, pub-6663105814926378, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Around The World Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico 4289

Around The World Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico

Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico
Closed to tourists: Puerto Rico’s famously glowing Mosquito Bay, a major tourist attraction on the island of Vieques, is losing its bioluminescence. Authorities have partially closed the bay to visitors for the next two months to give researchers a chance to study the water. Some tour companies already stopped bringing tourists because the glow has become so faint. Bioluminescence is caused by a microorganism that gives off light when the water is disturbed. Scientists have speculated that the microbe’s population has decreased because of climate change and pollution.

Panama City
Veep wins presidency: Vice President Juan Carlos Varela came from behind to win Panama’s presidential election this week, after lagging in polls for much of the campaign. Varela is the archrival of President Ricardo Martinelli, whose preferred candidate, José Domingo Arias, was expected to win. But voters were apparently concerned that Arias, who had chosen Martinelli’s wife, Marta Linares, as his running mate, would be a puppet of Martinelli. “This government is going to fight against inequality,” Varela said in a victory speech. “Better days will come to Panama, with a government that is human, decent, and visionary

Quito, Ecuador
no stopping oil: In a victory for oil interests, Ecuadoran authorities said this week the country will not hold a referendum to ban oil development in a national park in the Amazon rain forest. The electoral council said environmentalists failed to submit enough valid signatures to force a nationwide referendum. A coalition of activists had submitted some 756,000 signatures, far more than the 584,000 required, but the council said fewer than 400,000 of them were valid. The ruling means drilling can go ahead in Yasuni National Park, one of the most biologically diverse spots in the world. In 2007, President Rafael Correa said his country would not drill there if the international community gave it $3.6 billion, but donors pledged only some $13 million.

Recife, Brazil
Deadly game: With just a month to go before the World Cup, a Brazilian man was killed by a flying toilet bowl as soccer fans rioted in the northern city of Recife. Police said hooligans ripped three toilet bowls out of stadium restrooms and tossed them from the stands during last week’s 1–1 draw between Santa Cruz and Paraná. One of the bowls hit Paulo Ricardo Gomes da Silva, 26, in the head, killing him instantly. Soccer and violence are a common mix in Brazil, and at least 30 fans died in fights inside and outside stadiums last year. “Violence in stadiums must be strictly curbed by police, and criminals should be investigated and prosecuted,” President Dilma Rousseff said on Twitter. “Football stadiums should be a scene of joy and passion.”

Most reviled: François Hollande is now the least popular French president in history. The latest poll shows his approval rating, which had ticked up slightly after it was revealed he was having an affair with an actress, is now down to just 18 percent. Unemployment is rising, and the French are angry over tax hikes and spending cuts. In a live TV interview on the second anniversary of his election, Hollande said he was sorry he hadn’t explained to the people just how bad the economy was when he took office, and how long it would take to turn it around. “We must go even faster because this is unacceptable to the French,” he said. “They want results.”

Abuja, Nigeria
U.s. joins search: Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has accepted an American offer of help in finding more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The U.S. will send military personnel and law-enforcement officers to establish a task force at the American Embassy in Abuja, which will help with intelligence, investigations, and hostage negotiations. But the girls may be out of the country already. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video this week, saying he planned to sell the girls into sex slavery. Meanwhile, up to 300 people were killed when Boko Haram attacked the town of Gamboru Ngala near the border with Cameroon, spraying gunfire into a crowded market and torching homes and shops.

watch your mouth: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a new law banning profanity in movies, plays, books, and other cultural works. Existing books and music won’t be censored, but will be slapped with a label reading “Contains obscene language.” Cinemas will not be allowed to show new films that include swearing, and punk bands that sing profane lyrics could be fined or arrested. In the past, Putin himself has been known to have a foul mouth. He once said he would kill Chechen militants even when they were sitting “on the crapper,” and has told reporters, “You must always obey the law, not just when they’ve got you by the balls.”

Pretoria, South Africa
Youth apathy: The African National Congress was set to win a fifth straight election victory this week, but by a slightly lesser margin than in past years. It was the first election in which some of the “born free” generation—those born after apartheid ended in 1994—were old enough to vote. Yet only a third of 18- and 19-year-olds even bothered to register, with many saying they are disgusted by a spate of corruption scandals. Many older black voters, though, still vote ANC out of loyalty to the memory of Nelson Mandela, so the party is expected to win a majority and return President Jacob Zuma for a second five-year term.

Paracel Islands, South China Sea
On the offensive: China got aggressive in the South China Sea this week, dangerously escalating tensions with Vietnam. Last week a flotilla of Chinese ships, some armed, towed an oil rig to an area near the disputed Paracel Islands. When Vietnam sent maritime police boats, the Chinese ships rammed them and fired water cannons, injuring at least six Vietnamese. “Vietnamese harassment has severely violated China’s sovereignty,” said Chinese foreign policy official Yang Jiechi. China and Vietnam each claimed parts of the uninhabited Paracels for centuries until Beijing took the entire archipelago in a 1974 battle. The surrounding waters are still claimed by both countries.

Prime minister out: After six months of anti-government protests, the Thai Constitutional Court this week removed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra from office. Shinawatra had been under investigation for costing Thailand billions in a failed attempt to manipulate the global rice market, but the court removed her for the lesser offense of improperly firing a top bureaucrat three years ago. Leaders of the pro-government Red Shirt movement, which formed in 2006 after Shinawatra’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted in a military coup, said they would protest this “judicial coup.” The same court removed two other prime ministers aligned with Thaksin in 2008.

Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
Hard-line sharia: The sultan of oil-rich Brunei has imposed the harshest form of Islamic sharia law on his country for all citizens, including the Christians and Buddhists who make up 30 percent of the population. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah said last week he is phasing in the code, starting now with fines and jail terms for offenses such as indecency and skipping Friday prayers. The second phase, later this year, includes flogging and amputation of limbs to punish thieves, while next year comes stoning to death for adultery, gay sex, and insulting the Quran. The United Nations criticized the draconian system, while Amnesty International said it would “take the country back to the dark ages.”

Juba, South Sudan
Talking peace: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has brokered peace talks between the South Sudanese government and rebels there. In a visit to the country’s capital, Juba, last week, he secured a pledge from President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, to open talks by next week with his former vice president, Riek Machar, whose Nuer forces are battling government troops. Both sides had already agreed to a monthlong cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid to reach ravaged villages and to give farmers a chance to plant crops. U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay said the country was “in real danger of facing famine” if the crops weren’t planted on time. Thousands of people have died since the civil war began in December, and about 1 million have been displaced.

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