UNASUR nixes US sanctions
South American governments have rejected an effort by US lawmakers to apply sanctions on Caracas over human rights concerns. Foreign ministers from the 12-member Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) issued a statement on Friday saying that the proposed legislation would constitute a violation of the nation’s internal affairs and undermine attempts by regional diplomats and the Vatican to foster dialogue between the government and the opposition. Sanctions represent “an obstacle for the Venezuelan people can overcome their difficulties with independence, and in democratic peace,” according to a statement after a union meeting in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. The US House of Representatives on Wednesday is expected to debate a bipartisan bill that would order US President Barack Obama’s administration to ban visas and freeze the assets of Venezuelan officials who have committed abuses over the past three months of unrest. Similar legislation has already cleared the US Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations.
Amanda grows to hurricane
Storm Amanda has gained strength and is now a Category Three hurricane, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center reported on Saturday. At 3am that day, the eye of Amanda was far from land, about 1,07km southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and heading further out to sea in a west-northwest direction, the center said. Amanda was packing sustained winds of 185kph making it a Category Three storm on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale. The storm is moving at near 5kph and was forecast to turn north-northwest yesterday.
Actor jailed over child porn
A Spanish-language actor from a popular show by broadcaster Univision has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for child pornography. Adonis Losada faced a possible 50-year sentence after being convicted in February of 66 child pornography charges until Palm Beach County Circuit Court Judge Karen Miller threw out all but four charges on Friday. Assistant State Attorney Gregory Schiller told the Palm Beach Post he may appeal Miller’s decision. Losada still faces child pornography charges in Miami-Dade County and has been jailed since 2009. He has represented himself since firing his attorney before trial.
Woman jailed for killing son
A Samoan woman who acknowledged killing her newborn son at a Washington convent where she was studying to become a nun has been sentenced to four years in prison. Sosefina Amoa was sentenced on Friday in DC Superior Court after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Her lawyer said she was shocked and panicked when she put a wool garment over the baby’s nose and mouth, smothering the boy in February. Amoa had arrived in the US from Samoa less than a week before delivering the baby at the Little Sisters of the Poor convent.
State readies electric chair
Tennessee’s top prisons official says the state is “ready as needed” to use the electric chair if it cannot get drugs for lethal injections. A corrections spokeswoman on Friday said the state does not have a supply of the drugs, which have become scarcer following a European-led boycott. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam signed a bill into law on Thursday allowing the state to electrocute inmates if it cannot obtain the chemicals. It is the first such law in the country.