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Ecuador TV anchor forced to apologize to gays, blacks

On orders from Ecuador's media regulator, a television news presenter publicly apologized Wednesday for having used the words "fags" and "blacks" in an on-air comment. Alfredo Pinoargote, of the private Ecuavisa channel, was ordered to apologize after a ruling party lawmaker complained to the Superintendence of Information and Communication that his remarks were "discriminatory." At issue were comments Pinoargote made during his interview program earlier this year about free speech in Ecuador.

Ecuador hydroelectric blast kills four Chinese workers

Four Chinese technicians died in an explosion Tuesday while building a hydroelectric plant in southern Ecuador. The victims were explosives experts working on the Chinese-financed Sopladora plant, a project leader told AFP Wednesday. "These people were working on the expansion of a loading pit at the time of the explosion, whose cause is still being investigated," Tito Torres, manager of state-run Hidropaute, the company in charge of construction, said Wednesday.

Ecuador president says Twitter account hacked

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has said his Twitter account was hacked, blaming right-wing foreign groups for posting false tweets on it. The messages were removed several minutes after being posted on his account, @MashiRafael, he wrote late Thursday on his microblogging site. "A few hours ago my Twitter was hacked, and they sent false tw (tweets) with the usual outrages," he said.

Ecuadoran lawmaker jailed for slandering president

An Ecuadoran lawmaker has been sentenced in absentia to 18 months in prison for slandering President Rafael Correa, with the judge issuing a warrant for his arrest. Opposition member Clever Jimenez was ruled to have defamed Correa by filing charges against the leader in June 2011 for crimes against humanity, stemming from a controversial 2010 police mutiny that left 10 people dead. The attorney for Jimenez told AFP late Friday that his client was traveling to the southeastern Amazonian province of Chinchipe, which he represents in the National Assembly.

Venezuela looks to S. American leaders as toll hits 20

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called Thursday for a meeting of South American leaders over the growing turmoil facing his country, where the death toll from a month of anti-government protests hit 20. Ahead of the meeting, due to take place next week in Chile, Maduro blamed the month-old unrest shaking his oil-rich country on a minority sector of the opposition. "It's a tiny group belonging to the opposition and they have put the rest of the opposition in a dire situation," Maduro told CNN in an interview.

Ecuador President Correa hints at 2017 re-election bid

Ecuador President Rafael Correa on Saturday said he may seek re-election in 2017, despite previously supporting constitutional measures limiting the country's leader to only two consecutive terms. Correa said in his weekly radio address he was considering running for office after local elections last week saw his ruling Alianza Pais party suffer a series of reverses. In office since 2007, the socialist president, one of the most prominent leftist Latin American leaders, was re-elected in February 2013 for a second four-year term, the last allowed under the constitution.

Ecuador's president suffers 'painful' election setback

Leftist Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa acknowledged a "painful" setback in mayoral elections as early results Monday showed the opposition decisively winning races in the capital Quito and other major cities. Seen as an important test of popularity for Correa, a populist in the mold of the late Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Sunday's polls delivered big victories to center-right candidates, according to early results and exit polls. "It's good we've had this shakeup," Correa said. But "it's very painful what happened in Quito, and dangerous."

Correa government loses Ecuador capital in local election

By Alexandra Valencia QUITO (Reuters) - Ecuador's opposition won control of the capital Quito and one other major city in the oil-producing Andean nation in elections on Sunday, preliminary results showed, in a blow to the socialist government of President Rafael Correa. Opposition candidates won elections to run the local governments of the capital Quito and industrial city Cuenca, and maintained control of the economic capital and port city of Guayaquil in an unsettling result for the government.

Ecuador polls seen as test of president's popularity

Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa is warning his "citizens' revolution is at stake" when more than 11 million people vote Sunday in local elections, including in the capital Quito. In power since 2007, Correa, a leading figure of the left in Latin America, has been personally involved in the campaign, which is seen as a test of his popularity in the face of an emboldened opposition.

3 Die in helicopter crash in Ecuador

Quito, Feb 21 (EFE).- The bodies of three soldiers who died in a helicopter crash in Ecuador's central highlands were recovered Friday by specialized teams and will be taken to Quito. The Defense Ministry said in a communique that the victims were taken to the town of Riobamba for legal procedures and are expected to be taken later to the capital. In Quito, the soldiers will received military honors in a funeral chapel being prepared at Mariscal Sucre Airbase.
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