Top Story – Colombian politicians have proposed a new bill that would regulate prostitution in Colombia, reacting to the scandal that erupted in Cartagena last month when members of the U.S. Secret Service reportedly hired prostitutes before the Summit of the Americas. Conservative Senator Armando Benedetti proposed the bill on Monday, noting that prostitution would remain legal in Colombia, but that the new law would “guarantee labor rights and public health”. It’s not clear whether the bill would pass, but Colombia’s Catholic church remains opposed to prostitution despite its legality. So far, at least eight Secret Service agents have lost their jobs as a result of the scandal.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities is encouraging member schools to enroll and provide support for undocumented students despite pressure not to.
- Mexican presidential frontrunner Enrique Peña Nieto was put on the defensive during a tough round of presidential debates on Sunday.
- A former Mexican playmate became a trending topic on Twitter after she appeared in the Mexican presidential debates holding a box containing candidate names.
- Haitian and UN authorities are cracking down on roving groups of armed former soldiers who want Haiti to reinstate its own military.
- Cuban authorities say that the chances of train accidents involving automobiles and pedestrians is rising as the country upgrades its train system with faster trains.
- Since 1993, Cuba has gradually been phasing out the use of sanitariums to house AIDS patients, but three remain.
- Friends and family of slain U.S. engineer Ben Linder, killed by U.S.-backed contras in 1987, returned to Nicaragua to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death.
- Costa Rica’s Constitutional Court ruled that a transgendered inmate who dresses in women’s clothing should be allowed to continue doing so.
- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos reiterated demands that FARC rebels release French journalist and hostage Romeo Langlois.
- Speaking on state television for the first time in a week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said he would be returning from Cuba after another round of radiation on his cancerous tumor.
- Colombian authorities said that alleged paramilitary Jose Antonio Calle, wanted for drug trafficking, was captured in Aruba and has been flown to the U.S. to face criminal charges.
- A survey in Brazil revealed that conflicts over land are on the rise since 2010, although the number of murdered activists decreased from 34 to 29 between 2010 and 2011.
- Scientists have recorded major changes in the ecosystems along Chile’s coast following the 2010 earthquake and tsunami that killed more than 500 people.
- Brazilian officials will meet at FIFA headquarters in Switzerland in an effort to demonstrate that preparations for the 2014 World Cup is on track.