miércoles, 31 de agosto de 2016

Police arrest "hundreds" of gang members around El Salvador

Police in El Salvador arrested at least 80 suspected members of the country's Mara 13 or MS-13 gang sought for crimes including murder, criminal conspiracy and especially extortion, in raids carried out in several eastern districts on 30-31 August. In one operation in the department of La Unión, police held 52 presumed MS-13 members, 24 of whom were apparently already in jail, El Mundo reported on 31 August. Pursuing criminal activities especially extortion, from prison is common in Central America. Further operations in the localities of Yayantique and Conchagua, also in La Unión, led to the arrests of 29 suspected members of a related gang dubbed Coronados Locos Salvatruchos, sought for their roles in six murders and other planned or attempted killings, the daily reported. In a separate incident, police shot dead four suspected gangsters in Jucuarán after reportedly, they opened fire on police investigating their presence in the area, elsalvador.com reported on 30 August. The state prosecution service (Fiscalía) reported on its Twitter account on 31 August that raids carried out in eastern parts of the country had netted 314 members of the Mara 18, the country's other big gang network. This appeared to be the Shark Operation the prosecution service cited on its account, carried out by "land and sea" in the department of Usulután.

Colombia lost over two million hectares of forests since 1960s

Millions of hectares of woodlands equivalent to the size of a province, were destroyed in Colombia between 1967 and 2012 thanks to farming, war, mining and a range of criminal activities. The Agustín Codazzi Geographical Institute (IGAC) and IDEAM, two public research bodies, found in the recently published Suelos y tierras de Colombia, a paper on the state of the Colombia's natural landscapes, that the country lost just over 2.4 million hectares (24,000 square kilometres) of forest cover in that period, about equivalent to the size of the central department of Cundinamarca that includes Bogotá, El Espectador reported on 30 August. The bodies found that in 1967 the country had 68, 223,717 hectares of forests - or 60 per cent of its entire area - and this dropped to 65,767,667 hectares in 2012, or 58 per cent of the country's surface. About 60 million hectares consisted of primary or secondary forests and the rest, woodlands interspersed with farmed land. The worst damage was done from the 1960s to the 1980s, the IGAC found. Caracol radio cited its head, Juan Antonio Nieto Escalante, as urging more efforts to protect the forest now, as the country's civil war winds down.

Salta in Argentina to ban plastic bags

The district of Salta in northern Argentina is phasing out the sale and use of plastic bags by the end of 2016 to curb pollution, the regional daily El Tribuno reported on 30 August. The daily stated that single-bag use had already fallen by 70 per cent since early 2016, when the municipality began discouraging their use in coordination with supermarkets. Their sale or distribution will be forbidden from 30 December, it stated, while shops and supermarkets were to starting selling and promoting the use of cloth or reusable bags from 1 September. Plastic, which takes hundreds of years or longer to disappear, has become one of the world's main pollutants, in spite of its utility.