Bolivia's self-proclaimed interim president sent a bill on holding new elections to congress Wednesday amid escalating violence that has claimed at least 30 lives since a disputed Oct. 20 vote and the subsequent resignation and exile of former leader Evo Morales.
Officials raised the death toll by eight a day after security forces cleared a blockade of a fuel plant by anti-government protesters in the city of El Alto, near La Paz.
The public defender's office and the state Institute of Forensic Investigations said the latest deaths happened in El Alto. People gathered at a Roman Catholic church to mourn the dead said they were fired on by security forces there.
Police and soldiers were escorting gasoline tankers from the Senkata fuel plant to ease food and gasoline shortages in some Bolivian cities. The plant provides fuel to more than two million people in El Alto and neighboring La Paz.
Demonstrators were attempting to blow up the plant with explosives, which could have caused a "massive tragedy," interim Defense Minister Fernando López said.
Bolivia has been in a state of turbulence since a disputed vote that, according to an international audit, was marred by irregularities. Morales resigned Nov. 10 after weeks of protests against him and pressure from security forces, but his supporters oppose the interim government that took his place.
Interim President Jeanine Áñez on Wednesday sent to the legislature a bill that would allow the scheduling of new elections, without providing a date.
"This bill can be perfected and serve as a basis for consensus," Áñez said at a news conference. She was referring to the legislators of Morales' Movement Toward Socialism party, which has a majority in congress.
"The electoral fraud caused the convulsion that the country is experiencing," she said.
Congress does not have a fixed deadline to respond to Áñez's proposal, but it is expected to deal with the matter urgently. Legislators were scheduled to meet Wednesday night.
Bolivia's constitution says elections must be called within three months of an interim president taking office, which Áñez did on Nov. 12. If the bill is approved by legislators, the date would be set by the new Supreme Electoral Tribunal, whose members will be elected within the next 15 days by lawmakers, Justice Minister Álvaro Coimbra said.
After almost a month of protests first by Morales' opponents and then by his supporters, fuel shortages are suffocating El Alto and La Paz. Control of the Senkata fuel depot has become the most recent symbol of the struggle between the interim government and the former president's followers, who are demanding that Áñez resign.
Speaking at a news conference in Mexico on Wednesday, Morales said he wanted to return to Bolivia and would help in any dialogue and efforts to restore peace if he were allowed to do so.
Morales said he was Bolivia's "president-elect," a reference to his claim to have won the Oct. 20 vote despite allegations of fraud.
He also criticized the Organization of American States, whose investigators concluded there were flaws in last month's election. In Washington, the OAS passed a resolution to help Bolivia hold elections quickly.
Áñez has said Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous president, could face prosecution for fraud if he returns to the country.
Morales upended politics in this indigenous-majority nation long ruled by light-skinned descendants of Europeans when he took office by vowing to reverse deep-rooted inequality. The economy benefited from a boom in commodity prices and he ushered through a new constitution that created a new Congress with seats reserved for Bolivia's smaller indigenous groups while also allowing self-rule for all indigenous communities.
But many people became disenchanted by his insistence on holding on to power. Much of the opposition to Morales sprang from his refusal to accept a referendum that upheld term limits that barred him from seeking a fourth term in office. He got the courts to declare the limits a violation of his human rights to seek office. Then allegations that his supporters manipulated the Oct. 20 election led to nationwide protests.
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro officially left the Social Liberal Party (PSL) on Tuesday, as he prepares to launch his own political party.
Bolsonaro joined PSL last year to take part in the presidential race. However, he and Luciano Bivar, PSL president, have been at odds for months now, and their disagreements culminated on Bolsonaro's decision to leave the party.
The Brazilian president has already declared he will found a new party, which is to be named Alliance for Brazil. The official announcement is expected to be made on Thursday and the new party will have before March to fulfill the requirements for its national registration.
As Bolsonaro departed, PSL held a convention and confirmed Bivar at the party's helm.
The indigenous men's hunt wasn't going well, so they pushed deeper into the Amazon forest in northeastern Brazil. They ran out of water and went to a spot where they could drink and bathe.
Laércio Guajajara said the men — who when not hunting are Forest Guardians protecting the Arariboia indigenous area — heard a noise in the forest coming toward the water.
"Hey Paulo, the game is coming, the peccaries are coming close," he said he whispered to his cousin and childhood friend, speaking in an interview for the documentary "Iwazayzar - Guardioes da Natureza." The filmmakers shared the video with The Associated Press.
They got low and waited. What emerged from the bush, according to Guajajara, wasn't a group of animals, but rather five men firing their guns in an ambush by illegal loggers that left one guardian dead and another injured. State authorities said a logger was also killed.
The deadly ambush late Friday in Brazil's Maranhao state is only the most-recent demonstration of how indigenous people are increasingly vulnerable to incursions by loggers and cattle ranchers, particularly in remote areas of the Amazon that receive little state oversight.
Speaking Saturday after leaving the hospital in the city of Imperatriz, Laércio said he was struck on his arm and back. He turned to his longtime companion only to find Paulo had already fallen to the ground, shot in the neck. Paulo Paulino Guajajara, 26, was dead.
Laércio bolted. He reckons he ran 6 miles (10 kilometers) before he found help, he said in the video. He said the men had heard loggers in the area the prior day, but the men never expected to be ambushed.
Forest Guardians had previously received threats and wore protective vests while on patrol. Still, Paulo's father Zé Maria Paulino Guajajara said during his eulogy on Sunday that he never imagined his son would meet this end. He spoke through tears in front of the mound of earth covering Paulo's body. Small white candles poked from its surface.
"My son fought and died. He died for all of us here, defending this area," he said.
Video from the funeral shows his wife simultaneously singing and crying, at one point falling to her knees on the candlelit hut's earthen floor.
Concern about the rainforest has heightened after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took office this year with calls to loosen protections for nature reserves and indigenous lands. Fires used to clear land in the Amazon increased sharply in July and August, causing international alarm over a region seen as critical to curbing climate change.
Bolsonaro has said some economic development is necessary in the Amazon.
His government deployed federal police to investigate the killing. Brazil's justice and public security minister, Sergio Moro, said on Twitter they will "bring those responsible for this crime to justice."
No arrests have yet been made in the case.
Laércio, for his part, doesn't expect justice. He says he will continue to fight "as long as I have life, as long as I have strength to pull a bow and arrow or lift a club."
"We're not going to desist from this war. It's the protection for our future generations," Laércio said. "If we don't fight, even losing a lot of warriors, what will be there for our kids in 20 years? 30 years? What will become of the forest?"
Rafael Mariano Grossi of Argentina received the majority support required in an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors ballot on Tuesday to be appointed the agency's new director general.
In a closed session, Grossi received the support of 24 members of the 35-nation board. Romania's Cornel Feruta received 10 votes. A further board meeting open to all IAEA member states will be held on Wednesday to appoint Grossi, according to the IAEA website.
The Board of Governors' decision will be submitted for approval to the IAEA General Conference, which consists of representatives of all 171 member states.
The new director general, appointed for a term of four years, will be the IAEA's sixth head since it was founded in 1957. The board envisages that Grossi will assume office no later than Jan. 1, 2020, the IAEA said.
The IAEA is an autonomous international organization within the United Nations (UN) system. It is the world's center for cooperation in the nuclear field and seeks to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
Buenos Aires, Oct 29 (Xinhua/UNB) -- Argentina's Central Bank (BCRA) Monday announced stricter currency exchange controls to prevent capital flight after the left-leaning opposition defeated the conservative ruling party in general elections.
The BCRA President Guido Sandleris said the bank would restrict dollar purchases to 200 U.S. dollars per month via bank account and 100 dollars per month in cash, down from the previous limit of 10,000 dollars per month.
"As of today, we have reduced to 200 dollars a month the maximum amount that individuals can buy for saving, without the prior authorization of the central bank," said Sandleris.
The decision only applies to ordinary Argentinians, while exporters and companies involved in international transactions are not restricted, he added.
The decision aims "to protect the foreign reserves" for the incoming government that would "have a greater degree of freedom to implement its economic policies," Sandleris said.
He said Argentina's foreign reserves have fallen by 22 billion dollars since primary elections in August.