Welcome to Thursday, where world leaders pledge to quit coal, #MeToo accusations hit China's highest levels of power and the world's new best cheese has been elected. Our Bogota-based journalist Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra also shines a light on the violence against LGBTQ+ in some Latin American countries, following the murder of a trans activist in Honduras.
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• 190 countries agree to end coal: At the UN climate summit, 190 countries have agreed to move away from coal power over the next two decades, phasing out a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The commitment includes halting investment in new coal plants domestically and internationally, and ending coal energy by the 2030s in richer countries and 2040s in poorer countries. The news comes amidst a new Global Carbon Project report projecting 2021 CO2 emissions will rebound to pre-pandemic levels.
• COVID update: The World Health Organization approved India's Covaxin vaccine for emergency use as the Diwali festival of lights kicks off with fears of it sparking another wave of infections. Despite waning case numbers, the United States hit another milestone of 750,00 deaths from COVID-19. To minimize the risk of international infections less than 100 days before the Beijing Winter Olympics, China is increasing border security and stepping up restrictions in the country.
• Chinese tennis star accuses former vice premier of abuse: Peng Shuai, a French Open and Wimbledon champion, says retired Communist Party official Zhang Gaoli pressured her to have sex. It's the latest accusation in China's #MeToo movement and the first to touch the highest levels of political power.
• Chilean security forces clash with indigenous Mapuche: Two Mapuche people and three others were injured in the violence that has resulted in a state of emergency in the southern Arauco province, after the country's largest indigenous community demanded the government return historically confiscated lands.
• U.S. blacklists Israeli company behind Pegasus spyware: The NSO Group, which has been accused of selling its technology to authoritarian governments, has been added to an "entity list," banning American business dealings. The NSO Group says it has aided American national security through preventing crime and terrorism.
• Algeria blames Morocco for deadly attack in Western Sahara: Three truck drivers coming from Mauritania died in a bombing, the latest escalation in tensions between the two North African countries. Algeria says that Moroccan occupation forces in the contested geographic area are to blame for the incident
• Manhunt underway for "Bling Ring": Alfredo Lindley is charged with a series of 2019 luxury and celebrity home burglaries, including stealing some $34 million in goods from F1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone. Lindley, a Peruvian national, is believed to be in Belgrade and has a criminal record in Italy dating back to 1995 for burglaries and scams.
"The virus is back," titles Dutch daily De Volkskrant as the Netherlands plans to reintroduce tougher COVID-19 social restrictions to curb a new surge in cases, the fastest rate of new infections since July.
That is the number of migrant children to the U.S. whose parents still have not been found. These children were separated from their parents under the "zero-tolerance" immigration policy of Donald Trump's presidency. Through its reunification task force, the current administration of President Joe Biden has so far reconnected 58 children with their relatives.
The mortal danger of being trans in Latin America
The murder of a trans activist in Honduras, and new report on violence against LGBTQ+ across the region, shines a light on the place where it's simply not safe to not be a trans person.
🏳️🌈💥 On September 26, Honduran trans rights activist Tatiana García was stabbed to death in her home in the western city of Santa Rosa de Copán. The targeted murder also put a tragic end to García's work helping LGBTQ+ people to file hate-crime complaints in Honduras — indeed, she was the 17th LGBTQ+, and fourth trans, murder victim this year in the country of 9.9 million people. In a region with a long history of violence toward LGBTQ+, Honduras is among the most dangerous places in Latin America to be gay, lesbian or trans.
🚫 La Prensa, one of Honduras' biggest newspapers, reported on the assassination of Tatiana García in a way that Cattrachas characterized as "transphobia accomplice journalism." Articles included putting quote marks around her name, and using her former name to refer to her as a man. "They began to talk about a man, and Tatiana was not a man, she was a trans woman, an activist and a warrior," said Candance Chávez, a Mexican trans activist who decided to flee Latin America after suffering several violent attacks. "It is terrible that even in our own death, we are invisible."
✊ Candance Chávez, like Tatiana García in Honduras, worked in her native Mexico to advocate for the rights of trans people. But she too was repeatedly a target. In the most recent attack, she sustained a permanent knee injury, and finally decided to leave the country, emigrating to Britain. She describes the energy that activism gives her. "That revolution is what keeps me believing, in order to turn all this fear, this pain, this anguish and this suffering for my sisters, into the strength to stand up."
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"Cameroonians avoid COVID-19 vaccine like the plague"
— In an interview with French daily Le Monde, the director of a hospital on the outskirts of Douala, Cameroon's economic capital, describes the struggle to convince the population that vaccines are safe. In spite of the country's intensive vaccination campaign last July, only 1.1% out of a 27.2 million population are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, which has already killed more than 1,600 people in the country.
Queso (cheese) from Spain named Olavidia has been elected as 2021 world's best cheese with 103 votes for its "rich, seductive, creamy texture," besting 4,079 other contestants from more than 40 countries. The soft goat cheese made by artisan cheesemaker Quesos y Besos (Cheeses and Kisses) succeeds the Rogue River Blue, the first-ever American champion to win the World Cheese Awards.
✍️ Newsletter by Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, Anne-Sophie Goninet & Jane Herbelin
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