Top Story — The Peruvian government on Tuesday threatened to arrest pregnant women participating in a protest march against the U.S.-based Newmont’s $4.8 billion Conga mining project, based on a claim that their political activity would be harmful to their unborn children. ”The participation of pregnant women in public protests is intolerable and cannot be justified … this puts the body and the health of the fetus at risk,” said Peru’s minister of women and vulnerable populations, Ana Jara. Jara cited a section of the Peruvian penal code that says anyone found guilty of mistreating a fetus could face three years in jail, and argued that marchers are using pregnant women to deter police from breaking up their protest. “We aren’t going to sit here and do nothing … we have coordinated with the attorney general’s office to guarantee the integrity of the babies,” Jara said. Critics ridiculed Jara’s statements and dozens of pregnant women marched in Cajamarca on Tuesday nonetheless. Opponents of the Conga mine, who have been protesting for twenty days, say that the project will contaminate the region’s water supply and cause pollution. The project has been stalled since November over environmental concerns.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) is poised to regain the presidency as the party’s candidate, Enrique Peña Nieto, is enjoying a wide lead in the polls leading into the July 1st elections.
- A Bloomberg poll published Tuesday revealed that 2 out of 3 Americans approve of U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision to allow 800,000 young immigrants to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation.
- A U.S. judge ruled to allow the release of a Texas horse trainer implicated in a scheme by the Mexico-based Zetas drug cartel to allegedly use horse farms in the U.S. to launder money.
- The Haitian government announced that at least 40 people drowned when a bus carrying about 60 passengers drove into a rain-flooded river near the city of Jeremie on Monday.
- The ACLU released a report Tuesday accusing Puerto Rico’s police force of “rampant abuse and brutality” and and cited its failure to investigate domestic violence and assault.
- The Puerto Rican Basketball Federation said that five Cuban players have gone missing from the Centrobasket Championship 2012, an international tournament on the island.
- Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has departed from his usual long-winded speeches and writing since he started publishing short articles that have confused many of his readers.
- A 13 year-old Mexican boy identified three Guatemalans who allegedly kidnapped him from Chiapas and held him for ransom for 38 days in northwestern Guatemala. The child was reportedly tortured in an effort to extract more money from his family, and was rescued in an operation last November.
- Tuesday was the 100th day of a gang truce brokered between the rival MS-13(Mara Salvatrucha) and Barrio 18 gangs, and the National Police report that monthly homicide rates have decreased dramatically over last year’s figures.
- Panamanian congressmen got into a fistfight over a bill that would allow the Panamanian state to sell its 49 percent of shares in telephone and energy companies.
- Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has requested political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
- A Venezuelan opinion poll released Tuesday shows that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is currently enjoying a 16-point lead over opponent Henrique Capriles leading into the country’s October elections.
- Colombian police say that the FARC has released two construction workers kidnapped by the guerrillas last week in the province of Meta.
- A Chilean appeals court on Tuesday ordered an investigation into the death of Ronni Moffit, the American aide to Chilean Ambassador Orlando Letelier, after both were killed in a 1976 car bombing in Washington, D.C.
- Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and British Prime Minister David Cameron had a tense encounter at the G-20 summit in Mexico on Tuesday.
- Uruguay will implement a two-year anti-money laundering plan designed to restore confidence in the country’s financial system despite worries over neighbor Argentina.
Image: ricardove04 @ Flickr.