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The Red Zone: A place where butch lesbians live in fear

The Red Zone: A place where butch lesbians live in fear

Three mysterious deaths and dozens of violent attacks on butch lesbians, or camionas, have put lesbians in Chile's Fifth region on red alert.

Nicole Saavedra Bahamondes' family knew she was not a morning person.

Especially at weekends, the 23-year-old did not leave her bedroom early – and she knew her mother wouldn't disturb her in her cosy bed, still laden with the cuddly toys from her childhood.

At about 11:00 on a Saturday, Nicole would usually emerge and walk slowly to the kitchen in search of coffee.

She would blearily exchange words with her mother, Olga Bahamondes, giving monosyllabic answers to any questions about the night before.

Around 11:30, Nicole would WhatsApp her cousin, María Bahamondes, who lived five minutes away with her husband and two young daughters. Often they would agree to meet at the farmers' market in their sleepy mining town – El Melón, in Chile's mountainous Fifth region – then go back to María's house for lunch with her two young children.

But this Saturday morning, 18 June 2016, was different.

Nicole had messaged her mother the evening before to say she would be staying overnight at a party with friends in Quillota, a town some 30 minutes by bus from their home. Then at 07:00 she sent a voice-note to say she was on her way back.

When Olga woke and listened to the voice-note she assumed Nicole was already home and resting in bed. But when she hadn't emerged by midday, Olga popped her head into her daughter's room.

It was empty, and the bed had not been slept in.

Olga called Nicole immediately, but there was no ringing tone. This was unusual. Nicole's phone was rarely off.

Olga began to worry.

Nicole's Instagram showed that she and her friends had been in high spirits just hours earlier.

She'd uploaded five videos of the group laughing, sitting on mattresses on the floor, surrounded by cushions, empty Coca-Cola bottles and cigarette lighters.

In the last 15-second Instagram video posted just after midnight, a young woman with long dark hair and her hoodie up is seen scrolling through her smartphone. The camera then pans to a man in his early 20s, who sings an off-key version of Lana Del Ray's Video Games.

Nicole, who is out of shot and filming the video, can be heard giggling.

Then there is social media silence.

María and Nicole had been especially close. Growing up, the cousins and their mothers had lived together in one house.

"Nicole and I always had a special bond. We were raised by single mothers who were sisters. We were more sisters than cousins," says María. "We saw each other every day, and after I got married and moved out, every few days."

María was protective of her younger cousin.

"I have always said that she lived in another world," says María. "Because she didn't see the bad side in people. I think that is what played against her."

Nicole was vulnerable, María felt, because she openly identified as a lesbian – and not just as a lesbian, but as a camiona, Chilean slang for a butch lesbian.

Nicole was proud to be a camiona, it was the core of her identity. But this made her visible in their small, conservative community, and she had been beaten up because of it.

"She was always being insulted. She was 14 years old when she had her first girlfriend. Men sometimes chased her and said they were going to correct her, to 'make her a woman'," María says.

In 2015, a neo-Nazi gang member brutally attacked her, yelling lesbophobic abuse.

"If her friend hadn't arrived, Nicole probably would have died. He had put his boot on her neck and was beating her and beating and beating her."

After that, María felt uneasy whenever Nicole left the house alone. So that Saturday morning, when Nicole couldn't be reached, she had a deep sense of foreboding.

When there had still been no word from Nicole 24 hours later, the family notified the police and María organised relatives into search parties, to retrace Nicole's last known movements. The first point of call was the house in Quillota where Nicole had spent the night with friends.

The friends had already explained that Nicole had set off for the bus stop at 07:00 and that they had heard nothing from her after that.

On Sunday they still had no news.

"We searched and searched for her," María says.

They walked the streets of the town. They marched through the farms and avocado plantations that surround it. Nothing.

The search continued, but on Friday 24 June, almost a week after Nicole's disappearance, a sickening feeling washed over María.

"My heart told me that things were wrong," she says.

She returned to her house and kneeled.

"I prayed to God asking Him to help us find her body, because now I felt that Nicole was dead. That day I felt that Nicole wasn't coming back."

The following day, police found her body dumped by a farm track not far from Limache Reservoir, 15 minutes away from the bus stop where she was last seen. As we approach the spot on a hill pierced with pylons, María walks a little ahead. Occasionally she points out piles of horse manure to avoid on the brown earth.

"It's strange," she says quietly. "There used to be more shrubs around here. Someone must have cut them down."

Then she stops walking.

"Here," she says softly, nodding slightly with her head, to a patch of earth, surrounded by leafless bushes and horse manure. She looks away.

The police files say that Nicole was killed by repeated blows to the back of her head. Her body had numerous open wounds and bruising. Her hands had been tied behind her back. Her wallet, money intact, was still in the pocket of her trousers. Nicole's killer had not wanted to rob her.

María pauses.

"It was really shocking. Really shocking. We never expected this – that she would have been tortured and beaten like this. You don't think that someone you love is going to die in circumstances like that."

The police said they had no leads that might help them identify the killer. But María felt sure she knew the motive.

Nicole had her own look.

The dozens of distinctive, artfully cropped selfies on her Instagram page displayed it boldly. Her short, inky-dark hair, shaved close on the sides and a few inches long at the top, either flopped over her eyes or was pulled under a baseball cap. She mostly wore baggy jeans and hoodies. She wore plugs in large ear piercings, which elongated her earlobes and left in "flesh tunnels" when she removed them.

She had a signature pose too – squinting into the lens broodingly, barely smiling. At first glance, Nicole's profile could have been that of a teenage skater boy.

That was intentional – she didn't want to look feminine.

The word "camiona" derives from the Spanish camionera – which means female lorry driver. It was once used as an insult towards butch lesbians in the Spanish-speaking world, but young lesbians have now reclaimed it. It's a distinct lesbian identity in Chile, says Karen Vergara, a lesbian activist in Quillota, the town where Nicole went missing. Camionas, she says, crop their hair short and wear "masculine" clothes – low-slung baggy jeans, checked shirts and baseball caps.

"Camionas do not want to identify with typically feminine styles imposed on women through a male gaze," says Karen.

"The clothing is a big part of that. It's a way to recognise each other in the street. In the lesbian community, camionas are our courageous sisters who, despite lesbophobia, dare to show their lesbianism."

It was this identity, Nicole's cousin believes, that sealed her fate.

"I think Nicole was murdered for being a lesbian, for her way of dressing," says María. "Because she dressed in a more masculine way."

Lesbians in Chile call the Fifth region – the region where Nicole lived – the Red Zone, because of its history of anti-lesbian violence.

"How to describe the Fifth region to people who have never been here?" Karen Vergara asks. "I would start by saying that we are on high alert here, because of lesbophobia."

Chile is made up of 16 administrative regions. The Fifth, about half way between the country's northern and southernmost tips, is these days officially called Valparaíso region after the port city that is its capital. But much of the region is rural, dominated by the booming avocado industry.

Feminist lawyer Silvana del Valle says the region has "an air about it" – including a machismo that leaves minorities feeling vulnerable, and some of the most active neo-Nazi gangs in the country. According to two people who attended the party in Quillota, the night before Nicole died, a neo-Nazi was also present for at least some of the time, and this made Nicole uncomfortable.

"Valparaíso is strange," agrees Sebastian Ayala, a film director making a documentary about the history of lesbian attacks in Chile. "When you talk to camionas and trans women in Chile, women who are outwardly more masculine-looking, they all know about Valparaíso and they try not to go there. They know about the attacks."

The most recent took place on 17 March, in a square in Valparaíso city, when a group of young men shouted lesbophobic expletives as they whipped a young camiona with chains, leaving her bloodied and badly shaken.

"Of course there's paranoia because of those attacks, but the feeling that the LGBT community were under attack, well that had been going on for decades," says Ayala. "Since Divine, probably."

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Divine nightclub, a converted townhouse in Valparaíso city, was the hangout for the Fifth region's LGBT community in the early 1990s. On 4 September 1993, the club opened after refurbishment to an excited group of about 60 people. There were new carpets on its floors and walls and fishermen's nets hanging from its roof – a cheeky nod to the port, and also to sailors, who had become a kitsch symbol of '90s gay culture.

Chile had just beaten Poland in the penalty shootout to take third place in the Fifa Under-17 World Championship and the mood was high as drag queens, lesbians and bi and gay men danced to pop music. But within hours 16 people had died in a fire so severe that only two could be identified without dental records. It had been caused by the wires of the lighting system overheating, police said, but many survivors and relatives of those who died suspected foul play.

It wasn't as if there was no motive. Divine, which was just a few years old, had not been a popular addition to the neighbourhood.


We feel under threat – as soon as you step out of your home you are in danger

The club and its staff had been receiving threats for months, and women complained of verbal abuse whenever they entered or left. A group of survivors formed a group called Acción Gay (Gay Action), demanding another investigation into the fire. They are still active today.

"It became a simmering paranoia with that generation," says Sebastian Ayala, "a question mark."

It's not clear whether Nicole knew about the fire at Divine, but she knew about the murder of María Pía Castro. Nicole had a few things in common with María. Both were young women from the Fifth region. They were from single-parent, working-class households. They were camionas.

The death of the 19-year-old footballer from the small town of Olmué sent shockwaves through Chile's lesbian community in 2008. She had faced abuse from local boys – she had been hit, yelled at, spat on – but hadn't stopped her from dressing the way she did, or telling her friends that she was a lesbian.

"But telling friends about your private life in a small community has consequences," says Karen Vergara. "It doesn't stay a private conversation."

On 13 February 2008, she was found dead, her body so badly burnt that she could only be identified through DNA tests. A post-mortem examination showed that she had also experienced a severe blow to the back of her head. Her body had been dumped on a hill, just miles away from where Nicole's would be found eight years later.

The case was closed in 2017, as no suspects had been identified.

María, then Nicole. No killer identified in either case. Feminist and lesbian groups could not fail to be deeply troubled.

Then, a year after Nicole's killing – on 7 March 2017 – the body of a third young camiona was found in the Fifth region. The news terrified women already on edge, confirming the region as a danger zone for young lesbians. But this murder was different.

Twenty-three-year-old Susana Sanhueza was found in a rubbish bag inside the town hall in San Felipe, where the animal rights group she worked for rented office space.

She had been dead a week.

WhatsApp messages read out in court reveal that she had been meeting a friend, fellow activist Cristian Muñoz, who later told police that he witnessed Susana having a seizure in the office and put her body in the rubbish bag, believing she was dead. He denies murder and his family say he has been admitted to a psychiatric ward while awaiting trail.

Susana's family believe that she was killed because Cristian was in love with her and was frustrated that he couldn't have a relationship with her. Some argue that Susana's death was not a result of homophobic prejudice, but Karen Vergara disagrees.

"We, the lesbian community in the region, still count Susana's death as lesbophobia," she says. "Whether it was a murder or Susana did suffer from a seizure, Cristian was pursuing a woman who had told him that she would always be unavailable to him. His lack of acceptance that she was a lesbian, and then not alerting the police, speaks to a hatred of gay women. That is misogyny and homophobia combined. It's lesbophobia."

Susana's death caused a number of WhatsApp groups to spring up in the Fifth region, for lesbians to warn each other of potential dangers, or of verbal and physical attacks. Admins of three groups told the BBC that there are at least three or four alerts a week.

"We call the Fifth region Chile's red zone for lesbians because of María, Nicole and Susana," says Karen Vergara. "There are many other attacks. Not as brutal or fatal as these but enough to land lesbians – especially camionas – in hospital. "We as lesbians are always on red alert in this town [Quillota]. Day and night, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. We feel under threat. As soon as you step out of your home you are in danger.

"When other lesbians come to see us from Santiago, they feel our fear. This region is like that."

But in February this year, a violent attack on a camiona in Santiago, Chile's capital, showed that lesbophobic bloodshed could occur there too.

In the early hours of Valentine's Day, 24-year-old Carolina Torres and her girlfriend, Estefania Opazo, were walking home with another friend from a lacklustre football match. Carolina's favourite football team, the University of Chile – also known as La U – had just drawn 0-0 with Melgar in the third phase of the Libertadores Cup. It had been a forgettable game.

The trio made their way down a busy street in the Santiago suburb of Pudahuel, close to where Carolina lived with her mother and father. Carolina and Estefania chose not to hold hands to avoid offending anyone.

Suddenly, Carolina felt a force to the back of her head. Then darkness. She had fallen unconscious, and would remain in a coma for a week.

She suffered a fractured skull, a broken nose, internal bleeding and permanent damage to her hearing. There were two male attackers. One had used a large wooden pole to hit her repeatedly on the back of her head, only stopping when Estefania threw herself on top of Carolina, using her body as a shield.

This is significant, says Carolina's mother, Mariela. Because unlike Carolina, who identifies as a camiona and dresses accordingly, Estefania is femme – a more feminine lesbian identity. The attackers targeted Carolina and not Estefania, says Mariela, because she represented an "unacceptable" face of womanhood. It was not just her sexual orientation that prompted violence, it was her appearance as a camiona.

"I want to make it very clear they were trying to kill her," she adds. "There is no other way of looking at it. The fact that she is here is a miracle."

Carolina knew one of her alleged attackers.

"Before this attack he threatened me. He said, 'I am going to kill you.' He said he was going to shoot me with a gun. He called me a lesbian and swore at me. He said, 'Why do you dress like a man?'"

Shortly after the BBC's interview with Carolina, two brothers, Miguel and Reinaldo Cortés Arancibia, were arrested and charged with attempted murder.


If people don't pay attention to this and do something about it – it's going to get worse

Lesbian activists tell the BBC that the arrest was unexpected, even though there was CCTV footage and the attackers were known to the victim. Generally,Read More – Source




Venezuela crisis: Army and police officials detained, activists say

Six members of Venezuela's military and police have been arrested, activists say, weeks after a failed uprising against President Nicolás Maduro.

They include an Air Force brigadier general and former police officers. The government has not yet commented.

Some of the arrests took place as UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet finished a visit to the country.

She called on Mr Maduro to release people arrested for peacefully protesting.

President Maduro has intensified a crackdown on the opposition since a failed military uprising led by opposition leader Juan Guaidó on 30 April.

More than 700 people have been detained in Venezuela for political reasons, including 100 members of the military, according to local rights group Penal Forum.

Air Force Brig Gen Miguel Sisco Mora was arrested on Friday in a parking lot in the city of Guatire, some 40km (25 miles) east of the capital Caracas, his daughter said on Twitter.

Navy Corvette Capt Rafael Costa was arrested in nearby Guarenas also on Friday, according to his wife, while retired Air Force Col Francisco Torres was arrested by members of the Sebin intelligence agency in his home in Caracas, his daughter said.

The other arrested included retired Air Force Col Miguel Castillo Cedeño, and José Valladares and Miguel Angel Ibarreto, former high-ranking officials at the forensic police agency (CICPC), Penal Forum said.

Skip Twitter post by @ForoPenal

ATENCIÓN: familiares reportan al FP la desaparición forzosa de:

Francisco Torres, Cnel FAV (R)

Jose Gregorio Valladares, ex CICPC

Miguel Angel Ibarreto ex comisario CICPC

Miguel Carmelo Sisco, Gral Brigada FAV

Miguel Castillo Cedeño, Cnel FAV (R)

— Foro Penal (@ForoPenal) June 24, 2019

End of Twitter post by @ForoPenal

Organization of American States Secretary-General Luis Almagro, a vocal critic of President Maduro, has called on the country's "dictatorship" to provide information about those detained, saying the "repression and torture must end in Venezuela".

Speaking in Caracas at the end of her three-day visit, Ms Bachelet called for the release of "all those who are detained or deprived of their liberty for exercising their civil rights in a peaceful manner".

Mr Maduro, whose government has been accused by activists of serious human rights violations, said he would take her "suggestions, recommendations and proposals seriously".


World Cup 2019: Brazil’s Marta gives emotional speech to next generation

World Cup 2019: Brazil’s Marta gives emotional speech to next generation

Brazil legend Marta gave an emotional speech calling on her country's young players to follow in her generation's footsteps after being knocked out of the Women's World Cup by hosts France.

Amandine Henry's extra-time winner gave France a 2-1 last-16 win to end Marta's hopes of winning a first World Cup.

Marta became the leading scorer at men's and women's World Cups last week.

"Women's football depends on you to survive," said the 33-year-old. "Think about it, value it more."

Speaking on the pitch following the defeat in Le Havre, and with tears in her eyes, she added: "We're asking for support, you have to cry at the beginning and smile at the end.

"It's about wanting more, it's about training more, it's about looking after yourself more, it's about being ready to play 90 minutes and then 30 minutes more.

"So that's why I am asking the girls. There's not going to be a Formiga forever, there's not going to be a Marta forever, there's not going to be a Cristiane."

Marta's achievements in numbers

The six-time world player of the year became the first footballer to score in five separate World Cups and her 17 goals represent more than a quarter of Brazil's overall goals in the competition.

But despite winning the Golden Ball as top scorer at the 2007 finals, Marta has never won the illustrious trophy to add to her two Olympic silver medals.

"I am proud of our performance, the grit that we showed until the end," she said. "That's the feeling that I will keep with me. Those are the kind of matches that will help women's football to continue to grow."

Marta has been vocal in her quest for equality in women&#Read More – Source



Panregional Marketing Expenditures to Reach US $740 Million in 2019 (NEW REPORT)

Panregional Marketing Expenditures to Reach US $740 Million in 2019 (NEW REPORT)

Portada expects Latin American-Panregional Marketing expenditures to reach US$ 740 million in 2019. Miami continues to be the main panregional marketing and media hub, although Mexico City and other centers have an increasing weight. This is one of the insights of the just-published 2019-2020 Panregional Marketing and Media Report, which provides Latin American Panregional Marketing Expenditures forecasts for the 2019-2024 period.

Portada's 2019-2020 Panregional Marketing and Media Media Report provides data, intelligence, insights, and forecasts about the Latin American Panregional Marketing Services sector from 2019 to 2024. A major tool for corporate expansion into Latin America and sales-planning/intelligence for marketing vendors offering services to major brands targeting the Latin American consumer. The 75-page report, which includes a market volume and growth forecast model based on a survey of more than 100 brand and media agency executives conducted by Portada, answers a myriad of questions including the 7 below:

1. What is the size of the panregional marketing sector?
The overall actual Latin American Panregional Marketing Services Sector, understood as decisions taken out of several marketing hubs (*see question 2) including Miami, Mexico City, New York, London and others, has a volume of approximately U.S $ 740 million a year (2019), according to the report. Measured in influence, although not necessarily in direct purchasing power, the brand and media agency executives located at those centers influence approximately US $2.26 billion a year (see chart below.)

Actual and "Influence" on Panregional Marketing Expenditures

2. How is panregional marketing defined? (*)
Panregional marketing is understood as marketing services purchases for two or more Latin American countries by clients (brands) or media agencies located outside of those countries.

3.Which city is currently the largest hub for panregional marketing?
Miami/South Florida is the largest hub followed by Mexico City, New York, London and Sao Paulo. The report provides overall market volumes for marketing decisions taken out of the above hubs from 2016 to 2024.

4.What media category is increasing its share of panregional media buys?
The structure of the panregional media buy out of Miami has changed substantially over the last decade with Pay TV- ten years ago the clear leader – only capturing 20% of the share in 2019 and digital media increasing its share to 60%. The 2019-2020 Panregional Market and Media Report includes expenditures and market share forecasts (2016 to 2024) for the below market services types (both overall as well as for Miami/South Florida):
Outsourced Content Marketing Services
Outsourced Social Media Related Services
Public Relations Services
Media Planning and Buying Services
Paid Media (Overall)
-Pay-TV (Cable and Satellite)
-Out of Home
-OTHER (Including: Movie
-Advertising, Inflight, In-Game
-Social Media
-Audio Advertising

5. Does the 75-page research report also provide intelligence on Panregional Marketing Expenditures on the brand/client side?
Yes, the report displays Panregional Marketing Expenditures volume forecasts (2019-2024) for the below ad -categories.
-Financial Services
Other (including Automotive, Education
and Health SRead More – Source



SALES LEADS LATAM: PepsiCo Latin America, Procter & Gamble, Cinépolis…

SALES LEADS LATAM: PepsiCo Latin America, Procter & Gamble, Cinépolis…

Sales Leads LatAm is a summary for Corporate Marketers, Media Sales Executives and Advertising Agencies to see what clients are moving into the market and/or targeting Latin American consumers right now.

For prior Sales Leads LatAm editions, click here.

As part of PepsiCos goal for plastics to never become waste, PepsiCo Latin America has been working for the last decade to foster inclusive recycling in the region. Earlier this year, the company launched “Recycling with Purpose,” a circular economy model for Latin America based on consumer involvement and education, inclusive recycling and strengthening of local recycling industries. Today, Peru becomes the first country to implement the program. Through a partnership with ecoins — an initiative founded in Costa Rica that aims to increase the collection of PET materials in exchange for ecoins, a virtual currency — consumers in Peru can now earn discounts on a variety of products and services, in exchange for the collection of recyclable materials, including PET. The ecoins partnership aims to reach 1 million people with recycling awareness in its first year of operation across the region.The second component of the platform is including grassroots recyclers as an integral part of the circular economy model (similar to what The Body Shop is now doing in India). In this regard, PepsiCo Latin America has a long-standing partnership with the nonprofit Ciudad Saludable, a catalyst of the recycling ecosystem in Peru. Today, The PepsiCo Foundation is announcing a $2 million USD grant to Ciudad Saludable, to support the inclusion of 1,000 grassroots recyclers in recycling collection routes across eight countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico and Peru). The program is also expected to indirectly benefit 800,000 people at the community level with improved recycling services, and aims to collect 6,000 tons of recyclable materials.

US consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble will deliver on its promise of fragrance ingredients transparency by the end of the year, the company stated.To help consumers better understand the labels, P&G will also include information on where these ingredients are found in other products, such as in fruits or food.The move towards disclosure is in keeping with broader trends across the industry.P&G competitor Unilever has already disclosed all fragrance ingredients down to 0.01% in its home care, beauty and personal care products in the European and US markets. And cleaning products company SC Johnson has expanded its ingredient disclosure website to cover Latin America (in addition to Asia Pacific, Canada, Europe and the US), for a total of 8,700 products in 35 languages.


Mexican movie chain Cinépolis has announced plans to develop 63 new cinema theatres across Saudi Arabia in the major cites of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Jazan and Najran over the next two years.The largest cinema exhibitor in Latin America and fourth largest exhibition circuit in the world, Cinépolis said six cinemas will be rolled out across the kingdom over the next two years, with the first due to open in Lulu Mall, Dammam, by the end of this year, four scheduled for 2020 and the sixth for 2021.The expansion into Saudi Arabia marks a huge milestone for the global cinema chain and has been made possible by the Kingdoms Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the countrys economy by leveraging non-oil sectors and promote culture and entertainment, said a statement from the company.

2019 NETWORKING SOLUTIONS. To find out about Portada's new networking solutions targeting the decision makers of the above campaigns, please contact Sales Manager Isabel Ojeda at [email protected]

PPRO, the cross-border e-payments specialist, isannouncing the acquisition of Latin American payments provider allpago to create the worlds leadingRead More – Source



Deportations after deal: The new reality for migrants in Mexico

Deportations after deal: The new reality for migrants in Mexico

Mexico is sending thousands of troops to the border with Guatemala as part of a deal with the US to stem the flow of undocumented migrants, mostly from Central America. Photojournalist Encarni Pindado has seen the impact of the harsher policies on the people making their journey north.

It is only 06:00 and at the Suchiate river that separates Mexico and Guatemala, almost a dozen people are jumping on to a fragile-looking inflatable raft, like many others have done over the years.

This is one of the 1,000 spots used by migrants for illegal crossings, and each of them have paid about $3.80 (£3) for a place on the raft to cross these muddy waters. In five minutes, they are all in Mexico.

It has been only a few days since Mexico started deploying thousands of National Guard members to the famously porous border with Guatemala, part of a deal reached with the Trump administration to stem the flow of undocumented migrants to the US.

From the river, migrants usually follow a similar path – up until now, largely undeterred: a bicycle taxi to the community of Ciudad de Hidalgo, then a shared taxi until the city of Tapachula, some 30km (19 miles) to the north.

But things have changed. At an improvised checkpoint on the main road leading to Tapachula, soldiers and the federal police now stop all cars while immigration officials check the identification of people travelling by bus and shared taxis.

Any foreigner caught without proper documentation is taken away and likely to be deported. In 40 minutes, two Cubans, one Honduran and one Guatemalan are detained.

In Comitán, a city some 150km north of Tapachula, 31-year-old Noe is being held in a small room that looks like a jail cell. The Honduran and his three-year-old daughter, Marlene, had travelled for five days by bus, taxi and even on foot, before being detained with other migrants at a checkpoint.

Noe recently lost his job at a factory in Choloma, near San Pedro Sula, from where thousands of other Hondurans have started their journeys to leave behind violence and economic instability. He is devastated with the idea of being sent back but, he says, this is not the end: soon, he will try his luck again.

The imminent deportation makes Armando, also from Honduras, cry. "I'm going to be sent back, to be killed," says the 43-year-old who travelled with his daughter Rosalinda, 11, and nephew Milden, 14.

He could ask for refugee status in Mexico but the agency that deals with requests has seen a cut of 20% to its budget since President Andrés Manuel López Obrador – who had promised a more humane response to migrants – took office in December.

Every night, dozens of migrants sleep outside the agency's offices in Tapachula so they can be the first to try to get an appointment in the morning.

But most of the smuggling of migrants into Mexico actually happens through the jungle and back roads to avoid the immigration checkpoints. It is a multibillion-dollar business, as each person pays between $3,500 and $7,000 for the dangerous journey.

As a result of the new migrant deal, officials estimate that smuRead More – Source




Honduras protests: Military deployed after violence

Honduras has deployed the military across the country after violent anti-government protests left two dead.

Shops were looted and government buildings attacked in the capital, Tegucigalpa. Some roads were blocked with barricades and burning tyres.

Protests against President Juan Orlando Hernández have been building in recent weeks, sparked by proposed health and education reforms.

The conservative leader is also accused of becoming increasingly authoritarian.

The president, who enjoys the staunch support of the US administration, was re-elected in 2017 after changing the constitution to stand for a second four-year term. The election was heavily criticised by opponents and international observers.

Thousands of people have fled Honduras – as well as its neighbours El Salvador and Guatemala – to the US in recent years because of violence and economic instability.

'Why I'm leaving Honduras'
Honduras country profile

Speaking at the presidential palace after meeting senior security officials, President Hernández said the army and the military police would keep roads open and protect private property and the public.

At least 17 people suffered bullet wounds as a result of violence, and two of them died at the HEU university hospital in Tegucigalpa, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Several people have been detained, Efe news agency reports.

There was widespread unrest on Wednesday evening, after members of a riot police force withdrew to their quarters to pressure the government for improved benefits.

Protests continued on Thursday even after the announcement of a deal between the government and truck drivers, whose strikes in pursuit of higher rates for moving freight had affected fuel distribution.

Anger has been building in receRead More – Source



Handbags made in Brazil from seatbelts win ‘Oscar’

Handbags made in Brazil from seatbelts win ‘Oscar’

Two friends have won an award for making bags from old seatbelts – using the proceeds to feed homeless people.

The Leka tote was created by Charlotte Bingham-Wallis, 29, and Maria Costa, 29, who first met while at Sudbury Upper School, Suffolk.

It has won the Best Green Bag of 2019 category at the Independent Handbag Designer Awards in New York.

The tote was created from 10 metres of refurbished seatbelts, eight plastic bottles and scraps of old fabric.

"Our winning bag is a symbol of how waste can be rejuvenated into new products," said Ms Bingham-Wallis, From Belo's director designer who also works part-time as a physiotherapist at Ipswich Hospital.

She set up From Belo – a crowd-funded start-up – with her friend Maria Costa in January 2018.

They manufacture the accessories in Brazil, where Costa now lives.

"We are just school friends inspired by working in poverty-stricken areas that wanted to find a way to elevate a poor community," said Ms Bingham-Wallis.

A percentage of the firm's profits go to a charity located in Belo Horizonte, which From Belo said helps feed about 250 people a day,

"This is the same city where our team of artisans are based who create our products," said Ms Bingham-Wallis.

Women make up 82% of its co-operative workforce and are paid a Read More – Source



Copa America: Luis Suarez scores penalty as Uruguay twice come from behind in Japan draw

Copa America: Luis Suarez scores penalty as Uruguay twice come from behind in Japan draw

Luis Suarez scored a penalty as Uruguay twice came from behind to salvage a draw with Japan in the Copa America.

Koji Miyoshi opened the scoring for Japan but Barcelona forward Suarez levelled from the spot seven minutes later after a controversial decision by the video assistant referee (VAR).

Japan defender Naomichi Ueda appeared to be kicked by Uruguay's Edinson Cavani but was himself penalised.

Miyoshi gave Japan the lead again after the break but Jose Gimenez equalised.

Tournament guests Japan were denied a penalty in Porto Alegre before Miyoshi's second goal after defender Gimenez appeared to foul Shoya Nakajima in the box.

Miyoshi soon restored their lead, pouncing on a ball palmed into his path by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera to score into an open net.

But 15-time Copa America champions Uruguay earned a point through Gimenez, again after just seven minutes, who headed in after dropping his marker.

"[Japan] are young and fast but we know they have a lot of quality. They pressed us well and they didn't let us play the way we wanted," said Suarez, who went close to a late winner but was denied by the crossbar.

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said: "This draw will help us grow because Uruguay is one of the top teams in international football.

"This point will help us develop and boost our confidence."

Uruguay are top of Group C with four points but second-placed Chile can overtake them with victory against Ecuador at 00:00 BST on Saturday.

Uruguay have their final group-stage game against Chile on Monday, while Japan face Ecuador on Tuesday.

Match Stats
Live Text


17LaxaltSubstituted forGonzálezat 28'minutes
8NándezSubstituted forde Arrascaetaat 60'minutes
7LodeiroSubstituted forValverdeat 73'minutes


10de Arrascaeta
23M Silva


19IwataSubstituted forTatsutaat 87'minutes
5UedaBooked at 31mins
11MiyoshiSubstituted forKuboat 83'minutes
10NakajimaBooked at 78mins
20AbeSubstituted forUedaat 67'minutes



Andrés José Rojas Noguera

Match Stats
Home TeamUruguayAway TeamJapan



Shots on Target



Live Text
Posted at

Match ends, Uruguay 2, Japan 2.

Full Time
Posted at 90'+7'

Second Half ends, Uruguay 2, Japan 2.

Posted at 90'+6'

Attempt saved. José Giménez (Uruguay) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Giorgian de Arrascaeta with a cross.

Posted at 90'+6'

Giovanni González (Uruguay) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Posted at 90'+6'

Foul by Shoya Nakajima (Japan).

Posted at 90'+4'

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Uruguay) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Diego Godín with a headed pass.

Posted at 90'+4'

Offside, Japan. Takehiro Tomiyasu tries a through ball, but Ayase Ueda is caught offside.

Posted at 90'+3'

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Posted at 90'+2'

Delay in match because of an injury Ko Itakura (Japan).

Posted at 90'+2'

Foul by Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Uruguay).

Posted at 90'+2'

Ko Itakura (Japan) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Posted at 89'

Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Uruguay) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Giovanni González with a cross.

Posted at 88'

Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Posted at 88'

Foul by Shinji Okazaki (Japan).

Posted at 87'

Substitution, Japan. Yugo Tatsuta replaces Tomoki Iwata.

Posted at 87'

Foul by Rodrigo BenRead More – Source



David Ortiz: Boston Red Sox legend ‘not target of shooting’

David Ortiz: Boston Red Sox legend ‘not target of shooting’

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The shooting of former baseball star David Ortiz in the Dominican Republic earlier this month was a case of mistaken identity, officials say.

The ex-Boston Red Sox player was shot in the back at an outdoor venue in his hometown, Santo Domingo, on 9 June.

The Dominican Republic's attorney general and national police director said the attackers had intended to kill another man sitting at the same table.

Ortiz, 43, has been recovering at a hospital in Boston.

His wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said in a statement on Tuesday that his condition had been upgraded from "guarded" to "good".

Speaking at a news conference on Wednesday, Attorney General Jean Alain Rodríguez said an investigation had revealed that "the object of the criminal attack on David Ortiz was not him".

Mr Rodríguez and Ney Aldrin Bautista, the head of the national police, said the intended victim was a friend of Ortiz, who they identified as Sixto David Fernández.

They named the man suspected of ordering the attempted murder as Victor Hugo Gomez, a fugitive wanted by US authorities who has connections to Mexico's Gulf Cartel drug gang.

He is believed to have hired the attackers to kill Mr Fernández – who was identified as his cousin – for turning him in to drug investigators in 2011, the officials said.

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Eleven arrests have so far been made in connection with the attack, including the alleged gunman, drivers Read More – Source