Top Story — As prisons across Latin America struggle with violence and overcrowding, some Brazilian prisons are implementing new programs that attempt to prevent recidivism through exercise, education, and reading. At a medium-security prison in Santa Rita Sapucaí, in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, inmates can reduce their sentences by cycling on stationary bicycles to power a battery that lights the town’s boardwalk at night. Though critics of the changes have suggested that the new system coddles prisoners, the cycling is a full-time job that begins at 9am and ends at 5pm, and three full days of pedaling earn inmates the right to shave a day off their sentences. In four federal penitentiaries, inmates are allowed to reduce their sentences by four days for every book they read, but only after writing a summary of the book to be reviewed by a judge. Prisoners cannot reduce their sentences by more than 48 days a year.
Read more from the Associated Press.
Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) failed to capture a majority in both houses of Congress, according to election officials.
- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that Chicago police will be prohibited from detaining undocumented immigrants unless there is a warrant for their arrest or they have been convicted of a serious crime.
- Mexico’s National Union of Poultry Farmers said it plans to vaccinate one million chickens to prevent bird flu, which has been found on 29 farms in the country.
- Patrick Joseph, former head of Haiti’s state-owned telephone company Haiti Teleco, was sentenced to one year in U.S. federal prison for accepting bribes from Miami businesses.
- Miami River terminal operator International Port Corp. will begin a weekly maritime shipment of humanitarian goods to Cuba for the first time in 50 years.
- Environmental activists say that construction crews digging up an important beach in Trinidad have inadvertently crushed thousands of leatherback turtle eggs and hatchlings.
- A Nicaraguan prosecutor has requested that Colombian citizen Luis Felipe Rios Castaño be sentenced to 17 years in prison for spying and revealing state secrets.
- El Salvador’s state-run utilities commission is planning to set up utility-scale solar and wind projects as alternative energy sources.
- Honduran authorities say that at least 24 people have now died from adulterated liquor in the last two weeks.
- Guatemala may penalize the activation of a stolen cell phone with up to 8 years in prison and about $12,800 in fines.
- Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said he was “totally free” of cancer and ready to embark on his re-election campaign.
- Members of the Nasa, Guambiano and Paez tribes in Colombia have dismantled trenches set up by the Colombian military, saying that the presence of the security forces in causing FARC rebels to shell their town.
- Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said his country is still deciding on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s asylum request, and will not be swayed by international pressure.
- Secretary-General of the Organization of American States Jose Miguel Insulza said that the OAS should not suspend Paraguay from the regional body despite its controversial impeachment of former president Fernando Lugo.
- Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro Eugenio de Araujo Sales, known for sheltering political dissidents from 1976-82, died at age 91 on Tuesday.
- United Arab Emirates soccer club Al Wasl has fired Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona as the team’s coach.
Image: Marcelo S Correa @ Flickr.