Sat, Jun 09, 2018 - Page 6 News List

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Agencies

GUATEMALA

Volcano death toll hits 109

The death toll from the eruption of the Volcan de Fuego has reached 109, officials said on Thursday. The National Forensic Sciences Agency said morgues had received the remains of 109 victims of Sunday’s eruption. The previous toll was 99. Seven of the latest victims were in a temporary morgue installed close to the impact zone, in the now-devastated community of San Miguel Los Lotes in Escuintla, the agency said. Another three victims were transferred to the capital’s central morgue, having succumbed to their injuries while hospitalized. Authorities temporarily on Thursday suspended rescue and recovery operations in areas devastated by the volcano as heavy rainfall, still-hot volcanic material and additional explosions threatened to cause dangerous landslides.

NICARAGUA

Bishops meet with Ortega

Catholic bishops on Thursday met with President Daniel Ortega on reviving stalled talks to quell a political crisis rights groups claim has left 134 people dead — but emerged from the closed-door meeting without a formal plan to head back to the negotiating table. Ortega requested a “period of reflection” to consider a proposal from the Nicaraguan Episcopal Conference, which said the bishops had presented “the pain and anguish of people who have suffered in recent weeks” during the “frank and sincere meeting.” The group did not elaborate on the details of its plan, but in a statement said that it “reflects the feelings of many sectors of Nicaraguan society” and was awaiting a reaction from Ortega. Managua auxiliary bishop Silvio Jose Baez said Ortega “asked us for a period of reflection to give us an answer, which we asked he give us in writing” — after which they would consider the feasibility of renewed negotiations.

SOUTH AFRICA

Jacob Zuma returns to court

Former president Jacob Zuma, who was ousted by his own party in February, yesterday arrived at the Durban High Court for his second appearance on corruption charges relating to a US$2.5 billion arms deal in the late 1990s. Zuma faces 16 charges of fraud, racketeering and money laundering relating to a deal to buy European military hardware after the end of apartheid in 1994. State prosecutors and Zuma’s lawyers are expected to argue over a start date for the trial. The national prosecutor this week turned down a request by the 76-year-old to delay yesterday’s hearing pending the outcome of a separate legal challenge over the state paying his legal fees. The speed with which prosecutors have moved against Zuma is a sign of his waning influence since he was replaced by President Cyril Ramaphosa four months ago. Ramaphosa has made the fight against corruption a top priority as he seeks to woo foreign investment and revamp an ailing economy.

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