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Latin America & Caribbean

The Galaxy Leader commercial ship, seized by Yemen's Houthis last month, is seen off the coast of al-Salif, Yemen, December 5, 2023.

REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
49: At least 49 people are confirmed dead, and 140 are missing after a boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of Yemen. The vessel was carrying roughly 260 people, mainly from Somalia and Ethiopia, to Yemen, where they would have continued the treacherous onward journey to the wealthy Gulf kingdoms in search of work. Despite being wracked by a brutal, decade-long civil war, Yemen is a major immigration route, with some 380,000 migrants in the country right now.
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Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador hands over a ceremonial baton of command to Claudia Sheinbaum after she was elected by the ruling National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) as its candidate to succeed him in 2024 in the presidential election, in Mexico City, Mexico September 7, 2023.

REUTERS/Henry Romero

In her first press conference since winning the Mexican election in a landslide earlier this month, president-elect Claudia Sheinbaumbacked a highly controversial plan to introduce a popular vote for the country’s Supreme Court justices.

The reform is the brainchild of current President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, aka AMLO, a charismatic left(ish) populist whose Morena party won a supermajority in Congress and fell just shy of one in the Senate.

Directly electing Supreme Court justices via popular vote would put Mexico in the company of just one other country that we know of: Bolivia, where AMLO’s ideological cousin Evo Morales instituted the practice in 2009.

AMLO and his supporters say the move would introduce more accountability to a system long dominated by corrupt elites.

But critics say it would dangerously politicize the justice system, upending the rule of law right as Mexico tries to catch an investment boom from “nearshoring” – that is, the trend of US-oriented companies moving their factories out of Asia as a way to skirt US-China trade tensions and avoid future global supply chain issues.

The skeptics could be right: The Mexican peso fell 2% after Sheinbaum’s comments.

Bolivian Vice President David Choquehuanca and President Luis Arce chew coca leaves during the celebration of the "acullico" tradition, where coca leaves are shared and alternative products made with coca are shown, in La Paz, Bolivia January 11, 2023.

REUTERS/Claudia Morales

Bolivia is diversifying its coca leaf products – from soaps and shampoos to a buzzy new beer. La Paz’s El Viejo Roble Distillery has launched a coca-infused brew set to hit the market at only $2 a bottle. It will be added to the list of its other coca-flavored drinks, including rum and vodka.

When can you try it? Getting this beer to global markets may prove challenging. Although coca-leaf products are legal and crucial to the Bolivian economy, these products are not in many other countries owing to their UN narcotic classification. Still, Bolivia is trying: It has initiated the coca review process to repeal its drug status with the support of fellow cocaine-leading countries Colombia and Mexico.

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Claudia Sheinbaum, presidential candidate of the ruling MORENA party, addresses her supporters after winning the election, in Mexico City, Mexico June 3, 2024.

REUTERS/Raquel Cunha

Earlier this week, Claudia Sheinbaum became the first female president-elect in Mexico – and the first woman elected to lead a North American country. Canada was briefly led by Prime Minister Kim Campbell in the early 1990s, but she was appointed ahead of the 1992 election, which she lost.

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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a joint statement to the media in Baghdad, Iraq April 22, 2024.


5: Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan lacks the authority to fire the country’s central bank governor, a move he’s madefive times in the past five years. It’s a remarkable rebuke for a leader who is battling 75% annual inflation and has repeatedly compromised the independence of Turkey’s leading institutions.

50 billion: According to a leaked document, the US intends to organize a$50 billion loan for Ukraine that’s repaid by profits from frozen Russian assets – but only if the EU agrees to indefinitely extend sanctions against Moscow. Washington wants to avoid accepting full responsibility for the loan if the EU lifts sanctions before the end of the war.

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Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures as he speaks during a press conference at Trump Tower in New York City, U.S., May 31, 2024.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

5.2: From president to felon to social media influencer? Donald Trumpposted his first TikTok from a UFC fight last Saturday. He has already amassed over 5.2 million followers, beating Biden at his own game, who in 3 months has failed to even reach half a million followers. The app Trump once sought to ban as president has now become a part of his campaign for presidency as he hopes to woo the younger vote.

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Political violence in Mexico

Luisa Vieira

The Mexican political campaign season that concluded with the June 2, 2024, general election was the deadliest on record, with at least 34 candidates for local or state office killed during the preceding nine months.

According to observers at the Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City, nearly a third of the dead were members of current president Andres Manuel López Obrador’s ruling Morena party, whose candidate Claudia Sheinbaum won the presidential vote in a landslide.

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