily rejected OAS involvement, saying Venezuela would turn to other regional organizations that do not include the United States.
- Ex-guerilla closes in on El Salvador election win
By Nelson Renteria SAN SALVADOR (Reuters) - A former Marxist guerrilla leader looks poised to win El Salvador's presidential election runoff on Sunday as voters embrace his ruling party's social programs despite opposition allegations that he plans to veer the country to the radical left. Polls show Salvador Sanchez Ceren, a top leader of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) rebel army during the country's 1980-92 civil war, with about 55 percent support ahead of the runoff vote, enough to secure his party a second consecutive term. His opponent Norman Quijano, the conservative former mayor of the capital, San Salvador, trails with about 45 percent amid waning support for his right-wing Arena party. Quijano has warned the ex-rebel will move El Salvador to the radical left and bow to the influence of Latin America's leading U.S. antagonist, socialist-led Venezuela.
- Caymans-bound cruise ship plucks Cuban migrants from wooden boat
By Peter Polack GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (Reuters) - Twenty-four Cubans were rescued from a rickety wooden boat by a passing cruise liner which took them to the Cayman Islands, ship owner Carnival Corp said, as growing numbers of migrants try to sail to Central America and eventually reach the United States. Officials in the Caymans said last year more Cuban boats were being spotted in its territorial waters, often headed for Honduras, from where migrants make the long journey overland to reach the U.S. border with Mexico. "In keeping with a longtime tradition of aiding mariners in distress, Carnival Paradise altered its course and brought on board 24 individuals from Cuba who were provided with food, water, fresh clothing and accommodations and evaluated by the ship's medical team," Carnival said in a statement emailed to Reuters on Thursday. Under an existing agreement between Cuba and the Cayman Islands government, the rescued Cubans will likely be repatriated.
- As Milkweed Disappears, Monarchs are Fading Away (Op-Ed)
Peter Lehner is executive director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). This Op-Ed will appear onthe NRDC blog Switchboard. Last week, at a coffee farm in Costa Rica, I stumbled upon hundreds of butterflies, probably some kind of Heliconius species, all fluttering around a particular spot. Monarch butterflies in particular face a highly specific threat from humans: the weed-killer commonly known as RoundUp, or glyphosate.
- Israel hails seizure on high seas of 'Iran arms ship'
Israelis Thursday hailed the capture of an alleged Gaza-bound arms ship as a major coup in the fight to unmask Iran but thought it unlikely to scupper ongoing nuclear talks. The pre-dawn raid, which targeted a Panamanian-flagged ship in the Red Sea between Eritrea and Sudan, dominated the front pages of Israel's main newspapers on Thursday. The vessel set sail 10 days ago, allegedly carrying Syrian-made missiles "capable of striking anywhere in Israel" which were transported overland to Iran then sent on by sea, the military said. Pundits were quick to point out the raid coincided with a high-profile US trip by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to raise a red flag over talks between the P5+1 group of world powers and Iran.
- Costa Rica downs Paraguay 2-1 in friendly
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Arsenal forward Joel Campbell scored in the first half to help Costa Rica to a 2-0 win over Paraguay in an international friendly Wednesday.
- Honduras beats Venezuela 2-1 in friendly
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) — Jerry Bengston and Jerry Palacious scored either side of halftime to lead Honduras to a 2-1 win over Venezuela in an international friendly Wednesday.
- Costa Rica candidate withdraws
Costa Rica presidential candidate Johnny Araya, from the governing party, says he is abandoning his campaign for April's run-off election.
- Venezuela breaks ties with Panama
Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro breaks diplomatic relations with Panama over its request for the OAS to discuss the crisis in Venezuela.
- Venezuela breaks relations with Panama: Maduro
Caracas (AFP) - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said Wednesday his government was breaking diplomatic relations with Panama after the country proposed a meeting of North and Latin American nations over protests in Caracas.
- Venezuela breaks ties with Panama over 'conspiracy'
CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro said on Wednesday he was breaking diplomatic and commercial relations with the Panamanian government due to a "conspiracy" against him. "We're not going to let anyone get away with interfering with our fatherland, you despicable lackey, president of Panama," Maduro said in a speech to commemorate the anniversary of late socialist leader Hugo Chavez's death. (Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne and Eyanir Chinea; Editing by Chris Reese)
- Ruling party candidate drops out in Costa Rica
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Costa Rica's ruling party presidential candidate says he is dropping out of a runoff election and will stop campaigning because opinion polls show overwhelming support for his contender.
- Costa Rica ruling party candidate Araya abandons presidential campaign
Costa Rica ruling party candidate Johnny Araya said on Wednesday he was abandoning his campaign to become president of the coffee-producing Central American nation a month before the election goes to a run-off vote. Araya, of the ruling centrist National Liberation Party, said he would no longer campaign though under the constitution his name will remain on the ballot. The move appeared to guarantee victory for left-leaning former diplomat Luis Guillermo Solis, who emerged as the surprise front-runner in February. Araya said he had taken the decision after polls showed voters wanted a change of government.
- The beach in Costa Rica: Surfing, riding, fishing
GUIONES, Costa Rica (AP) — A vacation to escape the cold led us to Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, where we went surfing, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing and even visited a dry tropical forest. Our extended family of seven, ranging in age from 17 to 55 years old, ranked it one of the best vacations ever.
- Venezuela marks year without Chavez amid protests
Venezuela marks Wednesday one year since Hugo Chavez died, with his successor leading ceremonies for the "eternal comandante" whose socialist revolution is now facing persistent opposition protests. After a month of sometimes deadly demonstrations, President Nicolas Maduro will oversee a parade showing off the government's military might before a ceremony at the former barracks where the late leader is entombed. Two of Chavez's leftist allies in the region, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and Bolivian counterpart Evo Morales, will join the commemoration. "One year after the departure of our Eternal Comandante, I invite everybody to pay tribute to him in peace and with love," Maduro wrote on Twitter.
- Nicaraguan leader re-emerges
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega appears in public after an absence of 10 days which led to speculation he was sick or had died.
- Osaka to host all-star concert on Int'l Jazz Day
NEW YORK (AP) — Herbie Hancock reckons he's performed more often in Japan than in his hometown of Chicago during his professional career. The pianist will be back next month for an all-star concert at Osaka Castle Park highlighting the third annual International Jazz Day.
- 6.4-magnitude quake rattles Nicaragua
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — A 6.4-magnitude earthquake has rattled the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, but there are no immediate reports of injuries or damages.
- Guatemala's Pacaya volcano spews rock, ash
GUATEMALA CITY (AP) — Guatemala authorities say the Pacaya volcano near Guatemala City has shot plumes of ash and vapor 2.3 miles (3.7 kilometers) high, while spewing glowing-hot rock.
- Guatemala volcano Pacaya erupts
A volcanic eruption 50km from Guatemala City prompts the authorities to divert planes and consider the evacuation of some 3,000 people.
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