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Brazil's Fernando de Noronha Island experiences worst drought in 50 years

Rio de Janeiro, Mar 16 (EFE).- Almost 340 kilometers (211 miles) out to sea, where one can no longer see the Brazilian coast, the island of Fernando de Noronha, a natural paradise protected by the country's environmental laws, is suffering through its worse drought of the past 50 years, a dry spell that has virtually exhausted the island's only fresh water spring.

Spanish singer Enrique Bunbury to perform in Guatemala

Guatemala City, Mar 16 (EFE).- Spanish singer Enrique Bunbury will perform in Guatemala City this week to promote his new album, "Palosanto," concert organizers said. The former front man for Heroes del Silencio will appear in concert on Tuesday. Bunbury is scheduled to arrive in the Central American country on Sunday from the Dominican Republic, Noches VIP company representative Luis Hernandez said. The concert at Guatemala City's Teatro Nacional is expected to be sold out.

B.C. government and Tla'amin nation on the cusp of reaching treaty deal

POWELL RIVER, B.C. - The B.C. government says it's one step closer to ratifying a treaty that would grant self-determination to the Tla'amin First Nation. The government says it has signed an agreement that would spell out the band's ownership and management of minerals, forestry and other resources on treaty lands as well as fishing and gathering rights. The government says the treaty will provide the band with a $29.7 million capital transfer, $6.9 million in economic development funding and a $250,000 fishing vessel fund.

Guyana man torches house, kills wife and four kids inside

A businessman late Friday night burned down his house and store in northwestern Guyana, killing his wife and four children who were trapped inside, police said Saturday. One of the man daughters, aged 12, rushed to a nearby police station to warn that her father and mother were fighting and he had threatened to burn down the house, Guyana Police Force spokesman Ivelaw Whittaker said. Police quickly responded and found the building on fire.

Chilean state apologizes to Mapuches for taking their land

Santiago, Mar 13 (EFE).- The government on Thursday apologized in the name of the Chilean state to the indigenous Mapuche tribe "for taking their lands" and said it has a pending debt in terms of public policies that will allow the La Araucania region, where 600,000 of the Indians live, to emerge from poverty. The statement was made by the new governor of the zone, Francisco Huenchumilla, one of the regional officials named by newly inaugurated President Michelle Bachelet.

Brazil's Rousseff unveils plan to improve urban mass transit

Brasilia, Mar 13 (EFE).- Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday unveiled a 3.8-billion-reais ($1.6-billion) plan to improve urban mass transit in seven cities. The investment program, which will cover the construction of new bus, train and metro networks to meet "the demands of a population that wants a better quality of life," will benefit the federal capital, Brasilia, and six state capitals: Goiania, Palmas, Joao Pessoa, Campo Grande, Sao Luis and Natal.

Australians, Canadians held for stripping at Machu Picchu

Police detained four male tourists, two Australians and two Canadians, for several hours on Wednesday after filming and taking nude photos at Peru's famed Machu Picchu, local authorities said. The culture ministry has put up signs at the world-famous Inca site warning that people taking their clothes off there was a "crime against culture" and would lead to immediate expulsion from the area.

Ex-leftist rebel wins El Salvador presidency

Former leftist rebel commander Salvador Sanchez Ceren has won last Sunday's presidential election in El Salvador by a razor-thin margin, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal said. He inherits leadership of a country beset with widespread poverty and violence from powerful street gangs. He beat rightist Norman Quijano by less than half a percentage point, said the tribunal, which now must give the latter three days to appeal the tally.

Judge rules oilsands exploration on Saskatchewan First Nation is legal

DILLON, Sask. - A Court of Queen's Bench Justice has ruled against the Buffalo River Dene Nation in its attempt to halt oilsands exploration on what the band calls its traditional territory. The legal action was launched last summer after two exploration permits were issued to Scott Land and Lease. The First Nation believes granting the permits was a violation of treaty rights and says the policy of duty to consult was ignored. But Justice Grant M. Currie has ruled the issuing of exploration permits does not "engage the duty to consult."

Caribbean nations agree to seek slavery reparations from Europe

By Aileen Torres-Bennett KINGSTON (Reuters) - Caribbean leaders are moving forward with a plan to seek reparations from the former slave-owning states of Europe, according to a lawyer for the island nations. The Caribbean Community (Caricom) approved a 10-point plan for reparations at a two-day meeting in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that was due to wrap up on Tuesday, said Martyn Day, a U.K.-based lawyer at Leigh Day, who is working on the case.
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