Latin America Now Region With Most COVID-19 Deaths

 In this file photo taken on May 30, 2020 gravediggers wearing protective clothing carry the coffin of a victim of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 for its burial at the Recanto da Paz Municipal Cemetery in the city of Breves, southwest of Marajo Island, an island at the mouth of the Amazon River in the Brazilian state of Para,Brazil. Tarso SARRAF / AFP
In this file photo taken on May 30, 2020 gravediggers wearing protective clothing carry the coffin of a victim of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 for its burial at the Recanto da Paz Municipal Cemetery in the city of Breves, southwest of Marajo Island, an island at the mouth of the Amazon River in the Brazilian state of Para,Brazil. Tarso SARRAF / AFP


Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed Europe on Friday to become the region with the most COVID-19 deaths, according to an AFP count based on official data. 

The world’s worst-hit region has recorded 213,120 fatal cases, 460 more than Europe, according to the tally registered at 1700 GMT.

Over the last week, 44 percent of global deaths from COVID-19 — 18,300 out of 41,500 — happened in the region.

Latin America is also the region with the largest number of infections in the world with 5.3 million.

More than half, some 2.9 million, are in Brazil, which has also recorded 98,500 deaths among its 212 million people.

Only the United States has been worse hit.

The second worst-affected country in Latin America, Mexico, passed 50,000 deaths on Thursday and has registered more than 460,000 cases, according to official figures.



Jailed South American Official Gets Life FIFA Ban

FIFA Bans Ex-Zambian Football Chief Bwalya Over Bribery Allegations

Two weeks after former South American football official Juan Angel Napout was sentenced to nine years in prison by a US court for corruption, he was banned for life on Thursday by FIFA. 

Napout, at one time the head of both the Paraguayan and the South American(Conmebol) football federations and a FIFA vice president, was found guilty by a New York court in April.

On August 29, he received the longest sentence of any of the 42 accused in the ‘Fifagate’ case.

The FIFA Ethics Commission followed suit on Thursday, saying they had found Napout guilty of “corruption”.

They suspended him for life from “any football-related activity” and fined him 1 million Swiss francs (913,000 euros).

The US investigation exposed tens of millions of dollars in bribes paid by sports promotion companies to senior figures in South American soccer federations, for broadcast rights and promotional events at tournaments organised by Conmebol, including the Copa America and the Copa Libertadores.

The US court also fined Napout $1 million and ordered the 61-year-old to return the $3.3 million in bribes received.

The former boss of the Brazilian Confederation, Jose Maria Marin was sentenced to four years in prison.


Over Two Billion People In Zika Prone Areas

ZikaA newly published journal says more than two billion people are currently living in parts of the world where the Zika virus can spread.

The latest research showed that mapping Zika was more complex than simply defining where the mosquito can survive.

By learning where the Zika virus could thrive, the researchers are now able to predict where else may be affected.

One of the researchers, Dr. Oliver Brady, disclosed the first maps to come out that really used the data they had for the virus, stressing that earlier maps were based on Zika virus being like dengue or chikungunya.

“We are the first to add the very precise geographic and environmental conditions data we have on Zika,” Dr. Brady told BBC.

For now, the researchers confirmed that large areas of South America are vulnerable while 2.2 billion people live in areas defined as being “at risk”.

This comes barely a week after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the virus causes severe birth defects.

‘Supermoon’ Coincides With Lunar Eclipse

supermoonSky-watchers from North and South America to Western Europe have been enjoying a rare astronomical event in which the moon has appeared to redden in the night’s sky – a so-called blood moon.

A supermoon occurs when the moon is in the closest part of its orbit to earth, meaning it appears larger in the sky.

The eclipse, which made the moon appear red – has been visible in North America, South America, West Africa and Western Europe.

This phenomenon was last observed in 1982 and will not come again until 2033.

Pope Francis Focuses On Poor In Bolivia

pope Pope Francis has begun his second leg tour to three poorest countries in South America.

He was received by Bolivia’s first indigenous leader, President Evo Morales, who gave him a ritual pouch with coca, a sacred leaf in the Andes.

Pope Francis insisted that the Catholic Church should continue to play an important role, to protect the most vulnerable in society from the impact of capitalism.

He also called for dialogue between Bolivia and Chile over their long-time border dispute.

The Pope was said to have flown in from Ecuador and will also visit Paraguay.

The Pontiff hailed Bolivia for encouraging the poor to be active citizens, saying ”Bolivia is making important steps towards including broad sectors in the country’s economic, social and political life”.

Ethiopian Says May Lease Or Buy More Dreamliners

Ethiopian Airlines plans to buy or lease up to six more 787 Dreamliner passenger jets by 2018 as it adds routes to Asia and South America its chief executive told Reuters.

“We are looking at another five or six by 2017/18. We always maintain a 60/40 percent balance, with 60 percent owned and 40 percent leased,” Tewolde Gebremariam said on the sidelines of a global airline industry conference.

A long-time Boeing customer, the company has already bought 10 Dreamliners, which will form part of its core fleet.

Ethiopian Airlines in April became the world’s first carrier to resume flights with the Dreamliner after regulators ordered all 787s grounded due to faulty batteries.

Gebremariam said the company would also lease an additional three Dreamliners on a monthly basis from 2015.

Maduro Wins Venezuela Election With Narrow Win

[highlight]Defeated Venezuelan presidential candidate, Henrique Capriles has demanded a recount of votes, rejecting the election of Nicolas Maduro.[/highlight]

He said there were more than 300,000 incidents from Sunday’s poll that would need to be examined.

Nicolas Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver, whom Chavez named as his preferred heir before dying of cancer, edged out opposition challenger Henrique Capriles with 50.7 percent of the votes in Sunday’s election,while Caprilles had 49.1 per cent according to election board returns.

Reacting to the allegations of poll irregularities, Mr Maduro told his supporters that the result was legal and constitutional.

Capriles, whose strong showing confounded most forecasts, refused to recognize the result and said his team had a list of more than 3,000 irregularities ranging from gunshots to the illegal reopening of polling centers.

“I didn’t fight against a candidate today, but against the whole abuse of power,” Capriles, the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state, said after Maduro was declared the winner.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Cuban leader Raul Castro were among the first heads of state to congratulate Mr Maduro on his win.

W.Cup Qualifying: Argentina tops group B as Messi shines

South American World Cup qualifying games were played yesterday in different parts of South America and Argentina became a force to reckon with as the Linel Messi-led squad crushed fellow South American country; Ecuador 4-0  as Argentina has became the leader of group B with the score-line,  thanks to Barcelona star, the Merciless Messi.

Argentina’s decision to play their four world class forwards was fully justified as Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria were on call within 11 minutes of the first half as three goals were recorded in quick succession.

Barcelona Star Lionel Messi once showed what he was known for, with his deft moves on field and magical display of skills as he has been doing while on call for his country; Argentina and Barcelona as he finally won over the crowd at the Monumental in Buenos Aires.

With the structured pattern displayed by Argentina, the squad was obviously centred on the Barcelona strike from attack to defence as he led the formation from back to front till the end of the match.

According to Coach Alejandro Sabella “We have to be a solid team, structured in defence and accompany Lionel so he can express himself to the full”.

Argentina lead the South American group with 10 points from five matches, one more point than Chile, who beat Bolivia 2-0 in La Paz, and two ahead of Uruguay and Venezuela who drew 1-1 in Montevideo.

The next challenge the South American side will be rooting to overcome is the friendly game with arch-rivals and World Cup hosts; Brazil which will be played in the United States next weekend.

Meanwhile in other games played in South America, Copa America holders Uruguay failed to end their Venezuela jinx, going a fifth World Cup qualifier in succession without beating their opponent.

Diego Forlan put Uruguay ahead at the Centenario when he extended his national scoring record to 33 in the 39th minute.

But, with little more than five minutes left, a header by Venezuela striker Jose Salomon Rondon had defender Diego Godin head the ball into his own net.

After the game, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez told reporters while speaking for the players and his staff that they are all not pleased with the outcome of the game as they need to work harder to achieve good results which they desire.

Chile served notice they are still a force despite initial problems that included Coach Claudio Borghi suspending a quintet of players for breaking a curfew before a qualifier against Uruguay last November.

Borghi’s side notched up a third win as Chile made it three successive qualifying victories in the thin air of La Paz, absorbing pressure and hitting Bolivia on the break.

Forward Charles Aranguiz put Chile ahead in first-half added time and Bolivia’s hopes took a further dive when defender Luis Gutierrez was sent off early in the second half for a foul on Alexis Sanchez.

Bolivia’s coach Gustavo Quinteros, a member of the country’s last team to go to the finals in 1994 was also sent to the stands for protesting.

Midfielder Arturo Vidal, the only one of the five players disciplined in November to be pardoned and have his suspension reduced, made sure of the points with a second goal seven minutes from time netting a ball that came back off the post.

Bolivia, bottom of the group with one point from five matches, paid for their poor finishing when they dominated early on in both halves.

Peru, one from bottom with three points and looking to end a 32-year wait for a place in the finals, host Colombia in Lima today.